On some weekends there’s nothing good going on, but you can be sure there’s always a four-corner crit in an industrial complex within a 90-minute drive of my town. I like a nice tilt-up concrete warehouse wall and NASCAR style bike racing as much as the next wheel sucker, but when given the choice between riding over road dots lap after lap and riding on miles of rocky singletrack in the fresh San Bernardino Mountain air, I choose the latter nine times out of 10.
It’s usually a pretty easy decision to make. But on the weekend of June 4-5, there was no warehouse to go turn circles around. There was an actual road race, and a good one at that - the state championships, no less. The tragedy is that on the very same weekend, the second round of the 12-Hours of Temecula was taking place, and the final round of the Kenda Cup West Series was also running up in Santa Ynez. What’s an avid lover of both road and mountain bike racing to do?
Easy! Using an app that my parents gave me, called my brain, I concocted a complex plan to race on a 4-man singlespeed team in Temecula on Saturday, go home, sleep for a few hours, and then drive up to Bakersfield and do the Pro-1-2 road race on Sunday morning. The Santa Ynez race course isn’t much fun anyway, and besides, the report on Weather Underground called for clear skies and 70-degree temps in the Santa Ynez Valley so I knew it would probably rain instead, and of course it did.
The decision to race in Temecula was also an easy one because; A. Back in January, we won the first round of the three-round series; B. 12-hour team races are almost as much fun as flogging a 250cc four-stroke around the wet SoCal desert; and C. My teammates threatened to tarnish my good name by publishing incriminating photos of me on Facebook if I chose to skip the Temecula race. There was only one thing I could do, and that was to go help win round two. So we did, handily. Yawn.
I got home after midnight. And while Woody, Stanners, and Creed were tucked into their beds on Sunday, sleeping the morning away, I was awakened from a four-hour slumber by my wretched alarm clock. By 5:26AM, Tricia, Joey, and I were on the road to Bakersfield for a 9:00AM road race start. By 5:30AM, I was thinking to myself, “What the hell am I doing?”
When I was a younger man, I used to think sleep and rest were over-rated. Now that I’m old, I know sleep and rest is a necessity. It’s easy for excitement and adrenaline to overshadow what you already know to be correct and right. Take Congressman Weiner for example. He let the excitement and adrenaline of sending lewd photos overshadow the fact that he knew it was wrong. And surely by now, Sarah Palin must know that it’s not a good idea to open her mouth, yet the infinite knowledge in her brain gets overpowered by the excitement of seeing flash bulbs, big cameras lenses, and those funny foam balls on the end of a microphone.
So, like Weiner I kept it up. And like Palin, we kept driving. I started the race and I have to admit the campaign was going better than expected until I found myself sitting in the very back of the field going into the feedzone just before the final of three 31-mile laps. What could go wrong when you’re the last guy of 60, or so, speeding through a chaotic feedzone? What could go wrong when you’re a congressman sending photos of your “Weiner” across the internet? What could go wrong when you’re Sarah Palin and you open your mouth? I think a better question is, what could go right?