Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The confidence game: daring to compete.

Hello from beautiful British Columbia!


Hoo boy.  Can you believe it's the end of May already?  I can't. Grandma warned me that time speeds by at an accelerated pace as you get older, and as usual, she was right.  Jeez. Seems like just yesterday it was 2013. I have a task list as long as my arm, and every day I am surprised to see another evening come along with so many items still left undone. 

I like to take stock of my favourite things .  Every day I like to think of my three favourite moments, but some things just stand out over time, heads and shoulders above the march of days into weeks, months, and years. Like My First Race. (Grandma also said that sometimes half the battle for success is won in having the courage to enter the fray, but I'm pretty sure she never tried road racing.)  I've entered a few races now, and though it's always a challenge to stay with the pack and not be dropped, those fast rides with other cyclists always qualify as one of my favourite things.  You can tell that I am enjoying myself despite the fact that I suck, because I am almost always grinning like an idiot.


This photo was taken near the end of my first 64 km Australian pursuit road race, and long after I'd been dropped from the group I started with. That's Ed in front of me, and his expression is indicative of  what normal people look like in that particular situation. Mine is an indication of how small my brain is. (Well, that and the fact that my bike is always my happy place.) The race consisted of four 16 km laps around this lake:


We landed right beside the lake shortly before the race began


and unpacked our bikes from the pretty bird.


Actually, it's surprising how much stuff you can fit inside a helicopter, which is a good thing, since mounting a roof rack is out of the question.


There's almost always room for a yoga mat, and you certainly wouldn't want to leave home without that!


So we landed, registered for the race, and rode, and though I did give it my best, it wasn't long  before I got dropped. There were a few younger riders who passed me, and each time I managed to hang on for a bit before I found myself riding solo again.  Let me tell you, getting dropped really sucks.  When you're riding in a pack, and you're tucked in behind the lead rider(s) there's a whole lot of draft carrying you along.  It's like being in a boat on a river moving downstream in a strong current.  When you get dropped, suddenly you find yourself swimming upstream.


By the time Ed found me, I'd finally caught my breath again after keeping up with the fast young bucks for as long as I could before they, too, dropped me.  That one happened on a roundabout I'd foolishly slowed down for. It was a painful lesson presented to me at the weekly criteriums, too, but I think I've finally figured it out.  All this time I've been doing it wrong, you see.  I always slowed down as I approach a corner and then accelerate again as I come out of it.  That's how I was taught to drive a motor vehicle, too. Silly me. Turns out you're meant to head into a corner hell bent for leather and come out of it faster still. Simple.

So for the last lap and a bit Ed and I took turns pulling, which was great compared with forging on alone.  By the time those photos of us were taken, my legs were jelly.  I couldn't stand up on them any more or they'd just give way, so I didn't even try.  Lol! Look! By the very end it looked as if I was about to fall off the bike!


I had nothing left in me, which surprised me enormously, since I regularly ride farther than that. As we made our way back across the straight I recall feeling so bad that at one point it occurred to me that it would be okay if we crashed into the water below, because if I died in a fiery explosion it would at least put an end to the agony. 


Bill figured it was motion sickness, and he had me lay down as soon as we landed in Vancouver, bless him.


Maybe he's right, but I felt pretty rough for a couple of days after that, so who knows?  But I'm all better now, even if I still struggle not to get dropped during the races.  Often I am the only girl in sight, but on Tuesdays there's a ladies' race, which I've done all of once now.  They were actually moving at a pace I figured I could handle, and I was so happy to have found girls on bikes that I started babbling to the women in the peloton, as I tend to do. Suddenly I found myself all on my lonesome again. Turns out it's important to keep your mouth shut and stay on your toes so you can sprint when everyone else does!  Who knew? A little while later on, after spending a bit of time on my own,  I found another girl named Melissa who had also been dropped, and we  shared the pulling until the men's group passed us.  Then we rode with them for the rest of the criterium,  because in my books, any draft is a good draft.

Just like any bike ride is a good ride.  You'll find me on two wheels almost every day of the week, every month of the year...


