Whilst racing at FBF last night I felt emotions that ran the gamut from extreme joy to the depths of sorrow. Actually that's hyperbole on my part, last night I felt mostly jealous and stupid—I just wanted to start off my race report with a real snappy first sentence. But I am getting ahead of myself, let me give you some background information before I continue the recap of my emotional sojourn in outer Brooklyn.
As on any normal un-flooded summertime Tuesday, I picked up my life coach Mihael and his teammate Andrew at our usual rendezvous spot on the West Side Highway. Andrew was running late as he was busy playing the home game of Storage Wars in New Jersey, but we waited for him nonetheless, and he made it to the car one minute before Mihael's cut off time. (Mihael is a real stickler for punctuality.) We put Andrew's bike on the top of the car, and headed to FBF.
During our rides to the race, Mihael and I tend to bloviate about any number of topics. Mihael likes to speculate on the potential personality disorders of selected members of the New York peloton, while I tend to discuss a wide array of topics in order to prove my intellectual prowess and the inherent awesomeness implied by the discussion undertaken. Many times our blowhard-y focus falls upon racing and matters tactical. Both Mihael and I pontificate upon the best ways to be successful and to win races. Mihael, as he is a sprinter, focuses on ways to conserve energy and sprint positioning. My discussions trend towards ways to be successful in breaks, as that's where my best chances for success lie. Andrew, because he is a polite person, listens to us as we expound, and even pretends to feign interest on our mostly remedial observations. As we were driving out to FBF, I noticed that there was a wind kicking up, and mentioned that when there's wind at FBF, the race breaks up, and an early break can be successful. This is a remark comparable to "when the sun rises, the moon dies for the day" in its overt obviousness, but Andrew evidently was paying attention to my blathering in this case.
We parked the car and put in a few warm up laps to work out the wind. It was a slightly strong almost cross wind between turns three and four, which meant that the race would be relatively straightforward tactically. To be successful, it would just a matter of being near the front, going with everything and working hard at the front. I was joined by new teammate Josh in the race, and since he's a fast finisher, we discussed what to do if the race came down to a sprint. We lined up, and then after a light tongue lashing about swearing and acting like idiots, we were off. I'm not sure what happened in the first fews laps of the race, but somehow during those laps, I took leave of my senses.
You may remember that three sentences ago I said that all that was necessary for success on a windy night at FBF was being near the front, going with everything and hard work. Well, on lap two, I found myself nowhere near the front when Andrew decided to take off. I saw Andrew go and told teammate Josh that he should jump up to Andrew. I told a sprinter teammate to jump up to a breakaway, yeah, I feel kinda dumb typing that. Andrew was away with Greg from Bicycle Planet, and I was back in the pack over thinking things. I thought they might be brought back, so I put Josh up there to cover the move, figuring that I'd save myself for a later move. Josh worked hard to stay with the break, but Andrew was driving it, and he eventually came back to the pack.
I had missed out on the break of the day because I was too busy being smart when I really just needed to be at the front and riding away IQ points. This made me jealous of Andrew and Greg. Of course, only a bike racer would be jealous of people putting in an effort that probably felt like sitting on a table grinder, but I was. This made me irritable and I took out on everyone near me in the pack, and for that I am sorry. I am also sorry that I tried to bridge to Andrew and Greg but couldn't and I am sorry too that I couldn't make a late move work just before the finish, but that word sums up my night mostly—sorry.
Andrew took a well deserved win from a two-man eight lap break with Greg finishing second. A fine effort from both, I grumbled and cursed my way to a pack finish (the lesson, as always, is that I am not a good person), and afterwards I drove home to find a table grinder to sit on.
CRCA A race, March 27, 2010
CRCA A Race, August 30, 2009
I've been racing at Harlem since 1995 or thereabouts (I moved to the East Coast in late 1993, and it took a year or so for me to figure out where all the races were by combing through the back page