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Turned out to be a fine cycling weekend (kinda long)(8 posts)

Turned out to be a fine cycling weekend (kinda long)Starliner
Apr 28, 2003 5:07 PM
Did the Wente Road Race on Saturday and then went north to Chico and tagged onto the Wildflower Century ride.

I have wanted to do the Wente race for a few years but for various reasons couldn't make it, so this year I made a special effort to make it happen. Come Saturday morning, however, I screwed up big time by forgetting to take my shoes. It took me twenty miles of driving before I realized they were missing; by the time I had gotten them and arrived at the registration table, the time limit to show up had elapsed, my number had been sold to another rider, and the race was minutes away.

In a fog of pissed off disbelief, I rolled on up to the group of riders massing at the starting line. My group (Masters 45+) was sent off, leaving the final group, the Masters 55+. Without a number, I decided to take off with those guys and at least ride the course for future reference and for fun.

I didn't want to taint the race with my presence, so I tried to stay somewhat invisible at the fringes of the lead pack until just before the last lap one guy finally told me to get lost. So I then fell back and shadowed them from a distance.

This being the second road race of my life, I was excited to at least be able to ride with some racers and become in tune with the race pace. The course had several good places to start a break, and the finish line was at the top of the longest and steepest climb. It would have been a tough finish for a guy who, at 200lbs, doesn't quite fit the prototypical mold for a road racer. I just figure I'm like a race horse that's got to carry 30 extra pounds...

At least it was a great workout. Even hours after the race my body had that kind of healthy glow that one gets after a hard workout, sort of like my system was flushed out and I had an oil change.

I had made a last minute decision to visit my brother in Chico and tag onto the Wildflower Century ride the next morning. So, because I was not official, I set aside my club jersey and put on my favorite non-logoed wool jersey, green with black sleeves and two horizontal black stripes around the chest. Shouldn't attract too much attention, and if anybody got upset about me being unofficial, my club wouldn't be involved.

My brother lives on the course before the first big climb up Honey Run to Paradise. The day was sunny but cool, so I decided to join the stream of riders after a leisurely breakfast.

It was a nice ride; beautiful scenery, I hooked onto several faster moving trains along the way. One of the best was this tandem which whizzed by me on top of Table Mountain butte. It was an athletic 30ish couple and they were hauling along at a pretty good clip. I jumped on their wheel and let them pull me across the top of the butte and then down this curvy, ripply paved descent. I don't know if they were trying to lose me, but they just put the pedal to the metal on that downhill run. I chased them down to the bottom where upon finishing they curiously said "good job" to me. What it was, was a hell of a lot of good fun.

Soon to the valley floor, and miles of smooth, flat riding among the almond orchards, with their shady, well tended grassy floors. Steady, trance-state riding now with the heart rate on cruise control.

And then with 15 miles to go a group of eight or so riders from Reno passed me by. I jumped on the back of the train and rode it into Chico, avoiding the worst of the winds which had whipped up by then.

With that, a fabulous weekend of riding came to an end. A weekend which started what seemed like a month ago, when I discovered I had left my cycling shoes behind.
Monumentally stupid weekend. Don't call yourself a racer.Spoiler
Apr 28, 2003 9:11 PM
"I didn't want to taint the race with my presence so I tried to stay somewhat invisible at the fringes of the lead pack until just before the last lap one guy finally told me to get lost. So I then fell back and shadowed them from a distance."

Do you have any idea why there are penaltys for pirating a race? You made such a nuisance of yourself that a group of 55+ had to tell you to get lost.
Let me get this straight. You pirated two rides on the weekend AND are posting it here as sharing a "fine" weekend? How can you enjoy doing something that you think is so wrong that you're ashamed to do it wearing your club jersey? Would it make your club look bad? Would it upset people? But you did it anyway and are now bragging about it here.

Why pay the money that goes to support the ride, the cause, and the volunteers when you can be a douche bag and just suck wheels on all these suckers that were dumb enough to PAY?!"
re: Turned out to be a fine cycling weekend (kinda long)Mazinger
Apr 29, 2003 5:47 AM
Being somewhat new to road riding....isn't it bad ettiquete to catch a wheel from someone without invitation?

I was riding last night and another rider cathes up to me and gets right behind me. I look bad to see him and wondering if he was catching a wheel. He smiled and just said "Don't worry I'm just turning off right here".
Apparently I was just riding slower than him and he just caught up and had no need to pass me since his turn off was coming up. :)
re: Turned out to be a fine cycling weekend (kinda long)Fez
Apr 29, 2003 6:24 AM
Catching a wheel without invitation does not seem to be the major issue here.

As the response directly above you said, crashing an organized event w/o registering (for whatever reason) is not acceptable.
re: Turned out to be a fine cycling weekend (kinda long)Mazinger
Apr 29, 2003 6:38 AM
Oh yeah. That I understand. I thinks it's a given that one shouldn't crash a race or event. That's why I didn't mention it.
I run through stop signs tooFunston
Apr 29, 2003 8:35 AM
I can't really argue strongly against the criticisms of how I made myself a part of these events, for I understand where they're coming from. For what its worth, I was preregistered for the race and I don't regret doing what I did. The course was still open to traffic, and I attempted to not get in the way of other riders, but I did want to stay in the flow. I rode without a number, and there was plenty of opportunities for judges to pull me off, but it never happened -

The century was a last minute decision, I skipped the food and service stops and post ride feast which weren't open to me anyway. Maybe one can say I violated the "spirit" of the event by riding the route that day, assuming all the money they make goes to good causes and none goes to pad the personal pockets of a few. But the route was nevertheless on an open road, and I'll accept the expected criticisms for my decision.
CorrectionStarliner
Apr 29, 2003 9:04 AM
The "stop sign" reply was mine, not Funston's, who I work with, and hasn't come in yet. I don't think he wants anything to do with it anyway, so here's the correction (I've really been forgetting a lot of things lately)
Race Poacherchar
Apr 29, 2003 8:21 PM
Thought I saw you "ride" by up Altamont pass.

Please tell us the next race and century you are sponsoring, I'm sure there will be lots of riders just like you that show up. Oh yeah, I won't be wearing a helmet so it will be real easy to see me.

Charlie