Tour de Nez/Nevada City Highlights (According to Me)

The Tour de Nez/Nevada City combo provided me with more blogfodder than I could have possibly dreamed, but an impending research presentation is severely limiting my ability to write everything down. I’ll try to do some more shit talking later in the week, but for now, I just want to throw out a few highlights from the weekend.

Highlight #1: Let’s Not Be Ridiculous

The number one highlight of the weekend is so highly ranked only because it’s personally gratifying in all of it’s absurdity. Following Saturday’s Northstar Circuit race, in which I managed not to get dropped by the skeleton people, I made a feeble attempt at casual banter with Bissell Professional Paul Mach. Rather than smiling and offering an autograph like I expected, Paul just sneered and said, “I saw you chasing down all my moves out there.” He even went so far as to blog about it, though he fails to mention me by name. Again during the neutral lap at yesterday’s Nevada City Classic, Paul looked at me and chided, “Just don’t chase down all my attacks this time.”

Um. I’m flattered, really…but let’s be rational about these allegations.

This is a rough approximation of the course profile for the Northstar Circuit Race (and it works as a pretty good surrogate for the Nevada City course, as well).

This is Paul Mach in his natural habitat (he’s on the left, in case you aren’t familiar with his 2010 ToC facial hair or the colors of the ToC KOM jersey):

It is truly laughable to think that I could chase down Mr. Mach once on a hilly course, much less do so repeatedly. The most likely explanation is that he saw me getting gapped off as he was attacking, and mistook it for a chase; regardless, he’s got the wrong guy.

It’s also possible that he’s still bitter about this, three years later:

You know what? Forget about all of my “I’m not a climber,” self-deprecating comments; if you subscribe to the Transitive Property of Cycling Talent (which you should, ’cause it’s true), then the podium photograph above indicates that I’m talented enough to race off the front of the Tour of California, but not quite good enough to place 11th at USPro Nationals. Are there any Pro teams out there looking for a mid-season addition? (No, Adam Carr, I won’t join Adageo; I mean real Pro teams.)

Highlight #2: Megan Guarnier in General

In particular, it was awesome to watch Guarnier — who I would not have labeled “a climber” until recently — going blow for blow with mountain bike phenom Katerina Nash on the hilly Nevada City Course.

(From Dale Tapley’s Flickr Page)

Nash may have crossed the line first, but Guarnier was riding an 80mm deep rear wheel during the race, so she actually won the event by virtue of style points.

Highlight #3: What Are They Feeding Those Juniors Nowadays?

I love heckling at bike races, but I only feel comfortable heckling Juniors and women (because they’re less likely to kick my ass than, say, grouchy Masters racers). On Sunday, I parked myself near the top of the Nevada City climb during the Juniors race and readied myself for some heckling of the rapidly-reproducing Specialized Junior team. It takes me a while to get my heckling voice warmed up, and before I managed to scream more than five demeaning comments at kids nearly half my age, David Benkoski (Specialized) rolled off the course and dropped his bike right in front of me.

I couldn’t believe my luck: my favorite sixteen-year-old punching bag had just dropped out of the race before my very eyes! It was a gift from the heckling gods! However, David must have sensed my intentions, because he pointed immediately at his crank arm.

Yeah, that’s right, he broke his crank arm on the Nevada City climb, a feat deserving of praise, not heckling. In fact, the breaking of a crank arm during a race is far better than winning. David had better post the power data on the internet somewhere, because I’d love to see the spike that caused such massive equipment failure. On the bright side, this failure is physical proof that not every Specialized rider has a motor in his bottom bracket, but it does raise the question: what is Larry Nolan feeding these kids?

If I may be serious for one moment, I’d like to say that the Specialized team rode a great race. David was sitting pretty in the lead group with two of his teamates prior to his crank arm fiasco, and Eamon Lucas soloed to victory in grand style.

Highlight #4: This Kind of Thing Happened.

The technical prologue made all kinds of weird things happen…like sprinters wearing aero helmets and riding in an aero tuck. Exhibit A: Randy Bramblett, shown above, looking like a grumpy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

Highlight #5: This Also Happened.

Yahoo? has the best team colors ever, highlighted here by this rider’s team-issue plaid shorts (and ballerina pose).

Can you guess who the rider is? I’ll give you a hint: he’s a lot like Max Jenkins, but hasn’t made a fan page for himself on Facebook. Yet.

OK. That’s it for now. Hopefully I’ll get around to more blogging later, so check back. If you don’t hear from me in a few days, you should assume that all this smack talk has gotten me killed..

11 responses to “Tour de Nez/Nevada City Highlights (According to Me)

  1. Broken crank arm! Wicked cool! Where is my vuvuzela…

  2. Always a great read! Keep’m coming!
    From the land of Paul, and
    a few of the Yahoo Boy’z… Broken Crank
    Arm “IS” pretty cool… : (

  3. This angry teenage mutant ninja turtle will crush u with his left calf.

  4. The elevation, the heat… Gasping for air, desperately dehydrated, my deepest anguish is reborn through limitless pain.

  5. Good read honk. Can’t wait to see you and give you a ham Shank.

  6. Wait, wait, wait… you DO heckle the Masters races, I’ve heard it!

  7. Naked Mole Rat

    Funny stuff. Made my morning. Good luck with the presentation. Real grad students actually have to do “stuff” I guess……

  8. two heckles in a row… wow, I am getting famous

  9. I award you 50 gold stars.

  10. I think this is my favorite blog ever. Good job Rand, glad we got to kick it in Tahoe.

  11. Thanks for the comments everyone, particularly the new commenters. I live and die by the comments on my blog. I actually transcribe them into my diary nightly.

    None of you are safe from ridicule. Keep that in mind.

    Max: I’m still not gonna join your fan page. I might make a joint Max Jenkins/Roman Kilun page though. I’d join that.

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