...stretching myself, pushing my limits



... exploring this gorgeous town, and sharing my discoveries with you.


Oh! I almost forgot.  Here's an early innovator for you, a confident someone who dared to put it out there:


How many of you have any idea who this is? Do you know the significance of the bike in the frame? Personally, I wouldn't have had any idea if someone hadn't spelled it out for me.  Let me know what you think, mkay?

32 comments:

  1. it's either gary fisher or Eddie Shore

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    1. Expert podium e-kisses coming your way... XX!

      The bike is Fisher's first carbon fiber, but that's not Gary... :D

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  2. so much for cheating by looking at the head badge...that can't really be eddie shore?

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    1. Nope. It's somebody Snobbers' comentariat have come to know and love over the years,

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    2. I wonder sometimes whether I'll ever learn how to spell.

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  3. but it could be Eddie Fisher!

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    1. Anything is possible, so it could be, but it's not!! :D

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  4. Is that picture the time traveling Fred?

    Or is it non-plussed bib short guy after a makeover?

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    1. You mean non-plussed bib short snobberdoodledoo? Nope, but I heard the two of them met on Mount Tampon not too too long ago...

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  5. steve tilford?

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  6. Replies
    1. Actually, that's one guy I would really love to go for a spin with...

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  7. Haha, I think I know who that is. Had the pleasure of turning pedals with him a couple years back...

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  8. Ok, if that turns out to be CJ im gonna laugh hysterically. Then im gonna never read your blog again lol!

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    1. Oh whew! You scared me for a minute. That would be terrible! Nope. I have seen a shot of his knuckles, but other than that, I've never laid eyes on CJ.

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  9. Replies
    1. Yes Yes Yes! You guessed it!

      Oh! Hey! Maybe I should take a page out of snobbers' book and send you a fingerpainting or something as a prize...

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  10. Just to change the subject . . .
    but, I'll be Damn Ned !
    The hand around the back trick works! Hand numbness just a momentary stretch away vs all the flailing about I would do!

    Roof rack!! hahaha

    vsk

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    Replies
    1. Right?! It relieves the pressure on the nerve that causes the tingling, numbness and discomfort. And the relief lasts!

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  12. Congrats and welcome to the peloton. Keep hanging in as long as you can and one day you'll find you don't get dropped. That seems like a small thing to achieve until you realize you are now finishing the race with the winner. Bravissima!

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    1. Thank you! I've finished two criteriums without getting dropped now. On Tuesday I sprinted for the finish after they rang the bell, and I thought I had won, but it turns out they ring the bell twice, once with three laps to go and once for the real bell lap.
      That was such a good feeling, though, that sprint for the line, and crossing it all alone in the lead. Even though I didn't actually win anything, I rode a real high for hours afterward...
      Here's hoping I can win one for real some day!

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    2. Was the 3 to go a 'prime' lap? if not are there other 'prime' laps? Those can be fun to go for as they're slightly less contested (usually) although you often have to break away first. I once won a mango (no, really...)

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    3. Ha! Funny you should ask. I don't think so, cause I definitely won that lap, and the organisers didn't give me any points. Last night I had my first encounter with a prime lap. The guys took off without me cause I had no idea it was a sprint... they rang the bell with ten of fifteen laps left. I thought "Oh no, I'm not going to be a sucker again," but that was an entirely different kind of mistake!

      Still, I did win points last night, and a big bag of goodies. They sure hand out the sugar at the Thursday night criterium! :D

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  13. Get Better Soon Ms. Babble !!!

    vsk / Gonna Thunderstorm although now it looks OK Brooklyn, NY, USA

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    1. Sunny here these days, too...

      Thank you. xo

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  14. I hope you are feeling better soon!

    Healing spinning thoughts headed your way

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. I sure wish I were at the Master's race on the Island today...

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  15. What fun to see a photo of bgw! I think he and I have the same barber.

    Hope you're doing OK!

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    Replies
    1. LOL! Geez, that guy sure gets around.

      Thank you. :)

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