schmalz FBF August 23, 2016

Two weeks ago my front tire blew out and I was tossed onto the rough surface of the runway at FBF. I ended up scraped and bleeding, but I was lucky enough to not break any bones or bonk my head hard enough to come to my senses and stop racing bikes. I landed on the right side of my body, with my hip and shoulder taking the brunt of the impact. Those body parts ended up scabbed and sore, making sleeping very uncomfortable, as rolling over onto my right side wasn’t an option due to the pain and the prospect of leaking blood all over the bedsheets. I grimaced my way through a day of seeping wounds and discomfort and then began my climb back to mediocrity by riding my trainer and slowly pedaling along the Saddle River Bike Path.

I skipped last week’s race at FBF because I was out of town and because sneezing made me wince and swear with pain. I retuned this week as a slower and more scarred version myself, but as I mentioned before, I didn’t get any smarter in my crash, so racing again seemed like a good idea. The wind was blowing from the traditional FBF direction, which usually means that the race will split apart, but I wasn’t racing as a contender, I was racing as a participant. My goals for the race were A: not dying and B: doing all the laps.

As you can tell by reading this without the aid of a Ouija Board, I succeeded at my first goal. I was also able to succeed at my second goal, thanks to the large group of racers that showed up to race on Tuesday night. I was able to tuck myself into the slipstream of the pack and get my race skills back up to speed. That was the extent of my involvement in the race. Race-type things happened, but I was not involved in any of them. For instance, a break of three (composed of Edwin M., Anthony J. and Ira B.—as an aside, how cool is it to race in a city where a break of guys named Edwin, Anthony and Ira can get away together?) escaped from the pack at some point in the race, but I was barely aware of that fact, as I was too busy tail-gunning the race and concentrating on my battle with gravity.

The break stayed away and Edwin won the race. I feigned interest in the final sprint but then I quickly realized that participating in the field sprint was putting my goal of not dying in serious jeopardy, so I took myself out of the running and rolled over the line—completing all the laps and not dying whatsoever in the process.