Sunday, May 20, 2007
Cable Classic...A biased race report
The Cable Classic 2007
A slightly brain-damaged and therefore disoriented race recap…
by Charlie Farrow
The last time I took a hit like that to the head was on a sweaty summer night at the Easy Street Bar in South Saint Paul…we were all meeting there to go play a summer rugby tourney in Toronto. My brother, Tim Getchel, and I got there early, so by the time the rest of the team showed up, we had already stirred up a bunch of malcontent marines on leave from some nearby base…In any event, without revealing too much, suffice to say that the beatin' I took on that night some twenty years ago [and the subsequent head and neck aches that followed] is comparable to the one I took towards the end of the Cable Classic, I guess the point I am trying to make is that the following recap is even more suspect than the other race reports that I frequently submit.
Bill Schwalbe and I rode down together from Duluth and it was very pleasant to have such wonderful company. The weather was somewhat sketchy, but the course turned out to be in great shape. It was great to see many of the original characters of the local racing scene in force including, Dave Pramann (and his lovely wife), Greg Pattison, Scott Chapin, Ezra Taylor, Hollywood, Ron Raymond, Bart Rodberg, Tom Gaier, Dan Meyer, Jeff Schmid, Grady Larimer, Kurt Lange, Mike and Michelle Haag, Tone Coughlin, Mark Wihelmson, Kevin Ishaug [from Free Wheelin’] and scores of others…Also worthy of note are those that were not in attendance including super fast guyz, Jeff Hall, Doug Swanson, Sam&Eric, and CHRIS WHITE…
With these “classic local” races, for me anyway, the warm-up and the line up is always great fun. On this Saturday it was no different, itz a blast to ride around with all the guyz and get totally fired up. There is lots of positive energy and contagious karma omnipresent, itz why I am drawn to these races, the feel is similar to a Friday night high school football game between cross-town rivals. The only sad thing to report is that Harry Anderson totally snubbed me, it was a Class 4 snub and then when I later called him on it, he had the gall to deny it.
The start was very mellow and thus allowed me to get securely into the tail end of a nice lead group about 10 to 15 strong. Probably the best reason for the moderate pace was that there was no Doug Swanson or Jeff Hall to take it out crazy fast. Heading into the initial single track, I could see Brad Johnson, Young Jesrin Gaier, and Scotty taking it out... but the pace was manageable, so I got into a nice position in about 8th place w/ Mike Bushey, Jim Bell, Todd McFadden, Brain Narum and Tone Coughlin ahead giving chase. Early on the initial fast single-track, Tone looked strong pedaling smooth like a good roadie and then he flatted…so it goes. I don’t know if I was just having a good day, or that the pace was abnormally slow, but I was able to hang on to the first chase group well into the event. I’d estimate that about forty minutes into it, the groups splintered again with Scotty and Jesrin Giaer (19 years old!) gapping a small, albeit strong chase group of among others, Jim Bell, a very nice guy from Saint Cloud (who ain’t no spring children @ 44) and Brad Johnson. Life can be a bummer, and so just as Scotty and Jesrin were starting to build a real lead, Scotty flatted, so it goes…Giving chase at a pace that I could not hold were Mike Bushey and Todd McFadden. I backed off and rode alone, but not with the usual sense of trepidation and loathing. In fact, I felt good, feeling like I could finish strong, and maybe catch up once we got on easier faster ground. Joe McGraver [with Tim Swift in tow] then caught me up and passed. I jumped on and the three of us rode hard with Joe clearly on a mission, pulling both Tim and I. Tim fell off. I stayed on Joe’s tail and soon there after we caught Todd McFadden. Joe passed Todd. Todd, the consummate bike racer and gentleman, jumped on while I pulled in behind Todd. But alas I couldn’t hold the pace and fell back. Riding alone I always slow down, but again I felt like I was having a good effort. Swift caught me again and yet I was able to hold his wheel, but he gradually gapped me. Itz cool and informative to ride behind Swift as he is so smooth; it looks as if he is just floating along. Sadly somewhere along the way he missed a turn and was out of the race. Swift is a real nice guy and a very talented rider, back in the day, he was a pro-roadie, now he owns two bike shops in the Hayward/Cable/Spooner area, so it goes…
