5.02.2006

the catch 22 of the clydesdale class...

the arrival at the greenbriar classic on sunday had the energy of family reunion
there was the confusion of familiar faces and forgotten names

there was the excitement and energy of the event about to unfold
as it is early in the season everyone was ampted to get on the bike and out on the trail
everyone was psyched to get out and race


looking for the DCMTB/City Bikes set up in the parking lot I saw all sorts of people unloading and suiting up in the parking lot

the late afternoon start really lended itself to a casual pre-race experience

after a second loop through the lot I found a section taped off for the City Bikes mountain bike team and parked standard mountain bike issue honda element along side of Mike K and Chirs Clarke's cars

without rushing to take the bike off the roof or step into an assortment of cycling specific gear
I made my way down to register
by the registration booths I saw old friend and rival Bill Davis

bill and I have duked it out on the clydesdale race circuit for years

but... in the last couple of years Bill has been dropping weight and picking up speed
more muscular than the average cyclist bill is big
but, no longer looking clydesdale big
and this is not an illusion created by the removal of his mustache
all of bill's efforts to gain speed has caused him to lose weight so much weight that I doubted his clydesdale qualifications
after a hearty hello and a firm handshake we started talking about the race
bill started in with excitement about weighing in at 201 that morning

half jokingly I talked about forgetting my scale

we went back and forth talking about a few other things
then parted so that I could register for the race and start getting ready

as I walked away from bill I took on last look....
he was not looking like a clydesdale
not only was he not looking like a clydesdale but he is looking fast and fit

I know he has been dabbling in the dark side out racing his road bike
I have seen him on Beach Drive in pace lines with DC local heros
already I was accepting that Bill was going to take the top seat in clydesdales unchallenged


after registering I ran into fellow clydesdale Don Watkins

was happy to see Don, his beautiful wife, and their wonderful new daughter

was not pysched to see that Don was in a leg brace for some ankle issues
would much rather see Don on the bike
but good to see him just the same
great to see him
awesome to see that his life is moving forward with family and that riding and racing are still part of his life (don't call Emma Jean EJ... don's wife will kick your ass)
don and I talked about bill's questionable clydesdale status

a glance from across the parking lot caused the thoughts in my head started to grow

my heart rate elevated

my blood began to boil

sandbagging the clydesdale class?
come on


my social loops continued

caught up with some familiar faces

shared the excitement of the day with strangers

made mention of the bill davis sandbagging situation to those that I thought would find it interesting

in my prerace meanderings I wander over to bill again
this time to take a look at his new car....
bill had shown up in a shiney new Honda Element the same orange as mine

we talk about the car the purchase the deal he got
the roof rack options
he went with and why
and other such things
within all the talk about the car bill told me of his morning mishaps
and the question of what class to race
not wanting to spend the money to race NORBA he was torn

then it came out
my old buddy bill davis was f_cking with me
he had weighed himself that morning
he was weighing in at 176, not 201
the ribbing of an old friend
he got me... he got me good


then it was time for me to focus in on redlack and the others at the line


it is an interesting thing this clydesdale class and its weight requirement
so many larger racers get smaller as they seek to get faster

they train their way out of the clydesdale class

bill is not the only one to forfiet the fun of being a clydesdale for speed
my brother was once a clydesdale

now my brother marc is fit and fast competing on a higher level

focusing on cyclocross yet still excelling in mountainbiking
marc still big by cycling standards, but not big enough to line up with the clydesdales


this morning I got an email from rival and friend Chris Redlack

chris whooped my ass by nearly 3 minutes at greenbriar
this weekend past
chris is fearing that he is soon to lose his clydesdale status
weighing in at 205 today
he knows that his early season weight will change as he begins to ride and race more
this would be unfortunate
as I love to race my buddy chris

it is an interesting dilema

an issue that has bit of an honor code

very few of these races do not put the racers on the scale

just as they do not question a racer signed up for one of the women's class
they trust that those signed up for the clydesdale class qualify
i
t is an honor code a code that has been broken
there have been skinny guys with rocks in their pockets at the Granny Gear events
those are demons for those racers to contend with I have my own set of demons
sure it may irk me

racing is not about podiums or prizes

racing ishould not about sandbagging

although it happens in all sorts of classes for an assortment of reasons


enough with this rant

must knock out some work

then get an actual race report out

no time to proof read

hope this rant meanders in some sort of logical fashion

Photo by NCVC's Kevin Dillard.... another rival and friend
gwadzilla archive about Rosie Ruiz

a great shot by Kevin of the start
Redlack in my Shadow

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