schmalz end of season races

If I am being honest, I admit that I am glad to have this year’s bike racing season behind me. I say this because my personal accomplishments for the season ended up being a real nothing taco (in year’s past, I might have used the term “nothing burger” here, but that term has been COMPLETELY boinked-out, so I’m substituting “taco” for “burger” because I enjoy tacos immensely and the people who ruined the term “nothing burger” will probably not like the term nothing taco at all). But here’s the thing, if you are reading this, chances are, your season was a real nothing taco also. This is because no one ever wins in bike racing. Well, let me amend that, there’s about ten racers who win quite a lot, and the rest of us are the supporting characters in their season-long novellas of daring and intrigue. (Oddly, there’s a catch here, chances are those ten racers who win a lot probably also consider this previous season to be a nothing taco due to lost chances for wins or maybe due to forgetting to lift their arms for a nice finish line shot—who knows what they consider unattained goals? The one takeaway here: bike racers—at all levels—are crazy.)

As I was typing before my own parenthetical aside, bike racing is a crazed activity that will make you an empty, hollow shell of the person you once were—but it does have its moments. This season we on the Rockstar Games team targeted the Jim Boyd competition and the CRCA Team Cup. Each competition starts in early March and ends in early September, which makes for a half year of fretting, planning and exhausting oneself. We ended up third and fourth, respectively in each of those competitions. I managed to not score any points towards either of those goals. To my team’s overall goals, I was as useful as atmospheric nitrogen—I was around all the time but only really useful to certain bacteria. But I did enjoy acting as a benign fog to the exertions of my teammates. I was able to help out when necessary. I did not actively work against any of my teammates, in fact, I used the time that my teammates spent in breakaways to eagerly do as little as possible—something that I am very good at. I enjoyed feeling like I was contributing to the goals of the team. (And yes, I know that my contributions were mostly of the “atta boy” after-race congratulations with a pat on the back variety—I may be bike racer crazy, but I’m not real crazy.)

So my seasonal accomplishments consisted mostly of pats on the back and staying out of the way, and really, I’m fine with that. I can honestly say that I enjoy it when my teammates win or do well. And my teammates really worked hard this year. Victor and Jonas were fast and tenacious all year long. Paul would get in early move after early move until it started working. James and Eric rode hard at FBF. Dave and Greg succeeded in faraway places that I only hear about in WhatsApp messages. Pascal, as ever, gleefully beat up on old people. Chomo did the dirty races. Greg did a winning dance twice at Orchard Beach. Dan, Sam, Jono, Woody, Ben, Kim and Pablo covered everything. Chris had a mustache all season long. (Like, every day of the year.) Mike had nice hair every time I saw him. It was all these efforts and contributions that made showing up to races worthwhile. We got to know and appreciate one another, we got to see Chris’s mustache every time he raced. We put together an interesting athletic buffet of fun and competition, and I enjoyed it immensely, even if all I brought was a nothing taco.