Did you win dad?!
I almost always get this question from my daughter when I come back from a bike race. My answer is usually something along the lines of just finishing an endurance ride is like winning. I’m usually met with a smile, a great big bear hug and that’s it. No more questions. Usually it’s followed by a hug and “let’s go play daddy!”
It’s true though. We aren’t professionals. We are just people who enjoy riding our bikes. Most of us ride in “races” because we like being out on backroads, riding with friends and feeling the accomplishment of finishing a pre-planned route. We have no illusions of standing up on a podium afterward. We certainly respect those who do but equally so as those who finish last. We’re all working hard out there while having “fun”.
I traditionally ride in the back 1/4 of a race. I know what it’s like to ride along wondering if you’ll ever finish. Clicking off those miles at 12mph, 10mph, 6mph…walking up a hill at 3mph. Sitting in the ditch. Saying “I’m good” over and over to people asking if I’m okay. Ever had so many muscles in your leg cramp hard at once that you physically bend over and kinda move you leg with your hand? Been there. Ever have both legs go like that immediately after stopping on a hill and trying to do the penguin walk?Been there. How about hand pumping up 3+ flats because you keep missing that damn thorn stuck in your tire? Arms completely jelly but it’s your only way out? Yeah. Tell me you’ve had your chain drop and jam in the rear cassette so tight you bloody your hand prying it out? Sweet.
Get to know your local cyclists!
Gravel race bike? Depends if it is muddy or not, SS Trek Presidio-if it is muddy or the newest steed in the stable Ti warbird
Coke or Pepsi? Coke mixes better
Chamois cream or none? chamois cream when i remember to- Oh by the way the shower after a long ride will remind you
Single speed or geared? Love the SS
Fruity Pebbles or Lucky Charms? Lucky Charms- They are magically delicious
2016 event most looking forward to? 24 hours of Cummings-love the team event and LR100, Cant beat the crew from stillwater!!
Fave gas station cuisine? Caseys Pizza, Campbells soup
Bear hug or lean-in shoulder hug? From Papa bear – bear hugs of course
Pre-race food? Pasta, pizza and some good beer
Favorite GU Roctane flavor? Grape baby!!
Wookie or Yeti? Yeti
Words of wisdom? Just go out and do your best, and when that voice in your head is trying to get you to pull the plug or quit tell it to f#$K off and put your head down and give it everything you got!!
Get to know your local cyclists!!
Gravel race bike? Salsa Chili Con Crosso
Mustache, Beard or Baby Face? I tend to accomplish all three of these at once…
IPA or Stout? A Stout IPA! Actually this time of year it’s primarily Coffee Porters
Fish or Chips? I’m not really sure I understand this question? Was Fish a TV show? Is Chips an animal?
Riding in Heat or Riding in Cold? Whatever temperature is on Zwoft!
Favorite event to ride? Well, this is a tough one because there are so many. Dirty Kanza is the Super Bowl of gravel. It’s so much fun and extremely challenging but is so taxing on your body. Land Run is hard as well but I’ve been able to enjoy the block party afterwards (DK is a beer then home to bed) I can’t pick a single favorite but these are my two.
Manly stanky feet or baby fresh? I don’t go around smelling my feet. You’ll have to ask Smitty, I pay him for that.
Post-race Hug or Fist Bump? Depends if I can stand or not..
Favorite gas station cuisine? On a ride: Beer, Doritos, and a coke!
Scooby Doo or Underdog? Scooby Doo.
Top 2016 Cycling related goal? Don’t let The Casual Cyclist be so Casual! Seriously, the robe you wear riding is kinda disturbing.
Shout out to? Is this something the kids do?
Thanks Jeffy! Good luck to you in 2016!
I am a horrible person to ride a long distance with. I really am. Don’t get me wrong. I love riding in group events. I love riding in large scale races. I love riding and talking with other riders. If you have a flat, I’m the first to ask how I can help. Out of water? Here’s my last bottle. Food? Have GU chew. BUT, when it comes to actually riding with a specific person for an extended amount of time? I suck.
I think it reflects much on me as a person. No. Not the sucking part. That’s mean. Don’t think that. Now I feel bad. I hope you feel bad for thinking that. Bare with me, I have a random thought to discuss. I mean I don’t focus well. No. That’s not true. I’m great at focusing. I just focus on millions of random things for very short periods of time. My thoughts are chaotically organized. My words get jumbled from my brain to my mouth. In the split second it takes me to verbalize my thought I’m mentally onto my next point. I get from A to Z just fine but…it’s usually through points 1, 2 and 3. I’ll follow the rules and I’ll ride the whole route but there will be extra mileage from missed turns. I’ll ride with you for a few minutes and then I’ll either fall back or ride ahead to the next person. I get lost in thought as I race down hills or put my head down and spin upwards. I tend to ride my own speed. I have a mental goal of pushing myself hard. Sometimes I go slower, sometimes faster, sometimes I’m winded, sometimes I’m angry, sometimes I’m singing Christmas carols…one time I might have accidentally hummed a Britney Spears song. Briefly. Maybe.
I’ve had some good moments. I rode with my friend, Matt Kosinski for damn near 150 miles in the Dirty Kanza two years ago. Well, not like right beside him but we were always within a few miles of each other. We’d ride together for periods of time. One would suffer and one would ride ahead. The other would suffer and we’d be back together. You could argue we should have just stayed together and helped each other out. I feel like we still did that though in pushing each other and in an event like DK, there’s always someone riding your speed…if you can catch them. I’ve had great moments riding with people when I’m feeling down and out of it. Riding with friends can pull you out of the depression stage. Hell the year I rode with Matt, I had a down period for 10 miles and Ryan Dudley pulled me out of it. Riding with someone is a must at points in a race. I just can’t seem to stick with it for the entire event.
So if you ride up to me at an event (I’m usually the slower one) please by all means say hi, howdy and hey. Talk about how the wind sucks, the heat sucks, the cold sucks, the mileage sucks. Talk about how awesome the tailwind is, the warm weather is, the cool weather is or how quickly the miles are counting down. Talk about how much you love Emporia, Mulready’s Pub, the Dirty Kanza Mudathon of 2015, the downtown businesses, the community support and the Flint Hills. Talk about all those things! I want to hear it. I really really do. BUT, talk fast. Chances are that next hill is gonna put the hurt on me and I’m gonna see what the next person has to talk about. I’ll catch ya at the finish line and have a beer with ya.
Maybe, just maybe, I’ll even hum a Britney Spears song with ya…probably not. Never again.