After 12 hours on the road, from Houston, to get to Kansas City to handle some business. I am in KC for about 3 hours then I head north to Mason City Iowa for a cyclo-cross race. For a total of 17 hours on the road out of 24. So, not the best way to start a race weekend. Not to mention, I did not ride a bike since last Sunday. Trudging through water for 13 hours is exercise right?
Prior to arriving in Mason city at 8pm my Air bnb host Crystal sent me a text asking if I wanted spaghetti or chicken with spaghetti squash. Since I only eat fish I was happy with the squash with butter and garlic. I thought it may have been a bit assumptive but, a closed mouth doesn’t get fed right? She actually made it and it was amazing. Man did I pick the right house. Not that there were a plethora to choose from. Crystal and I hit it off and as I ate we talked and hung out then finished watching a movie. It was very comfortable and she made me feel at home. Air bnb strangers are some of the best to meet.
This was the first CX of the year and I wanted to see how I stacked up against the Masters 45+. The course was awesome and very technical. I finished 9th out of 15, beating 4 guys that were higher ranked. I was 1st in the Cat 4. After the race I sent a text to Crystal that I would return soon. Of course she asked if I was hungry. Once again, not turning that down:) Her friend had caught some crapi and thought that would be outstanding. When I returned Crystal helped with my laundry and we made dinner together. At this point, this is what I call a race wife:) It is a phrase I heard when I rode across Iowa 5 years ago. It is a person who takes care of the basic needs. A race husband is similar, but they generally take care of bikes, tent set up, you know more of the heavy lifting:) It is primitive yes, but it is very much an effective relationship and most needs are met from both sides. By the way I am an exceptional race/ride husband and father.
Sundays race time was at 12pm and I got to the course at 8:30am to ride around and just test out the course again. The direction changed and it was a bit more technical. after my pre-ride I rode over to a coffee shop that was near by. I sat down to finish the Harvey blog and have a veggie burrito and coffee. As I sat there writing an man came in and ordered a latte with soy milk and sat at the table next to me. I was pretty sure that once I finished writing I would look up and start a conversation. Just before I finished he sneezed, I said bless you and that was a perfect time to end my writing and indulge in my second favorite hobby, meeting strangers. He asked if I was racing and I said yes and I did yesterday too. His name was Garen and he went on to explain how he went over yesterday to race and after getting on the course and getting to the top of the flyover, which is a wooden structure you walk up and then ride down the other side. It is very steep and I even questioned riding down it, he backed out and went home. I have to give him credit for admitting that. Most men are to proud and would never mention it. We spoke a bit more about the course and cycling. I can tell he really wanted to do it. So, I encouraged him to go get his bike and I would lower his tire pressure and ride the course with him. I am both affable and manipulative but only for a positive outcome for all involved. So, Garrett went back to his house to get his bike and I prepared for the race near my truck. I was surprised when he showed up and actually had tires that would do pretty well on this course. I dropped his tire pressure and had him ride around in the grass with me. Not to bad for a virgin racing in the 65+ category:) We rode the course a bit and on a steep hill I told him to use his rear brakes mostly. Well, he grabbed his front brake and slid out. I asked if he was hurt he said no and then asked which one was the rear break? I laughed and said the one on the right and rode ahead. I was a bit concerned for his safety at this point and thought that if he raced today he might incur an injury. so, I let up a bit on the talking him into racing and went on to do some dismount and whole shot work. Just before our race I had enough time to ride the course. I lined up and here comes Jarrett. I look over and asked if he signed up. He turned a bit and showed me his number on his right side. I told him to be safe and said a quick prayer:) If he died in the race then at least I gave him the permission slip to enter into cycling heaven. I had lapped him twice so he had to of finished 4 laps. When I went through the finish line I half expected to see Jerry sitting on the side drinking one of the free Sierra Nevadas. But, he was no where to be found. Did he go home? surely not! After a few minutes I see his rainbow Campagnolo kit out in the distance. I filled a cup of water to douse him with and grabbed a beer to open to celebrate his victory!!! I was super proud to see him finish. I have to say, I have seen some good riders stop in the middle of a race because it is just to taxing. But not Terry, he was all in and not at all a quitter.
So many strangers this weekend. Remember, every friend you have today was once a stranger.