TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF RAMSEY
Day 1, Truckee CA, Friday June 13:
4:45 am- wake up. eat some ice cream. go back to bed.
6:45 am- wake up. finish packing gear. eat cereal with lots of fruit and toast. wait to hear from matt.
8:20 am- matt arrives. load up the car. head to wild cherries. eat more breakfast. get jacked on coffee.
9:05 am- make like a banana and split. matt drives the whole way.
11:05 am- at a rest stop on hwy 80 over looking vallejo I see six flags and water world in the distance and tell my self to ride another roller coaster and swim with dolphins sometime before im too old.
1:00 pm- arrive at rich’s house in redwood city. meet his 170 lb great danes. ask rich if i could ride one of them in the race. get smacked. get house tour. unpack. head to pescadero to pre ride race course.
1:45 pm- park at the finish line on haskin’s hill. gear up. ride the course at tourist pace. note the turbulent beauty as it crashes upon me. note the descents.
5:00 pm- back at rich’s. shower. meet rich’s wife susan and son cal. play a few games of guitar hero. wonder what could have been.
6:30 pm- take in the sights of redwood city. eat fish tacos and burritos at sanchos. shop for breakfast.
8:10 pm- go to see the movie incredible hulk for cal’s graduation from fourth grade. throw popcorn. read spanish subtitles. shoot spit balls. cause general chaos.
10:30 pm- last minute check of race gear. decide to share the guest room bed with matt instead of sleep on the floor. read magazine. lights out.
3:27 am- wake up when matt puts his head on my chest. am i dreaming? no! tell matt to stop snugglin and fall back asleep.
Rich, the guitar hero.
Day 2, Redwood City, Saturday June 14:
5:30 am- race day. wake up. try to recall a nightmare. some thing about a dude cuddle. try to forget a nightmare. eat breakie. abuse rich’s espresso machine.
6:15 am- gear up. head out to race.
7:00 am- arrive in pescadero. stake out a warm up spot close to start line. register.
8:30 am- on the bike. line up at the start.
8:40 am- promenade. say my hellos. meet new people.
9:00 am- all neutrality is lost.
9:01 am- heart rate goes up.
10:50 am- heart rate goes down. finish in the back half of the pack.
11:30 am- finish cool down ride. drink carbs. put street clothes on. head to the beach with matt. get in the icy ocean up to my thighs. ponder buying a wool fisherman’s sweater, moving to the ocean and starting a barnacle farm.
1:00 pm- meet up with rich back in redwood. eat house cured pastrami sandwich’s at the refuge restaurant. yummy.
3:00 pm- head back to tahoe. matt drives the whole way.
8:00 pm- rent movie.
10:00 pm- fall asleep about 20 minutes into the movie.
Rich and I decided to throw in a couple of bonus miles and rode from our houses over to Pescadero, race, then ride home. My first goal was to get a long ride in and finally do Pescadero. The Pesky course is my backyard for weekend rides out to the coast. It’s an absolutely beautfiul loop on good roads with a few challenging sections and the final Haskins Climb. In the Masters 123, we do 75miles and climb Haskins three times…big fun. We rolled out from the start at a leisurely pace which really continued through the entire first lap even up Haskins. A few attacks but no one really doing much in earnest–even so I felt a little off. The group was too big with all the climbers just sitting in. On the second lap, there were a few accelerations on the two short climbs coming across Stage Rd. I tailed off just towards the end of the second climb–and it was still a pretty large group 30-35 riders. Not good. My legs were crampy. I went to the front and took a few pulls coming up 84 hoping to find a something.
