& Kel

//**Covering four races in this post. There will be plenty of soundtrack, but you’ve been warned**//

I had a friend give me the Good Burger VHS a couple of years ago and I remember I was so excited to relive those childhood memories. I think I must’ve watched it 50 times on my friend’s vintage VHS all-in-one TV that summer. The cassette itself was bright orange and the opening credits immediately brought back memories:

This movie is fantastic. It has some really funny writing, good music, great guest appearances (GEORGE CLINTON!!), and 1990s innocence.

Also, this song:

Rogers Cycling Festival–1/2/3 Race–Saturday

I think this is the second year for the Rogers Cycling Festival. This year it was also the location of the Arkansas state age based and category based road race championships. The course was one that the whole team was familiar with, we had done a few races out there in a local bi weekly road race series. We did the counter clockwise course on Saturday, making for a longer climb right before the finish. Jared and I entered the 1/2/3 race because Arkansas does not have a jersey for anyone from the age of 20 to 29. Shanely and Joel entered into the age based 35-40 category–going 1st and 2nd respectively.

Our race was largely uneventful, Jared helped me keep it together and even though there was a longish hill nothing was getting away from the group of twelve of us. At one point, Andrew Evans launched a solo attack in the valley 4 laps into the 9 lap race and had a good sized gap with probably a good group of 4 of us chasing hard to bring him back. Turns out he was sprinting ahead to take a pee break. If he would’ve just said something, I’m sure we all would’ve been fine at keeping the same pace until he caught back on. Instead a few of us had to use up our energy in what we thought was an attack. On top of that, Andrew had 2 other teammates in the race with him, which meant that he would have someone able to sit back with him and help him get back on and someone to sit on the back and slow us down. Since we had already started on this wild goose chase for 0 reason, I got a little ticked and decided to go ahead and put in a hard effort up the climb and through to the finish line. Why should it be easy if you’re pulling shenanigans like that?

This gets under my skin for a couple of different reasons. One, there is an expectation that just because your name is XXX, then the group should respectfully neutralize and wait for you to join back on. Bullshit. Again, I’m sure if he would’ve just said something, none of us would’ve had a problem with keeping it steady until he came back. Also, pee break neutralization largely occurs in a stage race and is called by the general classification leader. Secondly, it’s a 2.5 hour race. If you gotta pee that badly an hour into it, learn to pee off the bike or hold it. It’s arrogant to have an expectation that everyone should just wait up for you. Would he or anyone else in that group have neutralized if I needed a pee break? Probably not and nor would I expect them to.

/rant

I know that my actions would be perceived as poor taste, but to put it bluntly, I don’t give a fuck. I was already in hammer mode and I wasn’t going to let up just because. He ended up catching back on just fine, I just hope that he had to work hard for it. We all stuck together for the rest of the laps, with a few light hearted attacks here and there, shutting down after a few seconds. On the last lap, Andrew attacked on the long downhill and we got up to 41 mph. The pace slowed for a few seconds and Jared sprinted in the valley and opened up a big gap rather quickly. He can be a really surprising rider–he’s got both a sprint and a really good 5 minute power. I rested in the draft of the group while they worked to bring him back in, catching him at the bottom of the climb. Shortly after catching Jared, Andrew launched another attack on the hill and I quickly got on his wheel. He saw me on it and relaxed a bit and I launched my attack as we crested the top of the hill, giving it everything I had for the next 2 minutes. I could see that there was definitely someone on my wheel, but it was the only move I could really execute. My sprint is mediocre and was not going to win in a head to head. We railed the last two corners and I was immediately overtaken by Kevin Soloman and a kid from Dallas, Fred Vincent, ending up in 3rd place. I was really happy with the day overall. Jared and I coordinated really well and I was able to get on another podium for the year.

//**Edit: Apparently, Andrew did say something about a nature break and Jared had heard him. Obviously, was not very clear communication because there were three guys who were legitimately chasing him down like he was attacking. I’m leaving in my dumb rant to provide context and I really don’t want to rewrite a bunch.**//

Apparently, this guy is the son of Hugh Everett III, the originator of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum theory. The theory says that in an alternate universe, I started racing bikes a lot earlier.

Rogers Cycling Festival–Arkansas State Category 1/2 Road Race Championship–Sunday

We knew that this race was going to be really hard. Some of the guys competing didn’t race the previous day and Oklahoma Bike Project showed up with 4 guys. They’ve all been racing really well this year with plenty of podiums and cool achievements. Jared and I knew that it was going to be vicious attacks until they could get away. This time we had Shanely in the race with us. The plan was to try and keep it all together until the last lap, where Jared would have the best chance out of the three of us to get a result. That plan quickly went out the window once the race actually started. From the very beginning OBP was very active and throwing down attacks. By lap 3 we had let one of their riders and a Tyson rider off the front. At some point, the other three OBP riders and another Tyson guy broke off and bridged up to their teammates. The whole group was in trouble. We started getting organized, creating a rotating paceline and taking short turns on the front of the pack, driving the pace. I heard plenty of chatter from Tyson about how the race was shot if we couldn’t get our act together, yet when it came time to do their duty at the front of the race, they wouldn’t pull through. I asked why at one point and was told that it was because they had a guy up the road with the OBP guys. If 4 out of the 6 guys in your break are from the same team, you’re screwed. There’s no way you’re getting out of there alive unless you cut a deal. Really, for Tyson to have a good opportunity to get on the podium, they needed to help pull the break back and reshuffle the groups or try and send a couple of guys up the road to bridge the gap.

