Last weekend we packed up the subie and marched down to San Francisco catching the last part of the Radiohead concert in Golden Gate Park. This marked the first-ever night concert in the park. Katie, being a little apprehensive in my taste of music had no idea what she was about to see. As we entered the concert and jockeyed for viewing position amongst 60,000 other Radioheads we realized, or at least I did, that we we’re taking part in an experience that I deem “the future of music experience” or at least the present of which I may be behind the curve. The show consisted of brilliantly performed music, amazing interactive large screen televisions with extremely, and often awkwardly pleasant images of the band in vibrant color schematics and euphoric sound/image matching. Radiohead was absolutely awesome. Exiting the park with 60,000 other people made for an interesting experience. Yellow jackets were swarming everywhere, I was stung on the tip of my nose, Allana was stung everywhere important, so we jumped fences and hugged the tree line landing us seats at a great Thai restaurant soon after.
After waking up in Pacific Heights we ventured down the coast, the girls got out and rode Highway 1, and Ramsey and I headed for the University Road Race Course to pre-ride the course. At first glance it appeared like an easy race to me. The next day proved me to be wrong as Ramsey, Devon, Andy, and I (me) all took part in what would eventually become a struggle for survival.
Good positioning in the race proved helpful but nutrition, once again, caught me by surprise. The course was a 3.5 mile loop. You start on a slight climb and then you descend while admiring the coast, then ascend, descend, and repeat 15 times. Ascending the climb took the heart to max love and descending put you into a cold recovery. If you fall out of sync, and the peloton keeps this rhythm, then you miss out on the recovery and get popped on the climb. It sounds easy doesn’t it, well it is if you remain focused. On the 12th lap, up the climb I struck up a conversation with a fellow rider wearing a BikeRX kit. BikeRX is a rad Mill Valley, CA bike shop who coined the bike vending machine which apparently Trek put in their distribution catalog for 2009. At least this is what I remember from conversing at heart rate max.
Next, I learned that my fellow conversator and I let a 5 foot gap turn to 10 feet and witnessed a surge. We sessioned up the steep climb and rotated pulls quickly landing us back in the back protected with 3 remaining laps. The next climb was all out and recovery was out of sync. The entire peloton blew and small groups formed everywhere. I was in the chase group rotating through within the top ten at this point.
We chased, chased some more while closing in when my legs began resisting the tremendous variance in heat. It went from a freezing descent to a 90 degree exposed climb every ten minutes or so leading to fierce cramping with just 1-2 remaining laps.
With one lap to go, and my best finish yet, I kept focus and envisioned windmills swooping around naturally which helped me to keep a pedal rhythm.
The embarrassing part about this was that 4-5 people passed me 200 yard before the finish line where my largest ever cheering crew sat hooping and hollering for my finish. I dreamt of attacking and actually surged. My surge looked great, to me, but it only lasted long enough for the other riders to notice and then pick up pace themselves landing me a top 15 finish instead of my top 5 goal.
As I crossed the finish line, I dropped my chain, literally right on the line. As means of survival, I popped my cleats out, jumped from the bike, had an entire body cramp – Allana grabbed my bike shouting “just get me off this thing” (she was reading my mind) and I tip toed very quickly, while crying deep inside, into the shade where I would lay down looking up at the 15 fans staring down at me saying so many positive things like you inspired me, you could have had it, it was a tough one and on and on.
Nonetheless, it was a ton of fun from start to finish. Congratulations to Ramsey for tremendous progress this last week in both UCSC and Boca, to Andy for making dreams reality, and to Devon for getting in where you fit in (a San Ardo victory for DV). Also, thanks to everyone who joined us in Santa Cruz, I hope you attend another event, just wear spandex next time.
Thanks for reading and go see Radiohead if you get the chance.