Good Guy Greg and I enjoyed some fine beverages after our first race of the day.
Sometime after Lunchbox’s race and the beginning of my single speed race, I turned into an asshole. I was in quite the foul mood during his race, even though he was making me laugh in his banana suit. You see, I noticed some shitty race tactics being emplyed by the fast racer children in his class and it pissed me off. They were cutting the course in several spots (which we had to keep blocking off), yelling at the smaller junior racers, and even running into them when they wouldn’t get out of the way.
Couple that with the fact that I was not looking forward to riding slowly through the woods and getting my ass handed to me on the fire road climb again made me angry all of a sudden. I ran out of the woods and quickly changed back into my dirty clothes, and I showed up a little late to the line. I squeezed in just before the ladies and took my spot at the back of the pack with the rest of the single speeders.
As I stood there waiting to go, the anger started growing. I decided that I wasn’t about to get mixed up with everyone pussyfooting through the sloppy trail and I was gonna do something about it. When they said go, I took off as fast as I could, spinning the shit outta my 32X18 gear. I kept pushing, and passed people left and right. When we got to the entrance of the singletrack, I pushed it even harder and made a move that put me in front of a few more riders. I still had to slow down a bit when we first got in, but I was up in the lead group for a change. Anger was my friend, it seemed.
Wow, I was actually “racing.” I rode as fast as I could (with people still riding brakes), and when we came out on the fire road I kept up the pace. Only one guy passed me this time (as opposed to most of the field like usual), and I kept plugging away to the start finish line. Lap one was in the books, and I headed around the parking lot to hit the woods again.
One guy passed me right before the single track, and he started riding his brakes when we got in the woods. Suddenly, I was getting way more pissed. This time, I decided to say something. The conversation went sorta like this:
Me: “Come on, I know you’re faster than this in the woods!”
Him: “The trail is too slippery!”
Wow. Did I really just hear that stupid shit? If I wasn’t in such a bad mood, I would’ve laughed my ass off. Instead, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make a move. I passed him (in a safe spot) and did my best to get away. When we got to the fire road, it took him a little while to catch back up.
“See, that’s how you ride through the woods.”
I got a little satisfaction from that, but I knew there was no way I could keep up that pace on the climbs for the rest of the race. When I got back in the woods, the same stuff kept happening again (with different people this time.) My anger was growing, so I pushed it whenever I could. It was really obvious that I was frustrated though.
Just past the start/finish line again, someone shot in front of me in the parking lot and beat me to the single track. They slowed way down, and I said, “Wow! Aren’t you glad you got in front of me?” Damn. I was out of control and I knew it. If I kept racing, something bad was gonna happen. I didn’t want to make an ass out of myself, but I sure as hell wasn’t gonna quit racing. It was at that point I decided that a change was necessary.
When I approached the start/finish line, I spotted my truck next to the pit area. I pulled over, got off my bike, and headed for it. One of the local team guys asked me if I needed anything (he seemed really concerned.) I said, “Yeah, I need a beer.” I grabbed an IPA out of my cooler, put it in my 29nSNGL coozie, and hopped back on my bike.
All of a sudden everything was better.
I took a few sips, and realized that I was gonna have a hard time drinking that shit in the woods. I wasn’t about to throw it out, so I pushed my luck riding one-handed on the sloppy course while drinking my happy juice. I was still pretty fast, and I was having way more fun. I managed to make it out of the woods and back to the fire road without losing any of my precious brew.
My anger was gone and I was feeling mighty fine. I rolled through the start/finish line and yelled, “Cheers!” and kept on going. When I finished that beer, I stuffed the empty can in my jersey pocket. Every lap after that was pretty damn awesome, and I didn’t give a shit whether I was going fast or not. I managed to get eight laps out there (after only “racing” two), and I was no longer angry. Shit, I didn’t even come in last.
Why didn’t I do this earlier in the series?
Being a Drunk Cyclist is pretty damn fun.
Beer and bicycles are the best medicine for whatever ails you.