Typically if I’m not feeling well when I’m sitting in, I can go “stretch my legs” a little and feel better. I just wasn’t going to happen today. After hitting the front 3-4 times for some pacing, we turned onto Pescadero leading into Haskins. No one was working–so I led into the hill and just pulled the plug once the group started passing me. I just wasn’t in the mood to kill myself for another lap to finish 30th knowing I had to ride home afterwards. Even so, I was barely unhooked and re-integrated on the descent without much work. But as soon as the lumps came again on Stage I was easily popped off again. I just settled in immediately, found a few others and rode a good pace up 84 until Chris Wire, who had flatted earlier, came by with a few tag-alongs. I jumped on but Chris was by far the Caballo in this group. I pulled through a few times to help but my day was done so I wasn’t going to kill myself. I hit the right hander on Pescadero Rd heading back to the final Haskins climbs and there were four of us–actually three now–Chris was immediately gone as soon as the road went up. The other two guys started the climb with me but easily put me to shame. The last climb was ugly–thank goodness I “saved” myself. I gave up a another couple of minutes to Chris on the the last 8min climb alone. I came across the finish, turned around and descended back to Rich who was waiting at the bottom. I grabbed my backpack, ate a little something, then sloughed it straight to the birthday party in Los Altos. A good 122 mile day for the log book with 75 racing miles. Not a bad day in the saddle. Wish my legs were better but come September Cross season, I need to be fresh so it’s ok to be a little sub-par…at least I’ll say it is so I feel better.
Upon my arrival, I immediately jumped in the pool only to be mauled by a bunch of 6 year olds who were ready to play….turning myself from cyclist to dad–I grabbed my daughter and gave her a toss into the deep end and began playing Marko-Polo. I slept very well Saturday night…
Driving down to race a road race has never excited me this much. The usual things passed through my mind…how much food, how are the descents, how many racers, air temp, and so on. Then it dawned on me, who cares? At this stage, although I still earn “rookie” status, I get annoyed by the little nuances of race worry. I know it’s a difficult matter. The whole “dear in headlights thing” that we all go through at the start of every race. Well, for me, Pescadero was going to be different. I’m not going to lie. I’ve been injured for 11 weeks now and riding injured for 4 weeks. I’ve had 1 speed workout, a couple longer, well longish rides since March, and when people ask me how my knee feels I always try to say “great” because that makes it and me feel waaaay better. So heading down to Pescadero was a test of mentality for me. Racing out of peak shape is mental and I was convinced that I can shift my mentality to peak shape in a matter of 40 or so meaningless miles of coastal spinning bliss. We arrived to the race way too early which is my absolute favorite thing to do. You get fresh porto’s, premiere parking, and you get to do trailer park yoga on the side walk before your warm-up. Soon enough I could see the nervousness of my surrounding riders setting in as start time approached. I told myself not to get nervous and I did not. Nervousness is something I have adorned since I tried out for the majors in little league at the age of 10. I was fat little pike who liked whole milk and cookies but I had a throwing arm and a work ethic which lead to many more fun years of bat swinging and arm icing. Nervousness was out, I was in, so I lined up with Ramsey at the front of the pack, sized up everyone around me, and smiled. I thought of our teamate Glenn and how he might look at all these monkeys in the peleton or better yet, how I can out smart them to victory and fool fitness. The race went off and we pedaled for a bit, surprised, don’t be, I sat, and sat, and sat…trying to stay between 7 and 15 riders from the front of 50 or so. I liked sitting at number 7. Then, on a sharp corner a crash occurred and while I rubber necked the event I got spat off the back where I spent my legs sessioning back to the pack. Thanks to Mr. Blanco and a chase squad that he put together for getting me back on. Riding alone with a dangling carrot in front of you makes for interesting self conversation. Is it over? Not yet. We get back on and continue to race, my legs start reflecting on the recent chase effort, my mind tells them to “Shut up!” and we climb to the finish. With a little more than 1 kilometer to go all the monkey’s start to pull away and I begin fighting and fighting for my top ten finish crossing the line 30 riders later at number 31 in the field. Lessons learned: descend in the front, don’t cramp, and when you cramp so is everyone else, so keep trying, and you can ride in good form with an injured knee and sub par fitness if you want to ride.
Smell the flowers and kick some ass