2010 Hippstar Menlo Park Grand Prix

2010 Hippstar Menlo Park Grand Prix
Underwater, CA
April 11, 2010
Weather: Monsoon
Teammates: Joel Robertson, Tim Granshaw, Rob MacNeill, Aroussen LaFlamme, Billy
Crane
Placing: 2nd of ~45

I’m in a rambly mood. In other words, it’s a perfect time for me to write
another of these ridiculous “race reports” that have little to do with bike
racing and more to do with the peripherally bike-associated crap that goes on
inside my head. Enjoy…or not.

Question: Is it weird that, as I lay awake on Saturday night listening to the
rain splatter against my window, my heart began pumping in anticipation of the
mayhem it would cause at the following day’s crit?

Well, it seems pretty weird to me, given that I tend to avoid riding in the rain
like I avoid talking to women; after all, both activities make me tremendously
uncomfortable.

Nevertheless, the thought of high-speed cycling through the eastern marshlands
of Menlo Park in the driving rain made me giddy with excitement.

By 11am, my heart was pounding out of my chest — possibly the result my
excitement for the day’s racing, but more likely a consequence of the
double-espresso, double-diet-coke concoction brewing in my stomach. Graduate
school and cycling has led to a most unhealthy addiction to caffeine. Still, I
was ready to party in spite of the dismally wet and cold conditions, so I guess
it could be considered “good race preparation.”

Speaking of “race preparation,” it should be noted that equipment selection is
paramount for a rainy race like this year’s edition of the MPGP. Naturally, I
selected last year’s long-sleeve skinsuit for my attire, and paired it with my
low-profile, heavy training wheels. I also dropped my tire pressure to about 85
PSI. I don’t care how slow that is on straightaways; I’m all about keeping my
tires adhered when I go flying balls-out into wet corners. I can’t wait to hear
you AV techno-nerds bickering about the logic behind those choices*.

Poor Billy Crane showed up to the race, cursing my name for dragging him to a
rainy criterium. “But my skinny legs don’t go fast on the flats, and I don’t
like riding next to other people, especially when the ground is damp!” he
exclaimed**. Suck it up, Crane.

Joel Robertson decided to warm up for our race by getting 2nd in the Masters 85+
1/2/3/4/5 race (or whatever event he races). Take note: this is a perfect warmup
routine, especially for those who enjoy the feeling of a moist chamois clinging
to their [CENSORED] for over three hours. Also…2nd place is for suckers.

I think Tim rode his bike to the race from like, San Mateo or something. While
similar to Joel’s warmup routine, Tim’s method failed to garner him the
accolades and podium girl kisses accompanying a Masters podium finish.
Advantage: Robertson.

Anyway, after a one-lap Chris Hipp Memorial ride — in honor of the late and
utterly amazing Labor Power rider — the race commenced in pouring rain that
steadily increased throughout the event. A rather rambunctious field of some 40
riders took part in the melee, and in spite of some committed attacks by the
likes of Steve Reaney (CalGiant), Chad Gerlach, Joel, Billy, Rob, Aroussen and
Collin Samaan (Wells Fargo) nothing could get a gap. I guess that’s what happens
when everyone in the field thinks he’s going to win the race from a breakaway.

Here’s a good story for those of you wondering what kind of smack-talk goes on
in the P/1/2′s (at least, this is what happens when I’m around):

So, Joel was in a break of about four riders with the largest gap of the day
(about 15 seconds or so); naturally, I was patrolling the front and watching for
bridge attempts. Steve Reaney rides up next to me and says, “You know I can
bridge that in about half a straightaway, right?” “Of course you can, Old Man.
That’s why I’ll be right on your wheel,” I responded. “Well, I hope you can keep
up,” he scoffed. I let out a small chuckle and said, “That shouldn’t be too
hard…”

Turns out that Reaney could back up his words; thankfully, I could BARELY back
up mine.

With 15 minutes to go, and the field strung out from back-to-back-to-back
primes, I attacked hard. Reaney jumped across in short order, and the rest of
the field was caught eating the road grime off his rear wheel. Reaney and I
(read: Reaney) went ballistic, and we rapidly opened a huge gap with the help of
our teammates in the field. Remember when I said that “it shouldn’t be too hard”
to stay on Reaney’s wheel? I was wrong. Just staying on his wheel sucked
royally, much less coming around him to take pulls.

Heading into the final straightaway, Reaney taunted me by allowing me to find
his wheel; he then righteously crushed me in the sprint with about three pedal
strokes. I would feel bad about that, but it’s likely that Reaney would have won
the race solo had I not been there. Still, I’m not fond of being the last of the
breakaway riders…

Letter Grades:

Tactics: C (Is “try and get in a break” even a tactic?)
Teamwork: A (I mean…Billy was there)
Style: F- (My sunglasses fell out of my helmet, which is a major fashion
infraction. In addition, mullets don’t look nearly as flowy when wet. Noted.)
Finish: C (I didn’t get dropped, so I’m being generous.)

Overall: A (Not a single rider from Not-As-Good-As-Google showed up, making life
rosy and wonderful regardless of how the team did!)

*I chose to wear the skinsuit primarily because the white panels become
translucent when wet, and Billy needed some cheering up.

**He didn’t actually say this, but he might as well have. Instead, he just said
“I hate you for making me do this, and I want to bail SO BADLY.” Thanks for
coming, buddy. I’ll come race Wente RR (or some equally hilly bullshit) with you
as repayment.

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