Last Saturday was one of my very favorite road races of the year (maybe even #1 since we don't ever do Banana Belt with the downhill finish anymore), Kings Valley. At 75 miles long, with about the max amount of climbing I can handle before exploding (not much), about the max number of flat windy miles I can handle without tearfully expiring in a gutter somewhere, lots of pretty scenery, and better than average road surfaces, it's got everything a fella could want in a road race. It even featured skunk smell at one spot on the course this year, which I'm afraid to admit I kind of enjoy in a maybe-super-lite fetishy sort of way. I mean, It's not like I get all worked up over the smell or anything; I certainly don't enjoy it in the same way I like the smell of cookies or puppy fur, if that makes sense. Does it? I should stop.
Anyway, Oregon Cycling Action has all the official race reporting you could ever want, but I thought it would be fun to fill anybody who cared in on some of the finer details. Do you care? Read on!
The race started hot and heavy with some glamour shots of the prettiest boys this side of an OBRA license. Shortly thereafter my team mate Steven Beardsly and two other guys with bicycles rode away from the rest of us and found some sort of desolate, ash covered landscape that I don't think was on the actual course, which might explain why they didn't finish ahead of us. With those poor souls out of the picture, Paul and his amazing leg oil, along with many other fine young chaps (some oiled, some not), were free for a while to try a variety of different things to win the bicycle race. There were telegraphed attacks, sneaky attacks, attacks that by all rights should have been successful attacks and weren't, and non-attackers trying to talk people from other teams into attacking or chasing attacks. There were no animal attacks or pizza-pocket snack attacks, but just about any other type you can imagine probably happened.
Eventually, myself and four other gents found ourselves in front of everybody else (sneaky, slow attack style) and, after a lengthy discussion, we decided that it would behoove us to remain that way. There was hell of pedaling, I tell you what, and drinking from water bottles and munching on bits of food and all of that crazy stuff. In all honesty I'd love to go into more details, but a) my brain doesn't do a great job of making new memories while I'm doing my best to come through at 28mph, and b) I think our breakaway crew got along smashingly, as far as breakaway crews go, which doesn't make for riveting tales. Obviously we secretly wanted each other to kind of suck it, being on different teams and all, but outwardly we were pretty nice and all took our turns. The homies even graciously let me ride on the front past a bunch of photographers once, though much to my mom's disappointment those pictures haven't surfaced.
In time, we made it to the bottom of the last hill still in our favorable position, and from there my four breakaway companions did an excellent job of trying to win the race over each other. I imagine there was a lot of thrill and suspense, but about 2 miles prior I had foolishly taken up the task of achieving a proper bonk instead of eating food, so within the course of the last 1000m, my friends had disappeared from my star-obstructed tunnel vision and the field just about got me from behind (na$ty). If you simply must see what this guy looks like in the depths of glycogen hell, click here. Now cheer yourself back up by clicking here.
It was embarrassing. I felt a bit like Ja Rule, in fact - just really embarrassed (I imagine Ja Rule is pretty constantly embarrassed. He is Ja Rule, after all). Such is bike racing though; you win some, you lose almost all of them.
And that, folks, was the real Kings Valley! Thank you for your time.
The Tiniest Sprinter
PS: That was my last weekend road race for while, and perhaps the last one on my old bike... New bike excitement courses through my veins like sizzurp through Lil' Wayne.
PPS: Rob's new bike, while not the Number One Stunna mine shall be, was pretty amazing. Have a look.
PPPS: Unrelated, but click anyway.