Ahh…Bike racing. I was really anticipating racing. Like, really really wanting to race. This morning I kind of felt like I was anxiously awaiting a big surprise present or something. It was almost like Christmas morning, where you know all the presents are underneath the tree, yet you have to wait until your grandparents come for Christmas dinner before you can open a single one. So instead, you think about all the presents just wishing you could open just one.
In my head this morning, I was just thinking… “I get to race my bike today…I get to race today…and on and on…” Pathetic, I know, but I am just being honest.
So, hence begins the Tour de Nez. The TdN takes place in epic proportions. Three stages, omnium style. Points taken at every race, cumulative points for each race, and a winner overall. Sweet. Three crits/circuits. Players include, four TIBCO teamies. Rush. AFR. Jerika. Me. Game on.
Day 1: Truckee Criterium, 6:30pm
Day 2: Downtown Reno Criterium, 5:5pm
Day 3: Northstar Circuit Race, 3pm
Truckee Criterium. It was a balmy 75 degrees outside, and the warm weather brought the locals out to watch the race in full force. The streets were lined with people, live bands, music, beer gardens, and a great crit course. 6 turns on a .627 mile loop. This criterium was actually the National HandCycle Criterium, and it was awesome to see those guys out there. You should check out their bikes! Fully equipped with carbon wheels, and race ready these machines were made to go fast.
Rush and Z got to the race early, and so we could spin out the travel in Rush’s legs. Nice and easy to Donner Lake, and then back to Truckee to check out the scene. All day I was just thinking about racing my bike. The countdown began at 8am when I realized that I was going to be able to race in 10hrs. I know I sent an e-mail at noon saying that I was going to be able to race in 6.5 hours. Wow. Then, suddenly it was 5pm and Rush and I were meeting up with AFR to get our sweet race wheels. Bring on the Hed Stinger 60s. If those don’t make you fast, I don’t know what will. All my prior preparation was then thrown out the window. The adventure began as I attempted to change my own brake pads. Before I knew it, I had managed to dismantle my brakes into 10,000 pieces. Good work, Alison. Where is the Big Ugly Rooster when you need him (That’s Steve, our mechanic, by the way). Good thing Z was there to assist. Then the disasters started occurring. Where are my keys. Why doesn’t the sensor work on the SRM. I need gloves. I need a gel. I need to register and pin my number on. Where are my keys? Ah. Have I ever raced before? Geez. Got that all sorted, and it as 20 minutes to the start. Nice.
Start line. Does anyone have a multi-tool? I need a 4 Allen key. Perfect. And we were off.
The goal, as always, is to race our bikes. And by racing our bikes, I mean to not necessarily be idiotic out there but make it a hard, fast race. And, of course, our goal was to win. If you are going to race, you might as well win, right? Starting off, the race was fast and hard. We didn’t start attacking until about 5 laps in, and AFR took off on a solo attack for 5 laps. I countered. Rush countered. Jerika covered. Beautiful. As we covered moves, and countered moves, the full pain was setting in. I am not going to lie, there were a couple moments that I asked myself why I was doing this. My legs were burning, my lungs were gasping for air, and this was something I was intentionally doing. Crazy. Yet, when it starts hurting you, that is the best time to attack, right? At least that is what I think. I attacked with 8 to go, and was solo off the front until 4 to go. Ouch. I was in full TT mode and feeling the headwind, but loving the fans. They were great, although it may have been the New Belgium Beer flowing freely, but I loved the crowds. 2 to go. 1 to go, and Rush delivers AFR to the finishing stretch. AFR wins the bike race, and Rush and I finish in the top 10. That is teamwork. Teamwork is reacting, it’s initiating, and it’s racing your bike hard with full faith in delivery. And let me tell you, AFR delivered tonight. Win number one.
Stage 1 complete and it was awesome. A great venue and a great race. Historic Downtown Truckee could not have painted a better picture for a bike race, and the people and race promoters were amazing. It was everything a bike race should be. Tonight was a real, bon-a-fide bike race, in a perfect town setting with the ideal backdrop of the Sierras around us. Bike racing doesn’t get much better than this. Tomorrow. Reno. Different backdrop and a different race. I’m thinking neon lights and bikes are going to be pretty sweet.