Whaaaaaat?!? A bicycle race report? Yep. They have been few and far between this year, because I got hit with a dumptruck full of adulthood and a Honda Civic full of Lyme Disease but hey, whatchu gonna do.(Excuses will be in bold)
I finished my Lyme antibiotics on Friday, and had been back riding my bike by that point. Lyme is a hell of a disease. I don’t recommend getting it. If a tick hold you up at knife point in the woods, just give him your wallet and iPhone and get the hell out of there. Don’t try to fight him off and end up getting Lyme.
So everyone had fast August legs, and I had (what felt like) mid-April legs. Not great.
I continued my solid race preparation by cleaning out the ground floor of my barn for about 7.5 hours on Friday. I told Amanda that if I lost the crit, it was her fault. To which she replied “There’s no way you were going to win anyway”.
My wife is very smart.
As this was my team’s race, I got to Portsmouth at 7:30 on Sunday to help out. I was lucky, and managed to snag a position working registration for the Kid’s race, in a chair, and with a friggin’ awesome lady named Ann. We talked a lot. When she was writing down day-ofs for the 4-6 races (I covered the 7-9 and 10-12), I was tweeting.
I found my teammates and hung around the start of the kids races before a lovely lunch at Ceres Bakery (one of the best places in Portsmouth) with the team and a quick car nap. Amanda bummed a ride with Robbie King, and she arrived to work the busy crossing by Breaking New Grounds.
I groggily got in my kit, and we did some bike riding to move the legs – after I took three ibuprofen to deal with the previous days efforts, of course.
After getting back to the team tent and wolfing down my stashed volunteer lunch, it was time to race bikes.
At some point I applied a breathe right strip to my nose and HOLY CRAP THOSE THINGS ARE AMAZING. I will be racing with them from now on. I feel like a goober, yes, but they are fantastic.
I lined up, comically got a call-up as a “local hero” (thanks Fleming, or Susanne, or someone in the promotion department) alongside real local heros Dylan McNicholas and Robbie King (who are much better than me at bike racing). Isaac Howe didn’t get a call-up, so I was technically better than him for like eight minutes.
Aaaand then we were racing bikes!
On the first lap, I thought of my good friend Drew Szeliga. Then some dude went off the front, a Hagens-Berman dude went with him, and I thought “what would Drew do?” Drew would cover the first move of the race, so off I went!
And my body was like “oh seriously what is going on I thought we were done with this business dude c’mon what”.
We came back, obviously, and I think I rocketed towards the back. Whoops!
I surfed in the mid to back of the race (also not wise) for most of it. Occasionally I found myself being borderline productive. I did what I could to chase down a move, I dragged Peter Bell up the group with 10 to go, and I chatted with Isaac about fish stock and really wished I had a time machine to the point that ticks evolved from some other insect so I could crush their ancestor.
After my efforts with 10 to go, I was pretty spent, and used what little energy I had left to move up to aid Landen, Luciano and Andrew in their efforts to give Peter a good launching pad for the finish. The three of them did a great job, and Hagens-Berman took over the efforts for the last lap with Peter surfing somewhere in the front of the field.
Coming into the finish, there was some business that ended with Aaron on the ground (but okay) and angry. Peter ended up fifth behind, with Isaac winning for the second year in a row, and some guys who aren’t from New England (so they don’t matter) in between them.
At some point, Amanda was kidnapped into haybale cleanup duty – which involves loading haybales into the truck AND unloading haybales at a Portsmouth municipal facility. As a result, after changing into non-bike racing clothes, I awkwardly walked around Portsmouth with her purse looking for her (for about an hour) before giving up and heading to the volunteer party at the Brewery.
She eventually showed up, sweaty, and requiring beer. Which was good, because we were at a brewery.
I am always amazed at this race. I’ve done it every year since 2005. And every year it is amazing. If every race as 10% as well run as this race, bike racing would be much more fantastic.