If you ride at Hains, you have probably ridden off the wheel of this guy (pics by J. Steen):
And when I say you have ridden "off the wheel" of Mike, I mean that he has either (a) dragged you around for 10 laps (in which case, I commend you for hanging) or (b) he has ridden you off his wheel.
I mention him because his hard work allowed me to finish Clarendon Cup on Saturday. The field was strung out, as it always is, and gaps opened up, as they always do there, and Flanagan kept closing them down, ultra-smooth like. He's not a jerky kind of rider. Which makes him a great wheel when you're trying to make up ground.
Anyhow, I finished the race and gamely sprinted for 20th place or whatever it was.
So I didn't win the race, but I did win the the post-Clarendon Cup ass-parking contest. Everyone knows that the toughest corner is the vicious left onto Wilson. Everyone knows that this is where riders get gapped and are in the worst pain, and are thus the most enjoyable to watch. And everyone knows that huevos rancheros at Mexicali Blues is the best breakfast this side of "the Viking" at Svea in Chicago (Swedish pancakes with lingonberry not shown):
Der Viking, by Svea
I was disturbed, for a moment, by the sight of a women's bike flying through the air, but returned forthwith to tucking into my eighth cup of coffee and seventh pound of refried beans.
The sight of Ruggles' mid-caesarian face later gave my appetite pause:
I watched Chuck attack and attack again, as if at Hains and he was dropping Freds. "Let's get rid of these leeches," he seemed to be saying. Among the leaches were national champions and the best cyclists in the world. Chuck apparently saw Clarendon Cup as a teachable moment, as in, "don't ride with me, or I will eat your soul."
I tried the same move on Sunday in the 3/4 at Crystal City, but I'm not Chuck, and the field was in no danger of being lapped. Joe Rudolph of Clean Currents joined me and between us we collected four premes, but we couldn't hold off the field, and were caught with two to go. Thankfully, Sam positioned himself well and took second place.
My bike handling was awful this weekend. On Saturday, I wasn't used to the speed of the corners, and for the first few laps struggled to prevent gaps from opening.
On Sunday, I kept having to grab a fistful of brakes. The slowdown was so ridiculous I thought about bunny hopping onto the sidewalk several times. And that's just nuts.
For what it's worth, my apologies to fellow racers for crappy bike handling this weekend. I was no Flanagan.