Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I May Not Have This Quite Right

Susan in Tygh Valley

Taken during the Ring of Fire 24 Hour Time Trial.  Susan was approaching the turn into Tygh Valley.

Since it was early in the day, early in the race, what else would I do but shoot photographs?




This particular file brought a story to mind.  I can’t call it a memory, since I wasn’t in the same vehicle.

During the preparation for our first go at Race Across Oregon, the team gathered for some on-course training.  We’d never done this kind of thing before, so we wanted to get a feel for what was going to be expected of both riders and crew out on the course.

We gathered ourselves into my car (an aging Subaru Legacy wagon) and a borrowed Ford Explorer (to sit in for the motorhome that we would later rent) and headed east to Tygh Valley. 

Since we’d agreed that I’d be the lead-out rider for the race, it seemed logical that I should be the lead-out rider for our practice sessions, and so I was plopped on the road (US 197/OR 216) and pointed toward Maupin.  “Ready?  Go!”

That’s exactly where Susan is in this picture, except she’s going in the opposite direction.  But you can see where I was pointed.

Obviously, the first half-mile was a walk in the park.

The Explorer was supposed to hang back for a while, playing the part of the RV and not doing direct support.  Since it was by far roomier than my station wagon, that’s where the rest of the team (Laura, Linda and Richard) were loitering, each awaiting their turn on the road. 

Since it was illegal to do direct-follow support for a training session, Jeff kept close tabs on me doing short leapfrogs in the Subaru, while Susan and the team planned on making bigger jumps between exchanges.

Susan had hung back long enough to allow me to make significant progress up the grade shown in the blurry background here.

I should state here that I normally enjoy climbing hills.  I’m not built for it in the same way that I used to be, but the affinity remains… unless I’m having a really crappy day, I still get along OK with positive grades.

And, it was early in the day.  I was fresh out of the blocks and feeling fine.

This is what was told to me (or the way that I remember it being told to me):

As the crew in the Explorer passed me on the grade the first time, someone (Laura… it just had to be Laura) said something to the effect of “Well, that doesn’t look so bad!  Looks like a piece of cake!”  To which Richard (Australian, laconic, but not lacking a sense of humor) replied dryly “Yeah, but you’re not the poor bahstid on the bike.”

(This poor bastard understands that much laughter followed.)

The Explorer (and team) pulled over and allowed me to pass once more before setting up an exchange, and when they passed me again, the passenger-side windows were packed with faces hanging out, yelling “YOU POOR BASTARD!” as they went by.

I had no idea what had happened.  I don’t even recall if I understood what they were saying at the time, but when the story was recounted to me as I peeled off sweaty gear, I laughed. 

It became our rallying cry for that and the races that followed.  We have “PG” rated team T-shirts with the phrase emblazoned on them.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I still treasure mine.

No comments: