Monday, September 8, 2008

La Mirada Cat 4 - Broken bones, two for a $1

06/21/08: Morning of the La Mirada hack fest. Dave Jacobson hops out of bed. The legs feel springy, loose. Not to mention very smooth and silky. A quick check in the mirror to admire the “roadie tan,” which more or less resembles a tasty muscle ice cream bar: half vanilla, half caramel.

A pre-race weigh in shows 189 pounds, a full 19 lbs over my hollow cheeked 2009 target weight. Too heavy, but hoping the engine will bring the horsepower need to get my chippendale’s butt over L’Alp de La Mirada. Whole wheat pancakes with blueberry topping and scrambled eggs, the cycling equivalent of 91 octane. Five bottles of water and I was ready to go.

Race checklist:
-Brain Bucket: check
-Fancy Italian shoes: check
-Precious Accelerade go go powder: check
-SC Velo duds: check
-Incycle socks: check

My trusty mechanic/self help advisor Rick tunes the steed up before leaving at Chino Incycle. He notices she is polished and wax-lubed. He reminds me that my System Six is like the horse Black Beauty. We are one, my bike and I. A scintillating blend of machinery and horsepower. An extension of Incycle’s will, a powerful weapon of the SC Velo kingdom, and more importantly a tool in which peckerheads and pretenders were pounded through superior wattage and fury.

1 pm. La Mirada. 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Taylor, Rene and I discuss tactics.

Me: So Taylor, what’s the strategy, how we gonna do this?

Taylor: (To Rene) “Get a load of fat boy over here, actually thinks he’s going to make it over the hill even once.”

Rene: “Yeah. This a circuit race. You know, it has hills.”

Taylor: “The strategy for you is to finish. If we can use your spent carcass later in the race we’ll let you know.”

(Doug Enters)

Doug: “Did I hear the word strategy? The strategy is the same for every race. Weed out the weak, drop the fatties, pound idiots. No pulling the field, no cokes during the race, no finishing in the bunch.”

Did I mention it was hot? Sitting at the start line I watched as my sweat dripped onto my top tube. The organizer was yelling at Taylor for crinkling his number or something but I was already in the zone. The whistle went off and we hit the hill for the first time. Doug is on the front, and took the field up at about 89 mph, I kid you not. I recovered on the downhill and again on the 2nd lap, Doug hammered it. Ok, it hurt the first time and now I’m thinking of excuses of why I got dropped at La Mirada.

Anyone got water, I'm dying here ferchrist!

On the third go-around I look over at Doug, who is fresh as a daisy, his heart rate around 38 as we crest the hill. Fortunately the pace eased off and I realized we were going up at about 16-17 mph. I started dropping into my 39/17 and spinning every time while many others mashed a 53/23. It saved my legs in the end.

I felt myself start to dehydrate halfway in. I knew I was not the only one suffering because as I looked around I could see the weary faces. 30 minutes in, asphalt gods took their flesh offerings. We were going downhill on the backside and about 20 riders back from the front someone went down. I still believe it’s one of the worst sounds in the world. The click clacking of spokes, the silvery splintering of wheels coming apart, a bright crumple of metal and carbon fiber, near naked skinny boys being thrown into masses of metal and pavement.

I was on the outside and moved left outside the cone barrier. A car came by and the mirror hit my left tricep, throwing me back into the cones. I swerved and missed the bodies and bikes. As I passed the crash was still happening and a tubular blew, which of course sounded like a bomb went off. The crash put forth about 28 riders, and I sprinted to latch back on. Behind me I could see guys trying to get back on but they never made it. I sat into the group and saw that there were still some very strong guys, the race was not over. I saw Rene had made it around the crash, but I did not see Taylor or Doug. I wanted to stop and see if they were alright on the next lap, it looked really bad. As we came around it was three laps to go (which is where they began the lap cards.)

The tweedies take the IE Sprinter out of his comfort zone.

Rene shot off the front and accelerated up the hill. I thought jeez I’m struggling how is this mutant going off the front? He looked very strong. We passed the crash and I saw both Doug and Taylor standing up looking at their bikes. I was relieved to see they were ok. The course did not suit me but I was pissed that they crashed so I got serious and moved up the bunch. Two laps to go and Rene is still off the front. Chester Gilmore from Platinum and Mike Gratz from CA Pools drilled it up the hill. Both are awesome climbers and we were moving up at about 22 mph. I was waaay in the red zone but I made it. The funny part about this was that I passed Rene who got reeled in with one to go and he asked me for water. I DON’T EVEN REMEMBER PASSING HIM OR HEARING MY NAME. I was that far into the pain cave.

One to go and we are flying up the hill again. Towards the top my breathing is very labored and I’m feeling the “drop.” A gap starts between me and the group. I thought, no way, not after all this suffering and my guys crashing. I dropped a cog, got out of the saddle and latched back on. The skinny boys who I have outsprinted in the past kept looking back at me. I knew they were trying to drop me and I felt a desultory satisfaction that they were unable to.

I threw it in the big chainring and recovered down the hill. The attacks came thick in the last stretch and two people got a 100m gap. I knew it was too early so I waited. We came around the last turn. The 28 riders had thinned to 15 from the pace. I moved up to the top five and as we began the hill I swung wide and charged up. I moved outside around one guy and began my sprint. I saw out of the corner of my eye two guys moving up slightly ahead of me. As the gradient steepened I felt my cadence drop and thought I was going to fall back. I thought I would get 5th or so but then I saw the other two guys fading back. Now was the time! I put my head down, mashed the pedals and came over the hill. I could feel my gap getting bigger and I sat up putting my hands high. At the bottom of the hill I almost passed out from the effort. I had a hard time breathing and walked my bike back up to the finish. Rene and Taylor were there and it was all smiles and hugs. I just leaned over my bike while Rene poured four bottles of water over me. I drank a couple of cold cokes and then began to feel ok.

I am glad everyone was ok, which is much more important than winning a bike race.. I wish Doug and Taylor had been at the finish, they would have done well. Hope you guys are healing up.

The final mix-up, 50m to go!
I'll take an outside line for $500, Mr. Trebek.

Sweet Jesus, I won! Can I throw up please?


Sam Simmons said...

Nice job Dave! Did not expect that story to end up like it did. And Chester rides for platinum performance. How much do you weigh now?

Dave Jacobson said...

Oops,,,,he does...I actually knew that I just confuse the two they look the same.

I am 184 right now, should be 170-175 by March or so....

Sam Simmons said...

im 155 and hopefully gonna get back down to 145, but then again i am not much of a sprinter.