I think we went 4 or 5 laps of the time gap between the groups staying right around 30 seconds. It definitely started feeling futile. 30 seconds isn’t a lot, but an hour of chasing at a high pace and not making any ground is frustrating. Eventually, we burnt out Shanely and Jared trying to bring the group back and we were left with a group of six of us or so, including a few guys who I had raced with the previous day. At one point, Andrew Evans was in between our group and the breakaway and OBP dropped one of their riders back and sat on Andrew’s wheel. We could see them at the hairpin turn and it felt like it was so close, but it was probably 20 seconds vs 30 seconds. Eventually, we caught Andrew again and slowed down the pace a ton. We all understood that bringing back the break was just not going to happen. Right before we had given up, I had averaged 320 watts for 20 minutes, working so hard just to catch them. We had maybe 4 left (about an hour) and we could not get Andrew to just pull through and share some of the duty on the front of the group. We weren’t even going that hard, maybe 220 watts on the front, 18 mph average? Honestly, I know everyone in the group just wanted to finish the damn race. It was hot and starting to get really boring. It’s not like Andrew taking a turn at the front of the group would’ve helped reel in his teammates. I’m surprised we didn’t get lapped while we were going that slow.

On the last lap we were approaching the hill before the hairpin and I was on the front and the kid behind me let me float off, probably trying to bait Andrew into chasing me down. When I looked back I already had a good 5 second lead, so I put my head down and went for it, making it all the way to the line for 6th place. That last effort hurt so bad after that many miles in the heat and then 370 watts for 6 minutes. The tactical error this time was looking at the wrong wheels to follow.

Summer Waffle Series #5

A couple of weeks ago Chad, Shanely, and I drove up to Springfield to help defend Shanely’s waffle jersey that he controversially won last Tuesday. There were a lot more Kuat jerseys and even a couple of guys from Tyson showed up from Fayetteville. It was Chad’s first race since his vacation in Mexico and his first Waffle race. The whole group stayed together for basically the whole race. There were some half hearted attempts at attacks, but nothing too serious. At one point the two Tyson guys, Andrew and Ben Gramling put in a big dig and quickly got a 5 second gap before Ben dropped his chain, getting it actually too tangled to ride. With a half a lap to go it was a group of 8ish, including Shanely and I. The whole goal of the race was to set Shanely up so that he can get the points that he needed for his upgrade. Andrew launched an attack and I had thought it was early and that I would get some assistance to bring him back in, but it seems that the groups only goal was to just not see Shanely win again. I time trialed on the front, closing down the gap slower than I should have. By the time that I delivered the group & Shanely to the bottom of the short, final climb the gap to Andrew was still too large to make up. Shanely still beat out the rest of our group for second place. If you didn’t gather from the Road Race State Championship, Shanely applied for his Cat 2 upgrade and got it the same day. Super excited to have another super talented guy to race with next year.

Many people don’t know this, but Shanely is a blood relative of Rick James.

Summer Waffle Series #6

The last race of the series, Chad, Shanely and I decided to make the trip one last time for the summer–plus they gave us a heads up that there would be free ice cream at the end of the race. It ended up being pretty similar to the week before where there just was not a whole lot of action for most of the race, or if there was action, it didn’t really result in much. In the last two laps there was a freak wind and rain storm on the backside of the course for about a mile that made things a little sketchy and annoying. On the last lap, Chad took over leading duties and ramped the pace up to 32 mph on the raining backside. It was hard to even hang onto the wheel in front of me. He wanted to keep a high pace so that there would be no attacks in the last part of the race. We got onto the last stretch leading into the final hill and Chad retired, playing the best role he could. I stuck to Andrew’s wheel all the way up, passing a couple of people to have a clear shot at the corner at the top of the hill and then the rolling downhill finish. I pulled up alongside him on the downhill, waiting for him to make the first jump, which was pretty silly. All I was doing was wasting at least as much energy as he was by putting my face out in the wind. I’ll take ‘Silly Ego Flexing’ for 400, Alex. When he did make his move, I was late he beat me by the same length that he jumped. That’s what you get when a climber gets into a sprint situation. A smarter move would’ve been to let a tiny gap open between Andrew and I and then launch on the actual hill right before the corner and try and hold it to the line. C’est la vie.


This picture says everything about how I felt about that finish. Mostly it says ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’

//**Hey, thank you for taking the time to get this far. I always feel a lot of wonder when I look at my Google Analytics and see how many page views a post will get. I really appreciate you taking any amount of time out to read a 2300 word diatribe about a bunch of adults playing a kids game. Feel free to leave an anonymous comment or link to something. Next post won’t come for a few weeks**//