Sh … It Happens
If you read my last column then you know that things don’t always go as planned for me, and sometimes that is not a bad thing. My daughter, Mia, plays traveling fall softball and I am a coach. We were supposed to have a tournament this past weekend; all weekend long. These are fun weekends and the team is a fantastic group of girls, but these are 2-day events and completely dominate my weekend. Well, as Fate’s gnarled and twisted hand would have it, our tournament was cancelled. You know what that means. Daddy gets to go play in the dirt – race.
Santa Rosa Cup Race #1. Shit does indeed happen. I entitled this column mid week upon finding out that our softball tourney was cancelled. I had no idea what was in store for me. My son, Maxwell, raced first and managed to eke out a 4th place finish in the junior 10-14 race. Nicely done, son. And then it was my turn. I was feeling good, rested and ready. I finagled myself a front row start and hit the first turn in about 5th place. Not ideal mind you but in the front group. The pace was fast and the course was flat and the best places to make up ground would be by making smooth turns and riding the shortest, fastest route possible. We hit the chicane section and my rear wheel started washing out all over the place. Flat? Slow leak? Too little tire pressure? Yes, yes and yes. Let me explain. After pre riding the course I had decided wrongly that less pressure was better. While letting some air out of my rear tubular I noticed that the valve stem had a nice constant leak; probably due to the sealant all up in there, and then while racing I did indeed pick up an unwanted traveler – the dreaded NorCal goathead. If you had never had the pleasure of encountering the NorCal goat head, you are one lucky S.O.B. Fuck. Good thing I actually pumped up and set my extra set of wheels, but instead of dropping them off at the pits I stupidly left them in the bed of my truck which was parked alongside the fast opening straight. So there I was in the parking lot … during a race. Ninety seconds later I was in last place with a back up rear wheel with not enough pressure in it but, and there is always a but, I was sans goat head. So I dug. And dug. I picked off a few people like that cat that lost his crank and that guy that stopped to do some crank and that crank that stopped to crank his, well, crank and finished all tucked in nicely at the back of the pack. Not my best showing. What I can tell you is this, I felt pretty good for finishing near dead last and my lap times actually got faster, so I can with some assurance say all was not lost until … I crossed the finish line. I sat up and slowed dramatically and was heading off course to the right, to my vehicle, for a beer, when this big ole dude with some handlebar stache action decided to try to pass between me and the curb on the right without a word of caution, a soft caress to my derriere, nothing, and down I went. Hard. Shook up but not hurt. When I heard the cat on the PA go, ‘whoa, you alright, dude?’ and my son yell, ‘that’s my dad’ I knew it was time to get up. And, yes, I am alright. And the guy who took me out apologized and offered up his moustache to dab up the blood that had begun to pool on the pavement so I could not be mad at him. Right? Wait. I lost my train of thought. Oh, yeah. So, even though I flatted, crashed and sucked, I did notice that my fitness is getting better and my fastness (not sure that is a word) is getting fastness-er-ish? Yeah, I think you get me. Basically what I am trying to say is despite a flat, a crash and a shitty placing all was not lost and even I can see that through all the shitiness that I was involved in. I mean I did get to race and bask in the glory of race day activity. I mean a day at the races is better than a day, well, not at the races.
So, like I said, my schedule is never set in stone. I thought there was no way in hell I was going to get to race this weekend – if one can call my multiple mishap of a day racing – but I did. I got some good training out of it and realized that despite finishing near the rear I am actually sort of fit. Sort of. And I did get to watch my 12 year old son suffer to a fourth place finish, and watch my comrade and teammate, Jeff Anderson, work his way to a 2nd place finish in his race. All was not lost … unless you were me. Na, just kidding. Our last softball tournament is next weekend. And my son’s last water polo tournament is … yup, next weekend. So after that it is full speed ahead with the ‘cross racing. I am looking forward to it. And like I said, a day at the races is better than the best day at, well, you fill in the blank.