Racing season is in full swing in these parts, which means not only pinning on numbers but coordinating travel, finding motel rooms and swapping cash for gas and food in the parking lot of the race venue.
When we started talking about rebuilding/reorganizing/creating a new team last fall, we thought about who should be on this team. We finally settled upon a pretty easy criteria: Would you like riding in a car with them for a couple of hours? Sharing a motel room?
Or perhaps more importantly: Would you gut yourself in a race to give them a shot a winning? If you look down your team roster and answer “yes” after each name, you’re on a good team.
Over the past weekend, we loaded up the various cars in the team fleet (read: whichever ones had bike racks mounted on top) and headed off to the races. While we were there to make our bikes go fast, a two-day, overnight trip is always good for bonding and morale boosting and all of that kind of stuff.
For example: The guy I pegged as least likely to be able to do anything athletically other than pilot a bike turned out to be the miniature-golf champion of the group. He was also the one who chased his post-race meal (at 3 p.m.) with a pair of Red Bull-and-vodkas.
Additionally, I seriously underestimated my teammates’ love of sweet-potato fries. They’re good and all, but three plates’ worth? Apparently so.
Between Red Bull, vodka and sweet-potato fries, we rehashed the day’s races in all-too-precise detail. What went well, what didn’t, what to do next time and what to never, ever do ever again. Ever.
We even managed to resist the temptation to throw something off of our (indoor) balcony into the pool (also indoors). Indeed, it was a successful night. (And it was soooo easily within range. We could have tossed anything in there with ease.)
The next day, we saw our lone masters’-race teammate off and then schlepped his spare wheels to the wheel pit … about 10 minutes late. Whoops. Luckily he didn’t need them. And a few minutes later we were spread out all over the course trying to offer strategy more detailed than, “pedal harder!”
We did it a few more times over the course of the day, and had the favor returned to us when we lined up for the last race – for all the marbles. From the gun, we were on the same page. Lap after lap, we did what we needed to do to deliver the goods at the line.
The result? A podium sweep.
As much as I’d like to say I was up there on the stand, waving and accepting a gift basket of salted meats and soft cheeses, I was not. For I was cross-eyed and gasping for air when the cannons launched at the end.
But I got my work in earlier – chasing attacks, slowing the bunch as our guys rolled away and taking an ill-fated flyer of my own. Remember one of those criteria listed above? The desire to turn yourself inside out for a teammate?
Check. It was horrible, awesome, exhausting and exhilarating, all at once. After the race we did another cash exchange in the parking lot and headed home.
What else was left to cover? Just splitting the pot from a successful day on the bike, that’s all.
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