Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Bird Prime and Other Stories

This week has been jam-packed with exciting things, though hardly the model for pro recovery of abundant sleep, stretching, and couch-lounging with book in hand! My model for bike racing is that of the multi-dimensional life, but I am guessing most of us can relate to the feeling of having dodged a bullet with recovery when you really extend and still pull off a decent race, don't get sick, don't leave your bike wheel in the race parking lot as a result of sleep deprivation, etc. For instance I've been helping some of the undergraduates in the environmental policy class I TA craft research papers. Their curiosity, optimism and work ethic is so motivating. Sometimes more is more. On Friday I ended up in Boston, went for a ride on the once-familiar terrain of the bike path, Concord Ave, and out past Hanscom field. I had somehow forgotten Boston is a major city - there is so much traffic there - and compared to New Haven there are so many cyclists that convention seemed to be not to wave at other riders. I actually got into a argument with a driver this week in New Haven: the car flew by me from behind scarily close, then almost rear-ended the car ahead, they were really driving crazily. I was so scared I was mad, so I chased them down (rarely a good idea) and yelled "you almost hit me!" But we were all too worked up and the driver was yelling "you are on a bike, you can avoid me!" and "you are on the wrong side of the road, you are supposed to be riding against traffic!" both of which are obviously insane. And now the funny part: I was screaming at them "be careful, I don't want you to kill someone!" And they were screaming at me "be careful, this is a very dangerous road!." I think under different conditions we could identify some common goals... Anyway, I showed up at Sturbridge dragging (glad I was racing since if training I would have gone 10mph). But we had a pretty good race on a cool new course. Racing without teammates, my hope was for us to have a selection that resulted in a small group forming, to prevent a scenario of my needing to cover everything if one team (Terry or Radical Media) decided to fire off attack after attack, especially on the run into the finish. I was not strong enough and it was so windy that we ended up with I think eight in the final group, but I embraced patience on the final climb, sat in, and was able to pull it off. I definitely got lucky since the 34-11 was not the optimal gear for the downhill sprint at the top of this climb. I had to sit down I was spinning so frantically! I heard later 2nd place finisher Denise Ramsden dropped her chain - this bad luck comes around, goes around. Now for the best part: I picked up my world-traveled bike bag from Tom Stevens, which presented an opportunity to inquire about what had been tipped as the best Tom Stevens story ever: the BIRD PRIME. One year, Tom was racing one of the Quad Cities Criteriums, Moline Illinois, a .4-mile loop on a 100k race. And there was a bird drafting the field, flying up, then dive-bombing back down right on the shoulders of the riders and into the draft when it lost ground. Well, the crowd and the announcer starting rooting for the bird. And they passed around a hat for a crowd prime. After the race, it was announced that Tom had won "the bird prime," with a photo showing Tom just edging out the bird. $180! Today I am going to ride 10mph. I am glad it's cloudy because my eyelids got sunburned yesterday. Does Tifosi make goggles? On Wednesday I start my crit-racing extravaganza in Walterboro, South Carolina. Attached is a photo taken by Barry Koblenz at Battenkill, when I was being patient on the first real climb, following Kathleen and trailed closely by Mary Zider and Natasha Elliot.

1 comment:

stefan said...

Looking strong, Anna! Nice work.