Saturday, December 15, 2007

This or something better is manifesting itself for the good of all concerned…or maybe not.

I had been having a happy week of flow, flow as in green lights while bike commuting, finding unlikely parking spaces, happening upon the best songs pressing seek on the car radio, not having to pay to fly my bike, and coincidental meetings, like having a favorite professor stop into the bike shop Wednesday night to offer me a good TA job and running into the Olympic Track and Field coach I met in the Newark airport two weeks ago at Bradley on Thursday. I had been doing my athletic homework too – visualizing how I want to ride these races, because good start vs. bad start smooth technically vs. spastic, these are 99% mental with me. Visualizing for sports does work, setting those neural pathways so they are tuned when you get to race day. My legs had come around at just the right time, and I wanted my mind to be ready too. When I mentioned the “flow” concept to Sue MacLean here in Kansas, she asserted somewhat cynically, “This or something better is manifesting itself for the good of all concerned,” a phrase that represents the idea of creating one’s reality stemming from the near-cult book The Secret. We buy it – sort of. Move ahead now to yesterday’s masters 30 race, which I believed was possible to win if I put it all together. Everything was seemingly set for my best attempt: good legs, good warm-up, good friends, Tom Stevens in the pit. Then: Rear flat off the line, bike change, racing, moving up, freak hard crash into the gully before the stairs where my front wheel flew out of the fork, racing, bike change, moving up, freak hard crash into the same gully, losing the front wheel a second time, ripping three spokes out, running the whole paved section, etc. As I was running I was asking myself, when do you throw in the towel? The first supportive words I heard went something like “At least you still have Sunday, which was more important to you anyway,” and “at least it wasn’t a near miss,” and the dependable “that’s racing.” But ultimately all these mechanicals, even the fluke ones, were my responsibility. We got back to the hotel and Sue said to me “This or something better is manifesting itself for the good of all concerned,” and then the laughing started. Sue recounted her wish for a fully-attended podium for her masters 50 race then they messed up the results and they had a podium of six. And then Sara had me read this aloud,, an account by a Slate columnist attempting to use the power of The Secret to procure a new kitchen floor and desk, and get rid of clogged sinuses. We were all just laughing and laughing. Sara is manifesting tons of nice snow for Sunday so we are not racing in a death trap of frozen icy ruts, Sue manifested the windshield clean, and me, watch out Katie and Georgia, here I come!

In terms of the actual racing: Go New England... and Velo Bella! Kathy Savary became a 4-time champ with her win in masters 50, followed by teammate Sue MacLean. Cris Rothfus battled with my Velo Bella teammate and former pro ballerina Shannon Gibson, ending up second. Marci Titus-Hall and Pauline Franscone rode great for 4th and 5th in masters 35. Mo Bruno rode superbly in the mud to win the Masters 30, followed by Josi, then - wow - Sally Annis. Kristi Berg, also an excellent mudder and technical rider, was psyched with a strong ride for fourth. She and her husband Chad adopted me once four years ago at a weekend of Northwest racing and they remain great race friends - Chad LOVES his job as a fireman and has taught me all sorts of useful lessons like not to leave the dishwasher or dryer running when you leave the house. And hot off the press, Amy Dombrowski roared to victory in what sounds like a hair-raising ice bike in the U-23 race this morning! Here I am outside the laundromat.