It was about at this point that I hit the big mound of earth and launched myself over the handlebars into space and then head-first onto unforgiving terra firma. My expensive Specialized helmet & Smith Sunglasses blew up as I bounced into a sitting position, I instinctively jumped up quickly like a sucker punched boxer, but then I felt a strange patriotic wave of stars and stripes and nationalistic pride, so I knew something was very wrong, so I sat back down and then noticed that Brian Narum was also laying there in agony. I think I asked him, “whatzup?” But I am not sure cuz I was really dazed. I also vaguely remember a race official being there and running to caution others to slow down. After a few minutes, I got up and rode the Gunnar into the finish, like Ted Kennedy drives home after a big night of drinking with Mel Gibson and Ted Mondale. Among several others, Nikolai Anikin, a very talented young cross-country skier and a top-notch young man passed me, but stopped and ask if I needed assistance. Watch for this guy as he is gonna be fast…plus he is a first-class humanitarian!
Jesrin Gaier won the race, with Brad Johnson only a minute or so behind. Jesrin is a great youth with tons of potential and yet he is always very polite. Brad is an intellectual that would rather read Keats, but will on a whim just show up and beat ya. Jim Bell pulled in third less than a minute behind Brad. Jim Bell is a senior citizen that is having a great start!!! Joe McGraver had an outstanding race finishing 4th; while Mike Bushey and Todd McFadden turned in 5th and 6th place performances respectively. Harry Anderson got ninth just ahead of Hayward’s Scott Chapin. Erza Taylor, I believe on a SS, finished an impressive 11th place. Mike Haag finished 40th but did not feel well. Kudos to Michelle, who finished in 2nd place behind Sarah. It was simple bad luck for Scotty and Tone as both were looking strong. Flatting on a short fast mtb course is a death warrant. Of special note: below are Scotty’s own words regarding the assistance he received after getting a flat tire: “Two guys helped me: Aaron Swanson (no relation to Doug or Dan) who is an extremely kind guy and a great bike racer, and another super nice single-speeder from Ashland, WI named Dan (I think...). Either way,without the help of these two upstanding individuals, I would have had to go for a 12 mile hike and I am therefore eternally grateful for their acts of kindness.” As Vonnegut would say, "so it goes..."
Sarah Kylander-Johnson won the women’s event going ahead. She is going to have a great season, she is very strong and she is having fun!!! Nikolia and Tim Ek finished 14th and 16th. Tim stated that his legs still felt a little fatigued. Also of special note, Bushey’s wife, Jody Zeleznikar placed 3rd in the women’s division in the 18 mile event—Bravo Jody!!!!
Sadly, I cannot comment as to the availability and quality of the beer at the awards ceremony as I was en-route to the Hayward ER via an ambulance. In fact my ambulance was in hot pursuit of Brian Narum’s ambulance. Narum, whose physique resembles that of Hercules,suffered a dislocated shoulder, but somehow while waiting to get it x-rayed he was able to “pop” it back into place, yet his shoulder was super swollen…so it goes…It seemed like he would be okay after a week or two of R&R…I hope he gets better fast as he is clearly one of the best racers ever to come out of the Duluth area. I aint no complainer, but I hope next year's race officials will have that barrier clearly marked...that bad boy has taking out a lot of riders in the last few years...because it is not clearly marked...I spoke with several others, including the winner of the race [who barely landed it] and all agreed that it was a miscalculation to not have that wall clearly marked.
A Ying and Yanging Youthful Yankee: Three hours on Saturday and one hour on Sunday