Friday, February 15, 2008

Open Season

Today, our hero mails in a lame post as an excuse to experiment with gratuitously embedded video ...

Well, it all begins tomorrow afternoon.

The racing season rolls off around 1:30 at the Frosty Toes Classic, a small, aptly named road race through the windswept farm fields of central Ohio. I took 3rd last year, but I was in much better shape then. This year, I'm thinking of donning a wig and jumping in with the women's Cat 4s. I'd have a good chance at a podium in that field -- I think there were only two women racing in it last year.

In the men's 4s, I will do well if I can just hang on after a few suicide attacks to string out the field for a couple teammates, Chris and Pete. In a perfect world, I'll draw out some of the stronger riders in a break or two, then fall back in and either clog up the pursuit a little if one or both of them get away, or set up a leadout if they don't.

That would be perfect. But perfection and I rarely show up to race together.
Jen and the girls are coming along, although they won't stay for the race itself -- it's laps around a 10-mile loop, so there won't be much of a race to watch.

I'm not feeling any apprehension yet. But I'll probably start getting nervous as we line up. I always do. Those 15 to 30 minutes before the whistle invariably have me envisioning things like this:

Then again, I could be spending my weekend driving somewhere to do this:

I get particularly jittery at the line in a criterium. But I start to snap out of it when I snap into my Speedplays, and by the end of the first lap or so, all my concentration is on the race, not on what could happen that's bad. I even surprised myself a couple years ago, when some guy accidentally bumped me hard in a turn and I didn't flinch -- I barely cared. He got real scared, though. I think I lapped him at least once after that.

Also, I wrecked twice last year. Someone who doesn't race might think that would make me more freaked out. But it actually has had the opposite effect. I went down pretty hard two times, and each time I f'd up my left shoulder pretty good and lost a lot of skin. But it wasn't half as bad as I expected. I learned that crashes are pretty survivable. They hurt like hell -- especially eight hours later -- but you can't have fun without that risk.

And there are worse things than a hard crash. For instance, certain soft crashes:

Now I'm going to go ride, for the first time this week if you don't count a spin class. Maybe while I'm out there in the snow and cold, I'll think of something good to write. If not, maybe I'll post more video.

- JN

1 comment:

Rick said...

Good luck with the race, Jim.
After all the miles I have just put on my car and me, I think I'll just stay local and ride the tow path on my single speed bianchi.
Nice vids, btw.