Sunday, April 15, 2007

Working Draft of Oxbow Race Recap

Oxbow Classic, April 14th, 2007
Race Recap
I made the trip down to Oxbow Park early Saturday morning to get a good long “race-pace” workout in and to see my mom, sister, brother, and his new wife. The alarm went off promptly at 5:00 a.m. but I never find it hard to get up early for a bike race or to go climbing, of course with work of any kind itz a different story. In any event, Crystal, my wife was up as well to study some bio-chem. before our little girl got up and…blah blah blah…sorry, but itz hard to write exciting prose on the subject matter of road racing.

Basically for a guy with my limited ability the typical road race follows a fairly scripted protocol. The pre warm-ups and warm-ups are fun because I get see a lot of really nice and talented guys. For example on Saturday I spoke with the always amicable Doug Swanson, touched base with the legendary Gary Gross, and had a nice conversation with Jeff Colbert, an Arrowhead 135 participant. The start of these road races are usually really casual [nothing like mountain bike races which are frenzied and desperate], essentially everyone rides along at a mellow pace laughing and enjoying the moment. Then, usually about 20 minutes or so into it, some one takes off and the tempo get ratcheted up. There are also teams of riders that are employing team tactics and strategies of which I know nothing… I am usually strong enough to initially hold on and I know that these surges usually only last a few minutes, but after about the third or fourth redline, I most often get dropped. Then itz a solo ride…a lone man dealing with his own “quiet desperation“…Oxbow followed basically the regular routine, with a few notable exceptions.

I got to Oxbow about 75 minutes to race time. With a sense of integrity and honor for all old people, I signed up for the A race, paid my entry fee, and walked around a bit, looking at the various bike set-ups and then went back to the car to get dressed [Note: It appeared to me that the fast guyz were either riding cross bikes with smallish road tires or full-on road bikes, the exception being the Brothers Moore]….It was at that point that I realized that I had forgotten my cycling shorts!!! In a momentary panic, I was able to reach my mom via a borrowed cell phone and she promised to try and reach my brother, but I quickly regained my composure knowing full well that I was most probably going to have to race this bad boy wearing a pair of early 90s-style running sweats that I had pilfered for the Esko School District’s lost & found bin, coupled with a pair of worn Old Navy cotton boxers, so it goes… Worse things have happened to me…several years ago I showed up at a cross-country ski meet with no skis and at the end of the day I had a pretty good effort…This is nothing new, by the way--I remember back in the day leaving a full pack of gear near the summit of Devil’s Tower and not realizing it until back on terra-firma…but thatz another story…

So the race began and followed pretty much the regular routine. The initial burst occurred soon after the big climb…Being in a poor position towards the back to offer any resistance to the inevitable , I took my bitter medicine without struggle and watched as the faster group of about twenty riders left about four or five of us…We, Team Caboose, rode together for the remainder of the event. Luckily these guyz were relatively motivated so we all took turns working the front and thus were able to stay within a few minutes from the lead pack. We also caught and passed several stragglers along the way, one of which was able to rally and join our happy little group. I was wearing a heart rate monitor and on several hard pulls I was able to get the old ticker up to and even above 185 bpm, which is good for me at the start of the season. At the conclusion, I felt like I had gotten a real good work-out and I was pumped. Although I must admit that I was slightly RAW on various sensitive areas due to my propensity to forget things; namely the cycling shorts. No permanent damage was done and a little dab [I mean a lot!] of Desitine Diaper Rash Ointment [with Cod-Liver Oil] and I was good to go on Sunday.

Regarding the real race, apparently, much the same, but at a faster pace, was playing out up ahead with the peleton seemingly content to take short turns pulling and to otherwise enjoy the beautiful day, secure within the slipstream of the pack. Unbeknownst to many [however his team, Grandstay, knew] one guy, Dan Casper, a real nice guy that is a fire fighter down in the Cities, broke early on the first lap and rode solo for the rest of the way. Doug Swanson broke from the pack on the last lap and was able at just the last minute to catch a fatigued Casper…In a generous act, my brother over heard Mr. Swanson ask his teammate Mr. Casper for “permission” to take the win and was granted a positive, albeit weary nod by the steadfast fire fighter. Other notable performances include Ben and Brendan Moore, both of whom rode very fast on mountain Jim Bell, old guy past 40, was right there with the fastest guyz at the end...It was a great first race!!!!

Feeding the Rat: Two hours on Sunday to wrap up a productive week!!! 15.6 Total Hours for the week…Weight is still a "limiting factor."


  1. Geez,
    No bike shorts? Dude. That is what is really going to feed the rat. uguhghgh. I was bookmarking Charlie Farrow's site under "Bike Stuff" but after a story like this I have decided to move it to my "Duluth Culture" folder!