What an interesting ride I had today.
I met some of the usual crowd for the early Tuesday/Thursday hot lap around Mercer Island and it turns out one of them had brought along a friend. Turns out this friend is the owner of Elite Cycling & Fitness in Miami and boy did he have a lot of opinions on stuff and things to say.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
As I headed out my legs were tired! I guess all that mountain biking last night was more strenuous than I thought. And of course I left the house kind of late so had to hustle across the bridge. Yep, headwind. I showed up at the start pretty winded and luckily had a minute or two to compose myself before the main bunch rolled up and we headed out.
There were two people in the group that I had never seen before, a man and a woman. As everyone stopped to say good morning the man said something to the woman and she rolled off getting what I assumed was a head start. Totally logical as the first thing we do is a hill and the pace can be somewhat excited.
As we got half way up the hill there is a flat section and we were about 50' behind the woman at this point. The man bridges the gap to the woman, talks briefly and then as we ride by he hits the front and pushes the pace leaving her behind. As I passed her I slowed and asked if she was part of our group to which she replied with something vague that I don't recall right now.
I made contact with the bunch by the top and rolled up next to the man and asked him, "Is that your friend back there? Should we wait for her?" He replied, "That's my wife."
ASIDE - I always find it interesting when people reply to the part of the question I thought was totally ancillary to the main point which in this case was why the hell are we dropping your friend, I mean wife!
I figured it was none of my business so got stuck in and tried to enjoy the ride. It was soon obvious that today this man and I were the two strongest riders, the pace would slow when someone else was on the front and speed up when one of us (especially this man) was on the front.
Long story short we finish our hot lap dropping one person and regroup to chat at the bike trail by the east channel bridge.
The guys were doing the usual chit-chat and the friend of this man throws out the nugget that it's no wonder said guy is so strong because, "He's a four-time Olympian, I guess he forgot to tell you that."
Nothing quite like the guy that drops another guy's name or credentials without solicitation. And really, in hindsight that kind of set the mood for the ride back.
On our way back we pick up the man's wife and I happen to end up next to him when he starts talking. "Is that your race number?" he said indicating the WSBA number on my frame. Yes I say, they give us an annual number in Washington. "Do they still run that series down at SIR? I always thought that was not done well. I remember having to pay $8 (which was a lot of money back then) and not getting any season points or prizes or cash. I mean, why not give out a t-shirt at least? Athletes love t-shirts and some form of recognition would have been nice." Gosh I explained, they sure do still have that series and they do have season points and they do pay out each race. "In Miami they know how to promote a race. You can just ask companies to donate product and it costs them like $50 for a pair of wheels and that makes the racer want to come back. Good promoters can make a killing and I know a guy that quit his day job because his series was so successful." I replied that the promoter of the Pacific Raceways series still his his day job at Boeing and I sure wish it was that easy to make money… "Well I'm not sure what the racing scene is like up here these days but in Miami it's huge. People probably are not doing it right. You should give all the money back to the racers, they are just being greedy if they don't pay out. As a professional athlete it's not fair when you can't make money racing your bike." I admitted that racing is probably much bigger in Miami and CA than in WA and tried to point out the seeming contradiction between paying out all your earnings and making big bucks but as you can probably imagine the conversation went downhill fast. From what I recall it ended up with this guy pointing out to me that promoting races 'works' in Holland so it should damn well work here. I tried to counter with the anecdotal evidence that cycling is nothing but a leisure activity in the good old US Of A and other than a tiny minority of the population no one is riding their bike more than (maybe!) five times each year.
It was useless. In short order he suddenly drifted back and that abruptly ended our chat. But here are some reasonably accurate quotes I do recall.
- "I've been in the biz."
- "I own a bike shop."
- "I've been a professional athlete."
- "I used to race with Kenny Williams."
- "I've done triathlons."
- "I don't corner like most people, I start wide and then cut in."
- "It's not fair if you can't earn money racing your bike."
By the time we separated in the paceline and ended our conversation I'm sure he must have thought I was just as big of an a-hole as I thought he was. Probably some justice in that actually.
After a few miles he said something about, "having to find some golf balls" or something and pulled over. His wife privied us that this was code for, "I have to take a leak." and so at that point I just kept on riding. The last thing I wanted was to be associated with a guy that pissed on some Mercer Island mailbox when the driver/rider relationship on the island is so tenuous already.
The rest of the ride home was fun. :)
|4:30 AM - cereal
|ride - large bottle w/2 scoops HEED and one tablet Nuun
|Time of Day
|ride - 6:30 AM
|upper 50s, dry, cloudy, windy
|ride - 30 miles
commute - 9 miles
|ride - Road Bike
commute - Town Bike
|bib shorts, Craft short sleeve undershirt, short sleeve jersey, arm warmers, cap