RACE REPORT: Wednesday at Wakefield #4 (WAW4)

RACE REPORT: Wednesday at Wakefield #4 (WAW4)
got psyched out cause I did not want to get let down

it is important to get psyched up for a ride or a race
it is also important not to be too let down if a ride or a race can not happen due to other responsibilities
such as the responsibilities of adult life

the threat of having to work late and the reality of having a kid home from school sick had me thinking that racing the last Wednesday at Wakefield would not be an option for me
as it turns out I was able to get out of work a few minutes early as previously planned and lisa did not mind watching the boys while I dashed out to Northern Virginia for some fun on the bike
I had toyed with the idea of having the family come out for the event
when the notion of working late approached I never introduced the idea
since Grant was home sick it did not seem like a good idea to drag him into hot summer evening while he was running a fever
but bringing Dean along was an option

Dean had his apprehensions...
Dean wanted to go but he was not so sure what he would do while I raced
I assured him that there would be other children there and that one of my friends would hang out with him while I raced
while lisa took brutus for a hike I loaded up the Element with bike gear for father and son

I had it in the back of my mind that I would not race if the suitable situation did not present itself
hanging out would be enough
as we battled traffic on the Interstate Dean and I fueled up
we discussed the traffic patterns as Dean ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with an orange capri sun while I ate a banana, drank a healthy dose of water and gatorade while eating everything else I had stuffed in my bag

we arrived at Wakefield early enough to attempt the back to back...
but the back to back was not part of the plan
instead I had to focus on registering and figure out the child care situation

what would dean be doing as I raced with the clydesdales?

hmmm... what other parents had brought there children? were libbey and chris here? did larry camp bring ollie? who would be willing and able to hang with dean while I raced?

before I even got to the registration table I saw my old buddy tom
I have known tom since punk shows in high school...
we became better friends long after college when he lived in mount pleasant and we would hike the dogs together in the mornings before work
tom was off the bike... tom has been having a recurring issue with the pivot point of his GT double banger
the bike broke again... THAT BIKE IS A LEMON!
the bolt that holds the machine together snapped before he could finish his second lap
I asked Tom if he was hanging out and watch the next races... he was
I then asked if he would be willing to hang with Dean... he was

I registered...dean, tom, and I caught up as I geared up and finished fueling up

before racing rather than pre-riding or warming up I headed down to the creek trail with Dean
being bike-less Tom hung near the finish
I rode at a seven year old boy's pace with a smile as wide as the montana sky
seeing dean zigging and zagging through the woods makes me proud
attempting stream crossings, choosing the right lines, and getting back on the bike after crashing
it was a vision that would make any father proud

as the race start time approached dean and I headed back to the finish area to try and find tom
on the way up a gravel climb through the woods we ran into Cargo Mike
cargo mike was in the trade mark single speeder's fourth race sun dress
Mike checked out Dean's new ride as we talked about many things bike
Dean was very impressed with Cargo Mike's winning the Single Speed race and the series
Cargo Mike was very impressed with Dean's GT BMX bike on loan from the Merriam-Sheldon family
Mike joined us at the top of the hill as we looked for Tom
unable to find Tom with the race start approaching I asked if Mike was available to hang with Dean
it eased my stress filled mind that Mike was excited to hang with Dean while I raced

Cargo Mike and Dean enjoyed some free watermelon courtesy of Potomac Velo while rushed down to the start line
at the line there were the usual suspects along with some familiar faces
just like old times I was lining up with Chris Redlack and Bill Davis
I will admit... I had kinda hoped that Chris would not show...
I was not looking for the challenge which is redlack
and well... I was afraid Bill Davis was going to humble me

I was plenty fueled up with caffeine but I think my legs were feeling some of the effects of Tuesday's ride
I had ridden faster and harder than people normally ride the day before a race as I had not anticipated racing on Wednesday
my legs were feeling it up the gravel hill
into the singletrack first I eased off when got onto the course trying not to over cook things
trying to conserve energy and trying to race smart
I did not feel as if I had the ambition or the power to sprint ahead
the passing game started early so did the game of cat and mouse

chris redlack was hot on my tail
through the woods I could see chris was no more than a turn or two behind
I made a mental note of his red and black jersey and grew familiar with those colors

the three laps involved a never ending effort for me to sprint ahead only to get reeled back in
I passed other racers when I could
of course got stuck in the singletrack caterpillar and had to roll at other racer's paces but so did the fast following chris redlack
it was hectic... wakefield is known for being a tough course for passing
the races at wakefield are a lesson in passing

I would sprint ahead on the climbs and the again on the straight aways
always gaining a little ground
but redlack would be back on my tail by the end of the next twisting and turning singletrack
there was no shaking this guy
it was as if he was my shadow
I would try to pass as many people as possible
redlack would pass them right behind me

nothing would create a substantial gap
the effort was not so much about lap times it was a game of cat and mouse
similar to the race the week prior with redlack this week's race was about finishing in the front

to finish in front it was not so much about speed but smart racing
smart racing... yes... it was about smart racing
crashing was not an option
neither was a flat tire nor a mechanical failure
it was just important for me to stay ahead of redlack for the duration of the race
I had to roll across the line in front of chris
distance... duration... gap... lap times
none of this was important
it was all about position trying to finish first not second

the laps passed without any drama
there was little fear of cramping but there was always the threat of crashing
we raced the loops fast and fluid not a hypoxic race effort but a solid effort
just the same on each lap I was fueled by the cheers of the familiar voices of friends
although I did not see Dean's face I knew where he was at various points on the course
Cargo Mike and Tom were sharing the duties of watching Dean
they traversed the course catching the action from various perspectives
when I crossed the line with Chris Redlack just behind me I finished with a sign of relief

at the finish line Dean came up and gave me a high five and a hug
he was beaming ear to ear
not sure if he was proud of himself or proud of me
maybe he was proud of his battle scars
maybe he was proud of his dad's efforts on the trail

as it turns out Dean did more crashing on the trail while I was racing
Tom took him over to Phase Three for the BMX style berms he took a few spills forgetting that this new loaner rig lacks a coaster brake
then there were a few spills caused by the thin tires and the loose earth on the turns
when loading the car I grabbed for Dean's Redline Raid with wider more knobby tires
but the front tire was flat from the riding in the alley the night prior

after the race Dean and I hung out and waited for the awards
Dean got to tell his tales...
I got to tell mine...
we were enjoying the moment

I introduced Dean to various people...
it made me proud to get to show off my son

on the drive back we shared the excitement
we each had just had an epic summer experience\
we enjoyed reliving the moment


scroll down for clydesdale results

photo thanks to Jay of The Bike Lane
also... thanks Jay for showing Dean how to do a wheelie and a manual
maybe your words and example will show that it is not about THE WHEELIE GENE
but about practice


Jeff said...

Coach only won because you and Dean were distracting me when I should have been at the start line. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

sean said...

Great seeing your boy there with you. I gotta get mine out to see me race. He LOVES bikes and competition.

gwadzilla said...

not sure of the specifics
but I think TRIPS FOR KIDS is hosting a race at Wakefield on August 11th