Rockhopper Revisited!

God knows what this has to do with bicycling

Invited to race. Something very special about getting invited (it implies being welcome). Four times this year I’ve been so blessed. Some day let me tell you about the times I was forbidden to race.
Alas, I couldn’t take up every generous promoter’s offer , due to distance. I’m sure it’s for the best, since I don’t train except by racing, and once-a-year singlespeeding doesn’t do it. I missed:

1. The weeklong “Trans Sylvania Epic” or

2.) “Wrath of the Boneyard” in New York,  or

even 3) “24 hours of The Enchanted Forest” (a benefit for chronic fatigue sufferers).

But Santa Rosa’s Annadel park is right up the road, so when Bike Monkey magazine editor Yuri Hauswald extended an invitation to  race the “legend”  category, I lept. And told all the Retrovians (people who used to get my ‘glob’–the reverse of a blog; it comes to their  email doorstep rather than they coming to me) in case we  could get a real reunion going.

And of course, I  gave some thought to my attire.

Back in  fat tire prehistory,Lynn Woznicki named, promoted, and produced the bumpy stampede through Annadel State Park . It was a fund raiser for the American Lung Association. Everyone was balled up in a single pack: Eric Heiden, Joe Murray, Tom Ritchey,  and my future husband….out of 500 others, I was sure no one would be able to tell the gender of the pigtailed rider finishing with the best, so Colleen Hillis helped me paint my back with “Cunningham” and I finished wearing my birthday jersey.

Now that off-road bicycling’s mainstream,  I wouldn’t do that (family audience!) But I could do wild: jaguar-print “Rumpstomper tights” sewn by Jan Shaw (she and hubby Bob were huge movers and shakers then; the bench in Buick Meadow is named for him). Up top, I thought…BikeMonkey…monkeywrench, yeah, I’ll wear a rare jersey from  Nate Woodman of Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s got a minimum of verbiage and a maximum of design elegance.  The problem is that  June 26th promised to be a scorching day, and the monkeywrench cycles jersey is short of sleeve.

I added white cashmere armor, er, arm-warmers.  Thick. Keeps the sun out,  and the sweat in.  Somehow I have convinced myself that I can endure wearing wool in high summer.
Andy Bolig and me were precisely on time for the crazed 19 mph “neutral” start, parading 3 miles through Santa Rosa.

I started slow, and tapered (usual tactic).  But when the trails thinned out, I found my pace and managed to overtake a few guys when they bobbled., My specialty is trail reading, making me hard to pass on extremely twisty, rocky terrain.  I like to have a clear view in front of me, so I can set up my line. Woe  to the stronger rider  stuck behind me.
Hey, we’re contesting 312th  place–do I need to slow down? Racing means never having to say your sorry…Yeah, I was a jerk.  TJ from Mikes bikes? I owe ya at least a beer: you kept me sharply focused when I might have relaxed on the lyrical Lawndale descent.

I saw a father son duo (Mike and Calvin Hersey) riding seamlessly through the trees,  dodged an ‘enthusiasm biff” (crashing for joy), and and I got to finally meet a racer I’d unwittingly been the measuring stick for since the early days: Chris Barrett of Tahoe… we compared notes, and he for the first time ever, beat me (until a day later when he figured out that he’d taken the medium-length, 24 miler, where I’d done (I think!) the 27 miler.
Ecstatic, and pretty much bonking  as I crossed the finish line (American meaning, not Brit), I staggered around cutting into lines for beer and burritos, swapping cups of water for permission to flagrantly cut.
Next year, if I have the ability to organize it, I’ll get a twelve-year old to tow a few water jugs and  paper cups around–to hydrate the very patient, and equally ecstatic racers.

I know of only one broken bone, and even he waited to go home to deal with it….

~ by jacquiephelan on July 6, 2011.

6 Responses to “Rockhopper Revisited!”

  1. Yes! The Monkey Wrench is the sigil of the moment. Again, again, again.

  2. Jacquie,
    assuming you’re riding your ‘Ham, this would be the first time i remember noticing a suspension fork on one.

    at the risk of being distracted by the boringly technical, i can’t help but be curious; is this an older frame, or did your guy make you a new one? if this is an older one, were any changes made to the frame and/or fork to accommodate the suspension fork?

    (and those specs are *still* great fun,…) ;-)

  3. If you ask me, leopard print is NEVER the wrong answer.

  4. I was given shit for putting a Rock Shox on my ‘Ham a couple decades ago, but I did so after hitting a rock which sent a shock wave right up a specific nerve in my hand that felt like someone had just rammed an ice pick halfway up my forearm. Now the original fork is back on, restored to its sort of original form. When the shock was on it, all it did was raise the front end slightly. It still handled fine, but the original geometry feels like a dream compared to all other bikes I’ve ever had.

  5. hey jp, looking good. nice cleavage too. ;-) stumpjumper might have been my very first race way back when. maybe not, but it was certainly way back when. you’re still riding fast- bravo wombat!

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