This year’s Indiana bike racing calendar featured a long dry spell in June and July, but that’s finally over, and the packed criterium season is upon us.  I’ve been able to participate in the last two local races, which were fun, but not much to speak of in the results department. 

BLOOMINGTON CRITERIUM:

You can almost see my arms quivering in this photo.My favorite race.  This is the one that I think about during the winter, sitting on the trainer, staring at the garage wall.  Thinking about how I should have beaten Ren-Jay to the line if I had just held my position through the last lap, that kind of daydreaming.  Six corners, lots of bumps, a very dangerous corner, and a finishing straight through Bloomington’s best patio restaurants, jam packed with spectators. 

Started out great.  Had a bunch of strong teammates.  I was the first guy off the line, eventually tucked in about 10 riders back from the lead, and easily holding position

Then, about ten minutes into the race, despite being keenly aware of the dangerous corner I mentioned earlier, I caught a pedal on the ground, lifted my back wheel up in the air, and slammed down hard on the saddle, tilting the nose all the way down.  So now I’m riding with all my weight on my hands and sliding downward with every pedal stroke. 

Paul Wood wins with surprising ease.The race continued on at a pretty good clip–25.4 mph for 45 minutes.  I was having all kinds of problems getting through corners safely, since my weight distribution was all messed up.  Losing position in the corners, bouncing all over the place, starting to wonder about whether I should drop out and avoid the potential crash risk.  But I hung in there and rolled in with the pack, with plenty of gas left in the tank, left to wonder about what might have been.  One of my teammates won, so that eases the sting a bit.

That’s the problem with having such focus on one event.  If it doesn’t go well, what are you supposed to do, mope around until next year?  Luckily, Wendy and I had a daughter-free night to ourselves, and we were able to lift our spirits with the help of some favorite hangout spots, as well as the boisterous company of Fred Rose, the manager of the original Bicycle Garage (no longer affiliated, but warmly regarded).

Ride a little more, try a little harder, come back next year.