Friday, July 9, 2010

Life is good, life is... ridiculous

Nationals hosed my legs for a couple of days. I think the heat drained all the minerals out of my body and there was a bone-deep kind of ache going on long after the rest of me felt pretty all-right. Still I tapped out 19hrs, the most stress of which was loaded into a few solid rides built around the Thursday Nighter and then later the Firecracker Crit on the 4th.

I rolled home after the crit and parked the bike, scoured the fridge quickly for some grub, and hopped into the shower. Ten minutes later I got out and smelled a faint smoke/burnt rubber kind of smell, which was really weird, but people barbeque this time of year so I wasn't too worried. I checked that I hadn't somehow turned on the stove or that the electric kettle wasn't somehow cooked out. Nope, all good. Then, standing in my towel, I noticed a bunch of cars parked out in front of the house and so I took a little peek out the window to see what was going on. And what was going on was some serious 4th of July action: flags, smoke, firemen, chainsaws, crowds, and very nearly a cooked dog as the house across the street and one-over was literally on fire:

Yep, in the short time between me getting home and getting out of the shower, the fence next to that house had caught fire (guess is that a firework landed in the bark-o-mulch) and completely burned down while catching the house itself on fire, and the fire department showed up and cut holes into the roof which let out the more enormous plume of grey and brown smoke. They stripped the siding off one side, rescued the dog, sprayed water 60ft into the air as they hosed down the rafters, and generally put on a good show. This was far better than the evening fireworks at Alton Baker, although much scarier to think that it could have just as easily been the house next door to me, or for that matter, mine.

Tuesday I had an interview in PDX and spent the whole day up there visiting family after business was taken care of and also decided to stay and cut my teeth on my first ever trip to PIR for the Tuesday night series. The crits in Eugene are 25-30miles and 15-30 guys, this was 40 miles and 75 riders on a windy night and a twisty race track. I got there late (Portland traffic = suck) and got almost zero warmup. We rolled out slowly so I attacked the first time down the back straightaway. Rubicon's Taylor came up, then eventually Austin, Roman, and Ben C making 3 yellow riders, Austin and me. And we went 46kmph for almost the first half hour, and Taylor eventually had enough, then Ben, and Roman Austin and I kept the pace up all the way to the end. We put 3 minutes onto the field and had them in our sights on the home stretch. Awesome. I don't know if the field have ever been lapped at PIR but I think it needs to be done - that would mean gaining 4 minutes in 40 miles. We were ridiculous. I bombed the sprint but ended up 2nd due to the strange points thing - not having realized all along that we were getting points (3 deep) on the bell laps. Oops! Not like I would have wanted to be losing sprints to Roman every couple of laps anyways. It worked out. Hella fun. And made my butt super sore from going hard on no warmup.

Thursday morning I drove back up to Portland to meet up with the yellow squad and take a trip up to Vancouver, BC as a guest to race the Tour de Delta with them, part of the remnants of BC SuperWeek. We've been put up in host housing and I have had the distinct pleasure of listening to a bunch of Kiwis make fun of Canadian accents - which means I have no idea what they are saying but it sounds funny as hell.

Delta is a short 3k prologue, a crit, and a 160k windy hard road race. Sounds great, right? Right. Except that we found out this morning that the crit is in fact the Canadian National Championships. WHAT?! Well that just upped the ante - especially since Ben, our Canuck, is now completely jacked on the crit. Oh, lord. This is going to be harder than I expected, and I expected it to be hard. I had figured I could survive the crit and hopefully help the boys do some good in the RR, but since this is a sprinting type of team this crit is now the Real Deal. And I am afraid that I am going to Suck. Well, I'm strong enough to come through OK, but a National level crit is not exactly the kind of thing where I am going to do much good. So we will see. I skipped the US Natz crit on purpose, and now am entered to the Canadian Natz crit on accident. Hah, the irony of that.

Well, at least I got to wear a clean new pair of shorts and if I can do any good at all, even for one lap, it will be worth it.

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