Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Watching the pros this past weekend inspired me to punish myself Monday for my flabby laziness.
So I went out for a little hill workout. It was no big deal to a fit rider. But I'm feeling it today. Here's the route:
Down Euclid Creek Parkway, then back up. Then back down. Then up the Chardon Rd. hill from Euclid Ave. Then back down and up the washed-out road in the Euclid Creek reservation that parallels Highland, up to Richmond and beyond.
Dropped down through the North Chagrin Reservaton onto Chagrin River Rd. Then up and back down Old Mill. Then up Cedar Rd. and home, battling the 168-mph headwind.
I feel like someone smacked my glutes with a baseball bat. I don't think I'll be a factor at Westlake tonight ...

The climb up Chardon was a little less steep, and less than half as long, as the Main St. hill in Mankato, at the end of the 90-something-mile stage of the Nature Valley GP. I realized as I reached the top of the Chardon Rd. hill I that might not be able to make it up the Main St. hill even once, even with fresh legs. Those guys and gals racing up there had to climb it four times -- after almost 80 wind-whipped miles of racing.

Gotta tell ya, they earned their salaries that day (all $10,000 of it, in many cases).
Another observation:
One thing that blew me away watching the riders sign in for Friday night's criterium is how damn young they look. We live in a place where every single one of the best racers is masters-eligible, where only a handful of under-25 racers are even semi-competitive at Cat 1-2. So it's kind of a jolt to see these upper-echelon guys who look like they're barely old enough to shave. Rock Racing's Mike Creed looks like he could've starred on "21 Jump Street."
(Creed and most of his pro-racing peers undoubtedly are too young to even get the reference to that show. Most of our best racers around here might not get the reference, either -- because when it aired, they were too old to care about watching it. That underscores the gulf).
Most of the male racers at Nature Valley looked like the interns at work: wet behind the ears, and full of youthful exuberance.
That made me a little less disdainful of supposed peloton "tough guy" Kayle Leogrande. Up close, he is a little pipsqueak. He looks like a kid who played too much with Majic Markers, not the brash, dickheaded felon he wants people to think he is. He also seems pretty personable. He didn't just welcome fan interaction -- he seemed to need it.
Young kids -- particularly those who really need attention and, maybe, love -- do stupid things. Most of us regret our stupidity and try to forget it. It's hard to forget the ink that covers every freaking appendage, though. I feel sorry for self-loathers like him sometimes, and hope he gets happy enough someday to regret his form of self-mutilation.
He and co-tattooed David Clinger (who unfortunately abandoned the laser surgery that was supposed to remove the ink that molests his whole face and head) look like youngsters when you're close enough to see past their ink inflictions. And they both seemed like nice guys.

Clinger before

Clinger after.
Who would you rather look like?

As gaudy as the tats are, their wearers were incongruously inconspicuous once the races started. You tend to get overlooked when HealthNet and Bissell eat you lunch and dinner and have your women in every race.

Michael Ball proclaimed that his Rock Racing philosophy would be "Win or be fired." Looks like he's going to do a LOT of firing. Rock Racing was a complete non-factor in one of the biggest stage races on the NRC calendar.

- JN


Anonymous said...

What a Dick poser you are !

Jodi said...

I love those hills you speak of. My new ride and I will be doing a "zipper ride" back and forth up and down the hills of River Road in no time!