There comes a day, living in Wisconsin, each year. The day can sneak up on you, but it is the most anticipated day of the year. Normally, you watch out the window, you look for signs of spring… You drive south to find it, you squirm around on frozen dirt, looking for just the right sunny side hill exposure. Sometimes you find it, sometimes you do not. It is elusive for sure. You generally wait and wait for much of the year. It just cannot get here soon enough. Normally it is some point in April, but it can be in May. It is a day to write home about. (I do normally, and it drives my friends and family crazy.)
I am specifically talking about the first local race of the year.
This year it happened the first weekend in May. And OMG, was it ever great.
Bob’s place in Adams county. It just might be the greatest piece of property anywhere. Bob might be on the outside the crustiest guy you have ever met. But, if you know him and get beyond the exterior, he probably is just about the softest guy ever on the inside. When you get to know him, you love him. Try it, get past the exterior and I promise you will not regret it.
This year I cannot do very many races. I am super bummed about that, but it is because of all the other things I have going on in my life. Oldest daughter with a new house, that I want to help more on. Youngest daughter moved to Boulder, so takes time to go and see her. Major travel requirements for work this year. Our place up north equals time away from racing (but it does equal time on my MTB and time on the motorcycle up there…). Etc… I am not really complaining, but damn do I love racing.
Because of that schedule, I am racing the +40A class wherever I can. It is more fun, because I am more comfortable at that speed (than I am the straight up A class) and I really like racing with guys my age.
Bob and the Madison Motorcycle Club laid out the most amazing fun flowing 20 minute loop that we have ever had there. They spent weeks working on it, so huge thanks out to those guys. As far as I can tell, everyone really enjoyed it.
There really is something about the first race. Everyone is just so jonesed to get out and race. Huge smiles all around, lots of warm greetings for everyone that you have not seen all winter. Wisconsin is a tough place to live all winter, as there are huge stretches that you just do not even go outside. (although not as long as Canada… sheesh, that place is the deep freeze.)
I mean, there were something like 130 bikes there, and there were 21 guys on the +40 row. 21!!! For us, that is a crazy good turnout. The reputation of Bob’s race, along with the first race of the spring.
I got a horrible start. I should be better at this by now. But, I really had to work just to get myself up to 5th by the end of the first lap. On the 2nd lap, I passed into 2nd and was chasing the leader down, and whop. Right into a rut that swallowed my bike up. I mean, what kind of an amateur falls right into a rut in the 2nd of the 2 muddy areas on the whole 20 minute loop. What a pud.
In fact, Bob and I were joking about “do not follow the rut…”, just before the race. Idiot. In fact, Bob said to me after the race, “why didn’t you win, you loser? That is it Joe, you cannot come back.” I do not think he was serious about that, at least I hope so.
I had to put the bike on it’s side, get my gloves soaking wet and completely muddy to get the bike out of the rut. Put it up on it’s back wheel, push it on to it’s side and then wrestle it out of the rut. I swear that at least 20 people went by me as I was fighting that thing out of the mud. Then of course I am completely wrecked after that, and I putz along on that lap at complete tourist pace forever. That lap was my slowest lap, by over 1 minute slower than my next slowest lap, I was stuck a looooong time.
I managed to get myself into riding mode though and worked my way back up to 2nd by the end of the day. I am sorted with that.
But now we are into spring full on. Funny how once these days get here, you really do not remember the long winter. Probably something about self preservation in there or maybe long division – one or the other.
Now that it is here, let’s ride!