If you recall, I was summoned to the Berkeley Hills RR this weekend; it seems that my absence from road races has not gone unnoticed by the cycling community.
Thanks to an overzealous bit of promotion by the local cycling media, I felt obligated to head to Berkeley Hills in order to earn the respect of the district with my climbing abilities; as it turns out, I’m simply not prepared for road racing. If you read my blog with any diligence, you know that I train about as frequently as JaMarcus Russell, and perform accordingly.
Thankfully, the cold, soaking rain hid my tears as I dropped out of today’s race, unable to maintain the brisk pace with my stubby little legs. Once I reached the parking lot, I huddled alone in my teammate’s car, rocking back and forth and muttering, “maybe someday I’ll be a real bike racer again.”
Perhaps I shall. Until that day comes, a “Critter” I remain.
To those of you who believed I could succeed at Berkeley Hills, I thank you for your support. Alas, I’m no “Rudy.” I’m no “Little Engine that Could.” I’m just an angry, dwarfish graduate student who can ride fast for 90 minutes, at best. Enough of the road racing shenanigans…let me finish my PhD and race my flat crits in peace.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…
Saturday’s PG&E Criterium was slightly more suited to my “talents”: a flat, three-corner criterium with rugged winds whipping out of the West. As usual, I showed up to the race early — my ears still pounding from the ridiculous techno-fest on the drive over — and began mercilessly harassing my fellow P/1/2 racers.
Most deserving of harassment was Phil Mooney of the Google Cycling Team, as he violated several cardinal rules of style at the same time: mismatched shoes and mismatched wheels.
Worst of all, however, was the fact that Phil had been forced to wear mismatched shoes because he lost his matched pair at a triathlon last week. Allow me to repeat: Philip Mooney lost his shoes at a triathlon. It’s a good thing that guy never wins races; he’s such a dork that it would be an embarrassment to the sport of cycling to see him on a podium.
After a bit of mouth-running on the start line — I made more inappropriate comments than normal, if you can believe that — the race got underway with a flurry of attacks.
Halfway through the relatively fast race, I weaseled my way into a break containing six of the seventeen Google riders in the race. Is it just me, or do those guys seem to be reproducing weekly, like rabbits? After some re-shuffling of riders and some more attacks, a final breakaway of three emerged: Ryan Parnes, Phil Mooney, and me.
People criticize me for getting beat in breaks, but that’s because I end up in breakaways with guys like Phil, who can out-time trial Fabian Cancellara, and guys like Parnes, who can out-sprint a pre-tooth surgery Mark Cavendish. Short of “going Cinzano” on the two Google teammates, there was no way I was going to find the top step of the podium…but I gave it my best shot. I was beaten soundly by the combined efforts of the two talented teammates, and the McGuire Synchronized Sprinting team (Magnell and Bramblett) took the field sprint. I should mention that the Tri Valley Velo team promoted a well-organized and well-sponsored event on the first attempt, for which they should be congratulated, though the lack of a W/1/2/3 field was a glaring omission.
Remember when I said it would be an embarrassment for a triathlete with mismatched shoes to win P/1/2 races? Well, shit. Phil won both races this weekend.
PG&E Criterium (which explains the helmet mascot, at least partially)
Berkeley Hills Road Race
As you can see in the bottom photograph, Nate English nearly pulled off his signature hilltop victory, but somehow Mooney bested him in the finale. Well done, Phil. Next time, why don’t you put your wicked fitness to use at a real bike race? Also…hey Dibble (3rd place in the bottom photograph), your…um…nevermind. Good racing at Berkeley Hills, man.