Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Summer for All

The question is have we all gone too far. It seems every ride I have done with the team this summer has been filled with deliriously happy people. So happy that well, people are taking sick days to ride. Sick days to ride and then go to Ocean Breeze Amusement Park. Not sick days to travel and ride. Sick days just to ride around town and eat at Panera afterward. These are bankers, mechanics, lawyers, teachers, contractors mind you. Adding prerides to prerides so that a former 30 miler has turned into 70 miles around town beginning at 6am. It has been non-stop. I avoided work all summer myself and upon my return today found that I quite simply had forgotten how to use my brain.

The women’s team has led the charge on this one. Hanging out with them at races is like going to a metal concert. We get there in just enough time to congregate in the parking lot. Someone goes into the porta pottie and continues to talk through the plastic walls. The main event begins and we claw our way to the front row and give it all we’ve got. We rove around in the aftermath, listening to stories and end up laughing and snapping photos under the tent of those competitors we just elbowed to get to the front. We end out on the beach, hiding beer. Yeah, kinda like high school—but I had fun in high school.

BJ has been a major inspiration. She won’t mind that I say she is 55 as long as I also say she beat me by 3 minutes in the state time trial. She has single-handedly uprooted all my images of “grandmother.” She had a laser focus this race season: win the VA State Cat 4 BAR series. We all heard the highs and lows of each race throughout the season. We all knew the main contenders. We spent mobile minutes discussing race strategies and, sometimes, counseling BJ that there is always a next time. I did not enter mass start races, so I did not directly offer race support. However, she was flanked by Carol, Mandy, Robin, Sally and Laura for much of the season.

A pivotal race was the state road race where they focused the entire team strategy on getting BJ to the line first. It was a long race (42 miles) and from what I hear, one where they carried out many attacks in an effort to get BJ off the front. It landed in a field sprint, at which time Carol knew exactly what to do. BJ jumped on her wheel and Carol motored her to a lead out. BJ ended up 2nd behind a non-contender, giving her enough points to go into the last 2 time trials with a comfortable lead. Their teamwork drew a great complimentary quote from Ann Hardy of Richmond Cyclismo and which ended up in the an article in Richmond Publication. BJ is looking to Masters Nationals for next year.

On the eve of winning the Bar, BJ suddenly shifted focus from winning to what color the championship jerseys would be. The color changes each year and it’s supposed to be a “surprise” when the jerseys arrive. She actively sought out the decision maker at the last race:

Liz and Bill are talking business. Liz would never dream of talking other than business to Bill, who is president of the cycling association. He is so serious she often thinks. She sees Laura and BJ bounding toward them. Oh, God, what are they up to, Liz thinks.

LIZ: Bill, this is BJ
BJ: Are you the one who decides what color the Bar jersey will be?
BILL: Well, what color do you want—(he studies BJ, suddenly knowing)—
BILL and BJ (in unison): PINK!
BJ: Yes! Pink! How did you know!?
BILL: Wellll, I don’t know if people will want pink—
LAURA: Are you married?
BILL: (quickly) Yes.
LAURA: Well, you better just run now because she is ready to do anything to get the color she wants.
LIZ: Bill, this is Laura.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you didnt attach any names to the sick day thang! But on the other hand, if youre not mentally well, that can be considered a sickness, one which I use (as an excuse only) often! What better way to clear the head, and stress than a lovely morning sunrise group ride, breakfast, and water park? Scheduled sick leave, my calendar is OPEN!!!
At least my mentall illness is not a limitation, otherwise I wouldnt be able to ride the hurricane AAAAUUUUHHHHGGGGG!

Britney said...

I need to rethink this jersey color for the BAR shirt because "pink" won't match any of my 3 bikes UNLESS my husband surprises me with a new T-Mobile bike! Now wouldn't that be an added bonus! I would prefer an animal looking print for the BAR shirt but then I don't think I could do enough "favors" to the people in charge of picking the color to get that one through a team of all males.

As for taking days off to bike I have discovered that I DO have the perfect job. I never work Tuesday or Thursday, come in late on Saturdays (after riding 50 miles) and then do a long ride on Sunday (another 70). I don't work on Mondays but do drive in to work to pick up my paycheck which only pays for the gas to go pick it up. 6 days a month of work sure works for me.

sybil said...

I think I have a "girl crush" on Madonna and Britney!

Britney said...

Sybil,

Britney and Madonna want to know who you are?

Rob said...

Liz,I like your Blog. This could become Tripower's equivalent to Star Magazine!

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm... now I'm not THAT serious. That's just how your demeanor develops dealing with 4 children. I don't thing the pink jersey thing needs a detailed explaination but we'll try and make it pretty for the women (I think yellow was the fall back color of choice for BJ). And as for the offer of favors in return for a choice jersey color, well as flattering as that was I just wouldn't want to be used and disgarded for my immense influence over VA cycling.... tongue in cheek of course (not the favor, the influence!).

But Liz left out some of the conversation. Someone added that "you guys don't have any women on your team. You should add some women". To which I responded "the guys on our team go riding to get away from women"....

Finally, who's Britney? She rides more than I do... Anyway sure, there's always a favor that would get a animal looking print but remember it is a team of 15 guys....

Anonymous said...

That's just nasty! You dirty old man...

Anonymous said...

Washing our bikes and cleaning our chains???? Who has a dirty mind now?

Anonymous said...

Anyway sure, there's always a favor that would get a animal looking print but remember it is a team of 15 guys....