Big Time Operators

Its Memorial Day weekend and in the mid-west to the bike racing crowd that means racing. And crashing. And to a lucky few, money! I myself rarely enter these races anymore because I no longer enjoy the aerodynamic benefits of shaved legs that are essential to modern criterium racing. I do still enjoy spectating, though, so I rode over to Muscatine yesterday with a group of friends to take in some action.

The ride over was pleasant, a beautiful morning, a touch of gravel and a road find!

My Prize

A mint condition Gerber 500 pocket knife from Portland, OR! A Gerber 600 (with beltable camo carrying case) is currently listed on ebay for $3.75 so you can imagine my joy at getting this one for free!

To the racing then. We found the park easy enough and arrived just in time to watch my life mentor Kim West barrel down the home stretch in the 50+ race for a very respectable top 12 finish! We took a lap of the course on our cross bikes and set up a couple of picnic tables in the shade at the hairpin (well, almost) turn that is 100 meters or so from the finish. We we rewarded with a multitude of crashes throughout the day as people tried to pedal the corner. A most impressive save was made by local boy and power-townie enthusiast The Adult who made the winning move of being first into the corner on the last lap but started his sprint a moment too soon and hit his inside pedal. His bike kicked hard and he somehow someway kept upright, got back in the pedal and sprinted in for 5th place! Amazing!

Later in the day we were fortunate enough to witness a “What Not To Do” race clinic that was put on by the HART team. With a break of 4 well established in the Pro1/2 race and 2 of their riders in it we figured that they had the win in the bag but cycle racing is fickle as a fussy toddler and this one was about to throw a tantrum!

As the break neared our corner with less than 10 laps to go we were anticipating some attacking and countering and some chasing and maybe even some cussing as heartrates spiked and carbon creaked! The first HART racer into the corner struck his pedal as hard as he could and sprawled as his bike flew! The 2 non-HART racers took evasive action and both cleared the fallen man with the grace of USCF licsensed racers! The second HART racer (and former Iowa City roustabout Randy Reichardt) also initiated evasive maneuvers but he forgot the old adage about bunny hopping curbs which instructs youngsters to lift both wheels over obstacles or suffer the consequences. He did avoid all the chairs, spectators, strollers and beer cans and was able to ride a path through us all to get back in the race, if a bit off the back of the break. Whew! That was exciting enough for a quality blog post but we are not done yet! The fallen HART racer was up in a flash and wanting a wheel. He got one! His rear derailleur was ripped from his frame! He sat on the curb, dejected and wanting for love or beer. A teammate appeared with a whole bike! Who cares what size, he jumped on and was back in the race albeit in the first chase group now! Randy came around again, still a bit off the back of his former break! He rode the corner as a child would – his rear tire had gone flat! Remember that bunny hop? He had smashed his rear wheel into the curb! He rolled down to the Start/Finish frantically looking for a wheel! Why did he not stop where we were with his teammate and a set of wheels begging to be ridden? We will never know, but his plucky teammate ran after him, destroying all hopes he may have had of a good ride tomorrow in Rock Island, but Randy had already gotten a wheel and was off again!

Thats about it, the break stayed away, the HART racer who crashed and started all this craziness finished 5th or something and poor old Randy rolled in around 84th. Through it all I drank beer in the company of good friends and got a touch too much sun. All in all a fine day at the Melon City Critereum!

Today is yard work and general house clean up, should be less exciting but just as fulfilling.




3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    ira ryan said,

    whew! i think my heart rate spiked at 190bpm as i read the tale of epic crit racing in the heartland. i remember seeing someone’s wheel inplode on the speed bump at the bottom of the hill once. glad i don’t race any silly crit racing.

  2. 2

    Cody G. said,

    Ira, you mean to tell me that yard work doesn’t get your heart rate up? Pish!

  3. 3

    hey, mr pickle. did you ever think of writing a . . . wait.
    you ARE writing.
    iowa citians have the best nicknames.
    it was a fun day, and thanks for recognizing my fine, hard-fought top-12.
    it’s always a good day when you can beat someone,
    and then drink beer.

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