Monday, November 05, 2007


Verge Chainbiter 9.0
Farmington, CT


Alright, let’s get this one over with, not my finest hour…er, more like ten minutes. This’ll be over quick, just like a swift kick in the nuts and just about as fun. It was a whacky weather day with the hurricane passing through New England, never did really do anything spectacular, except for nearly blowing my Ridley off the roof rack on 91 after the race. Caught a glimpse of it flopping out at a 45° angle through the sun roof A.K.A. “The Bike Viewing Window”. My old Thule trays are clapped out as all hell, this is not the first time this has happened. Thankfully this time the drop out didn’t break off the fork, I moved the bike to one of the Yakima trays and we were good.
There was a huge IBC presence at the event, I won’t try to name everyone because I’ll forget someone and then they’ll hate me forever. The start was delayed due to a medical emergency, turned out that Lea Papas-Barnes had gone down in a bad crash during the women’s 4 race. Her boyfriend Peter Bradshaw (wicked fast Cambridge Bike rider) left the start line to be with her, he is a stand up guy, class act all the way. I’d pre-ridden the course and I was psyched, it was a rollercoaster, incredibly fun stuff, there was even a legitimate climb in there, a single speeder’s dream. Unfortunately, after what seemed like a not-total-crap start my right cleat decided to loosen and then give out completely at the most inopportune of moments. There was this ride/run up, the way I was going at it I’d stay clipped in to the last possible second then unclip and run the last little bit to the top. First lap I hit it hard, went to unclip, my foot pivoted as I twisted my body weight to the left, resulting in me hurling myself to the ground like John Belushi doing a Joe Cocker impression, then I got run over. The best part of it was that my bars became entangled in the other rider’s bars like two Elk trying to assert their dominance over one another, only I didn’t want to assert my dominance, I just wanted to not completely screw up this guy’s day as well, I was sunk, he didn’t have to be. I apologized up and down as we detangled the bars and got going again. I clipped in, knowing that if I had to unclip my right foot the same situation would ensue.
Just after passing through the start/finish the cleat let go completely, preferable to being locked to my bike like a kitten super-glued to a ceiling fan but still sucky nonetheless. I hobbled on, riders passing me left and right, me actually waving them past, I was hating life. I made it through most of the second lap then as we were about to descend down toward the tennis courts, a pretty rough little chute, I bailed, I decided that my result was guaranteed to be total shite and I was quite likely going to get maimed trying to finish. Here’s the part I’m not real proud of…I went prima donna, hurling my bike over the tape, catching the tape and ripping it. It took me exactly two nano-seconds to begin regretting my behavior , maybe the regret began as the bike was still hurtling through the air. Ass. I helped fix the tape, then hopped on my bike and rode down an uninhabited corridor between two hedge rows back to the parking lot , stopping to cheer people on as I went, trying to get my head back on straight. As if I didn’t feel like a complete and utter dick already I then noticed that my bars were cocked to one side by about 5°. I had bent my brand new, not cheap bars, now my self-loathing was off the Prick-ter scale. But wait…under closer inspection I discovered that it was not my bars but my stem that was twisted, torsionally twisted by 5°, truly bizarre, I have never seen anything like it. The funny thing is that I had brought a back up stem because the carbon face plate on my Deda Newton stem was developing hairline fissures, yes it was unbelievably sketchy for me to be using this stem in the state it was in, I’m lucky I didn’t take a steerer tube to the sternum.
Eventually I cheered up, had some cocoa and some veggie chili and after a stop at Competitive Edge Bike and Ski in Northampton for some new cleats I’d be ready to roll the next day at Cycle-Smart International. The latter part of the day and evening went much better than the earlier part. Dinner at The Sierra Grill in Northampton was really good, killer spot there. I prepped for the morrow with Belgian fries complete with Aioli and although I prefer west coast IPAs to Belgians I did sip on Miriam’s Chimay between my several pints of Bear Republic Racer 5. During dinner we were trying to remember the name of the bar an ex-local had given us, we could only come up with the first part of the name. We asked the couple next to us if they knew where a place called “the Dirty, er something” was. This got a laugh, in some towns you might end up at an entirely different type of place than “The Dirty Truth” which turned out to be one of the finest pubs I’ve ever been to, the draft selection was frickin’ overwhelming. Bike racing is dumb, I’m just going to drink beer and eat food and write about that from here on out, how about that?

2 comments:

Brent said...

Dude you rode that sketchy stem you crazy monkey knife fighter you!

seth said...

I'm juss an ex-local to you.

sniff, sniff.