Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly: Eau Claire Race Recap

Race Recap for the WORS Eau Claire Race by Charlie Farrow

The Ugly: With contemplative hindsight added to diligent retrospection and finally upon serious reflection; I’d like to think that I could have gone faster and thus obtained a higher finish in last Sunday’s roller coaster Chippewa Valley Firecracker Race. Coupled with the fact that my expensive rear wheel was destroyed [and the cause of a very sore deer, see above pics] and that my last remaining bike helmet was run over by either a Toyota truck or a VW van [see above pics], by all other measures the whole affair was a grand success. Not one to worry too much about where I finish in these races; this flat, very fast, “big-ring” course on the out-skirts of Eau Claire does favor the few pluses I may possess at racing talent and thus in years past I have been able to count this event as one of the few that affords me a finish of which one can be somewhat proud, especially given my glandular condition and/or propensity to lapse into episodes of mild dementia. In 2005, I finished in 24th place [out of 75 experts] and last year’s effort was comparable with a finish in the top 40%, but alas this season still finds the writer desperately seeking some semblance of racing form. I knew going in that my legs still had not found the proverbial “next gear up“ or what some call the ability to “give-’er“ or in the lexicon of antiquity, from which I have lived the majority of my life, to “put the hammer down“, or to put one‘s “pedal to the metal“, etc [excuse the digression]…Of course, in the writers’ case, I know that I only have probably one or two or maybe three good races in my scarred legs and ravaged cardio-vascular system in any given season and since I consider my effort in Winnipeg three weeks past to be a good race, I am currently down to just one or two left and I certainly want to do well at the Chequamegon 40 in mid-September…So the way I look at it, itz a good thing that I did not do as well as I would have liked at Eau Claire, and itz also a good thing that I barely finished the prior race at Mont du Lac, for these sub-par performances mean that I have not yet peaked. The rationale being that since I am now in possession of just one peak performance, I want to hold on to it for a couple more months and cash it out at the Chequamegon [Note: of course this kind of flawed superficial thinking violates all tenets of high-level critical meta-cognition and yet is unfortunately similar in construction to the arguments used by #43 to invade Iraq back on March 20, 2003].

The Good: So now that a sound justification for my not-so-great racing effort regarding both Eau Claire and Mont du Lac has been clearly submitted, itz time to convey the much more impressive efforts demonstrated by my comrades. Just off the top of my head, I must publicly comment on the impressive effort of Scott Cole. Scott is 42 years of age, so he is ripe for being considered for placement on the coveted “LIST for 2007” [He is going for a high finish at the 24 hour National Championships]. Mr. Cole has always been a force, he has been racing hard for over twenty years. He is the kind of guy that I set my sights on and hope that if everything goes well I will be able to hold his wheel, but this year he seems to have found that “next gear” and he blew by me like I was one of those Amish dudes in a horse-drawn buggy while he was a successful Wall Street hedge-fund manager blowing by in a new convertible BMW…Scott Cole finished in 21st place, the highest finish by the old guyz, but it won’t be long now until our very own Mike Bushey will enter that magic realm of being considered old and yet he is having a great season riding a new Specialized SS/Geared 29er that is really a beautiful example of when form meets function…Mike finished an impressive 16th or there abouts while Scotty Johnson was right there too in like 18th place…The future was there too in Jesrin Gaier and Eric Oftedahl finishing 6th and 7th respectively. Sam Oftedahl, older brother of Eric was involved in a big-time crash like only a few minutes into it and yet he popped up, bloodied but ready to stay the course, but with a pedal or two he realized that his rear wheel was shot. Yeah, the start was big with something like 70 riders and crazy fast and crazy dusty that made for a crazy surreal scene reminiscent of what one conjures up when thinking of the Okie Sooners when the gun went off…back in the day. In any event, Sam took one for the team as did the amicable Chris Peariso as well, so it goes…luckily both lived and will fight again!!!!Jan Rybar, my rival and friend beat me again [score so far this season: Charlie @ 1 and Jan @ 2]. Harry Anderson and his lovely wife, Megan, made the trip down and while Harry started slow, he caught the writer on the last lap and finished strong. Both Harry and lovely wife, Megan, raced the day before at the Duluth Duathlon [I am not sure about the spelling, but it was one of those things where they make ya run then bike and then run again…]. Megan was kind enough to hand off water bottles during the race. Harry is looking good earlier this season…He is gonna be tough in October when they break-out the CX bikes! Cyclo-cross is his specialty…Brad Vieths also doubled up for the weekend as he also did the Duluth Duathlon thingy as well…another impressive weekend effort.

