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Did anybody say lets go racing ? I can remember last Christmas I started training for the 2011 race season and as I look at the calender its already nearly July and time for the Tour De France again. The first six months have been great with lots of racing, even broke down and started doing some Time Trial runs. As far as my objectives so far, I have made some progress on my five year plan to become a compeditive Master 55+ racer in a few more years. At 50 this season I have raced in 7 criteriums and done better than last season and my fitness level improves every day.
I plan on writing more in detail about this season in the coming weeks but for now, lets just say its been real.
Sadly, another cyclist is killed in Tampa this week, but it’s “Ok” right ?
(see story at TBO HERE )
I was thinking about this incident today and I believe a car driver must be personally responsible for ever second they are in the car period. NO excuses !
It’s become “ok” to drive with only one hand, it’s “ok” to go 20 miles faster than the posted speed limit, it’s “ok” to coast through a right on red situation, it’s “ok” to be distracted by a GPS unit, it’s “ok” to hit any pedestrian on a bike or not as long as you claim you didn’t see them and you were not distracted by any of the for mentioned items. (Continued)
Go to any shopping center and try to cross to the curb and you will get only a taste of what it’s like on the streets. How many times do the cars in the parking lot actually speed up just so you won’t step off the curb to cross to the store entrance ? How many people get PO'ed when they can’t park two spaces from the entry way and then get parking lot road rage ? It is almost unbelievable people. Say what you want about bicycles and the road, but it all boils down to humans being out of control, totally ! Why, because they feel invincible behind the wheel of a 2,500 lb car with 100's of horse power ready to react to every whim and emotion.
I watched a situation today that could have easily been the case scenario on how this guy may have been killed this week. I could sit at just about any intersection with a camera and record multiple instances of this in an hour period I bet.
I was on HYW 301 heading southbound and coming out of Panther Trace, a lady on a cell phone was heading out of the community to make a right hand turn onto 301 Northbound. As she approached the red light talking on the phone at about 40 miles an hour her head was turned completely to the left looking to see if she could make the turn before the cars stopped at the North and South bound turn lanes where clearing the intersection. She never ever looked to the right where at a cross walk a guy on a bike was waiting to cross. She rounded the right hand corner doing at least 20 miles an hour, tires almost squealing and was completely through the cross walk area before she turned her head to the right to finish steering around the corner.
If the guy on the bike had come out into the street, she would have been correct in saying that she never saw him, but the fact of the matter is she never looked for him either. It would have been just another "accident" by a motorist who was driving with one hand, talking on a cell phone, speeding and not coming to a complete stop at a red light before proceeding through to make a right hand turn at a red light.
But then again, it’s............"ok" right ?
Sad but so true.............. IRideBicycles
The Hill and The Hump…………. The Lakeland Crit last weekend has special meaning to me because last year’s race in this beautiful city was my very first racing experience as a Cat 5 rider. After training all winter and spring, I had high hopes of doing better this time around than my first showing twelve months ago. (cont.)
The one thing that I was intrigued with when I preregistered for the event was that the promoter mentioned that the course was being moved a block south to its original location that had a full block and a half of uphill labeled as “The Hill”. I thought to myself that “The Hill” would be no different than a stiff head wind and it was just another opportunity to prove myself and besides, if there is an uphill, there’s probably a nice downhill as well so I was ready for the challenge.
When I arrived at the course, the new location provided a different feeling right off that bat, something raw and edgy. Unlike last year, the start finish line was out in the open, no longer nestled in between the little down town restaurants and street side pubs, this time it was located on the long straight after cresting “The Hill” and a small false flat I’ll call “The Hump”.
As I looked down the approach, I could feel my throat kind of gulp at what I had anticipated on being a no big deal “Hill” and realizing that this was going to be a real grind as I could see the grade of the road heading straight down to the lake below. Watching the Cat 3 riders make laps was giving me a certain excitement mixed with a cautious optimism on my ability to overcome this “Hill” thing.
As I started my pre race rituals, I had an opportunity to meet Mike Tomlinson, one of the editors of this magazine and one of the points we both agreed on was to include a bit of encouragement to some of you guys reading my race report stories to get off of the side lines and into the race. I told him I have set a personal five year goal to Race as a Master 55+ guy and challenge for the Florida Cup Series and that I have to start like everyone else as a Cat 5 guy learning the ropes and getting some experience under my belt.
Now after three races, I know a lot more about myself and how to handle a bike in a real race environment. The main thing you have to have is the desire to just do it and then give it everything you’ve got. When I’m out there, for me just starting out, it’s not about winning, it’s about participating and learning the flow of things. I really don’t care what people think of me like “look at that old man out there racing with those young fellas” or maybe I don’t have the newest greatest bike or gear, so what ? All you gotta do is register, prepare yourself physically, respect your own safety as well as your fellow riders and go for it.
I haven’t come in last in any race but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I did, right now I’m mainly in it for the priceless race experience keeping my five year goals in proper perspective. So if anybody has been sitting on the side lines waiting for the right moment or when “you are ready”, just do it and have fun trying, you will find it really is a lot of fun and you can do more than you think you can.
Back to the race, I pulled up to the start line on the left side because I don’t like to make turns from the inside so good advice is to think about what you’re getting ready to do and strategically think about each turn and where you want to be, in a crash or the cause of the crash is definitely not where I want to be, so my first turn will always be an outside approach for me. The race official said go and we were off, it was as usual a fast start and I stayed with the pack as we rolled around turn one and two as we hit a strong head wind rolling down the hill toward the lake. At the bottom at turn three, it was a nice sweeping high speed turn that you could carry your speed all the way to what was to become the dreaded turn four and the beginning of the climb up “The Hill”. As I made the turn and started up, I thought to myself OMG what have a gotten myself into this time ? I’ve only trained on flat land around my neck of the woods in Riverview and at 230 lbs, I have a load to haul when going vertical but I tried to keep it all in perspective moving forward and up.
The thing about this “Hill” was I could keep my speed up pretty good for the first block but once you crossed over that first street you still had a bit of a “Hump” that was the darnedest thing to get over without feeling like you were going to blow up. It was right about then that I knew it was going to be a long 30 minute race but as always, I will not quit or give it up so it was time to start pacing myself and just keep pushing the petals. Sure enough after a couple of laps I started coming back to a couple of fellas that had also started to feel the effects of “The Hill” and “The Hump”, lol.
One of the cool things about a race like this is that everyone is suffering just like you are and as you get closer to the end several of us would give an encouraging word to those that were struggling and then when I found myself struggling, that same guy I encouraged earlier was now passing me and encouraging me back to keep going. The heat of the day really started kicking in as we came into the last few laps, I was very happy to hear the three to go call and kept churning it out to the finish.
The course was definitely challenging and I really enjoyed the fast downhill portion taking an opportunity to get the feel of a super high speed turn at the bottom and tested my limits going up “the Hill”, overall I came in 27th out of 30 riders, gained some very valuable experience about myself and racing and loved every minute of it (now that it’s over… Lol ) and I’ll be back next year for sure.