You Are All My Daughters
Another World Championship in San Francisco Last Sunday. I’d marked my calendar, but didn’t think about heavy rain (my plan had been to ride into S.F. as a warm up for a 47 minute gutbusting race).
Mandy Isbell and John Butera of Colorado were in town for the race (and his 50th b.d.)– I’d met ‘em in Ireland a couple months ago at the other singlespeed world’s. Mandy thought nothing of coming in a downpour at 7 am to get me, and bring me back into town.
Which she did.
Then we rode a few miles to the races in Golden Gate Park, with negligible traffic and barely any rain–John helped carry my ‘merch’ (cashmere armwarmers, embroidered badges, all of which were ignored the entire day, as usual).
Single speed cyclocross is a splinter group off the single speed splinter group I’ve been racing with the last seven years.
The promoter, Murphy Mack, and the title sponsor, Sheila Moon, are both friends, and I’d crawl over broken glass to take part in anything they are producing.
I knew costumes were ‘strongly encouraged’ but didn’t realize the visceral effect of seeing 60 women in full regalia–showgirls, ‘more cowbell’, a St. Pauli girl with armbands of overflowing bier steins, a Spielbergian shark, chickens galore, ballerinas, airplanes, in fact, out of the pack, a mere four women declined to wear a costume.
They were not evident at the front, either. At the front was Julie Krasniak, a Frenchwoman of impressive grace and power–she finished her race of three laps in the time it took me to have a couple of laps (including beer stops). More importantly, she was minutes ahead of second, and in a cute Rapha outfit with a “I love Wieners” message on the shirt.
Having arrived three hours before my one o’clock start, I busied myself meeting every woman I crossed paths with, including Gnat, who took pains to get the feathers, nylon, and sequins exactly right, and Mary McConneloug, our cherished Olympian from Fairfax.
Hypothermia almost claimed me, but I got some fortification: cocoa from the sneaker company, wieners from Paul components in Chico, and warm oatmeal from a very stylish gray bread truck piloted by Rapha people.
So I did a lap. My feet and hands thawed. I actually felt warm. The bike, my ‘ham crosser with bald “Expotition” tyres rolled through the mud like they were on a rail. No slips, no slides.
Dollar bills were tied to low-hanging branches. I even saw one muddy bill on the track, next to a peacock feather. I got them both–nobody was near, no one impeded by the inveterate pack rodent.
“Another lap would’t hurt” I told myself. “Maybe the nice guy will hand up a full beer this time”. At the second most popular spectator spot, I swam the water hazard, instead of prancing it like a real racer.
After the first lap, it became clear that three decades of riding gave me a certain Nerve that allowed me to fly at the three-foot diameter trees lying across the path, or the four-foot height fence we had to scootch under without banging our head….I knew my (Mafac canti’s) brakes were perfect. I even passed some riders, only to lose time when I sat down for a beer.
Please look at the Flickr, Bookface, etc. of all these people. Incredible fun. A tribe I can relate to…