More Ugly: Mike Haag did the Duluth Duathlon and started the mtb race, but felt really bad and was forced to DNF. It is the writer’s opinion that it was the heavy guilt that Mike felt from destroying the cheapest man in the world’s helmet that ultimately forced him to quit the race…“Peace visits not the guilty mind.”(or in Latin...Nemo Malus Felix)
Juvenal (55 AD - 127 AD).

More Good: Sarah Kylander-Johnson took a very impressive 2nd place to Kyia Malenkovich
from St. Cloud. Kyia looked great…For anyone else, a second place finish would be cause for great celebration, but for Sarah it was disappointing. Sarah is a dominate force in midwest mountain bike racing and therefore expects to win every race she enters. Yet, I think itz a good thing for both of these wonderful women. For Kyia itz a confidence boost going into some big races and for Sarah it awakens the “beast from within” just as she gets ready to race in some major pro races in Vermont and beyond…

Even More Good: Also Kudos to the Ski Hut riders that participated in the Duluth Duathlon of which my little Sophie and I watched in admiration on Saturday morning near our home in Duluth. Joe McGraver was the top Ski Hutter finishing in 9th place. Harry was right there in 16th place, Brad Vieths got 18th, Mike Haag was 27th, Nikolai was 28th, Dean Gies was 59th. Jody Z [Bushey's wife] had a great race as did Michelle Flanagan-Haag. Megan Anderson looked strong... I know I am missing people and for that I blame my mild dementia! Also kudos to Greg Hexum for easily winning at the Tofte 10K over the 4th of July.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Postscript: It was great fun riding up to the race in Scotty and Sarah’s VW Van with Mike Haag also in tow. While those that know me consider me to be a rather shy introvert, a reflectively quiet and sober man; but alas the sitting arrangements on the way down to the race put me in the back with Sarah. Sarah wanted to 'chat' about some angry Texas woman that wrote a book that is all against male doctors and the like, so rather than risking offending her, I forced my shy-reserved self to engage in a dialectal constructivist-based conversation on the subjects of female hormonal fluctuations, menopausal angst, etc…so it goes...

Again, The Ugly: En route to the race, we all met at a local favorite coffee bar, Beaners, but it was closed...So as Scotty and Mike arranged the van and stacked the bikes [and presumably plotted against me], I went in search of the life-giving coffee bean. While I was gone up the street on my quest, one of them in one of their fancy-pants vehicles ran over my biking helmet. The destruction of the helmet marks the second helmet that I have destroyed in less than two months [see above reference to Mike‘s bout with guilt]. Neither one of them would admit guilt and to be honest I suspect a conspiracy or at the least, a tacit collusionary arrangement…Then on the way home, a deer tried to race us and as he started to fall behind, he attempted [like I myself have done on many occasions] to jump right behind the van to get a good draft and buy some time…Instead he hit the bikes affixed to the rear rack, sending him to the asphalt hard and completely destroying my rear wheel [see above pics]…so it goes…

The Really Good: Still riding up and back to a great bike race in a VW Van with three of my favorite people…it don’t get any better than that…so it goes………Plus Dean Gies, Champion of all that is Good & Proper has agreed to rebuild my rear wheel!

Finally, The Bad & The Good-Note: Three pics of mountain bike racers; two of which demonstrate how not to take a fast corner...and one GOOD example [Jesse Lalonde, the dude that won the thing...on a SS!!!]

Feeding the Rat: Big Big Day...5 hours on the bike feeling great!!!

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