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Landon - I had planned to go with one bike and wheels, which would have been fine for the heats. Two bikes and a pit crew would have been absolutely necessary on Thursday with the gummy mud on the entire course. One guy I know tried - made it as far as the second pit on Lap 1. If your race was Friday, worse news: pressure washers were all frozen! Pit crews were carrying water from the spigot in buckets, and hand washing the gears/chain/wheels - just a mess.
I too offered to start at the back, as I couldn't make the heats - rule against anyone racing that hadn't done the heats was quoted and absolute. That is when I became an observer and went anyway. TC
1 year, 10 months ago on Happy to be Riding: A Column by Lee Waldman
Lee - I have enjoyed your articles over the past year or so, and I think we would have been in the same race in Louisville. A year ago I saw the same unique situation you did with a US Masters Worlds, and I would be the young kid in the bracket to boot. I was able to race twice the races and a ton more miles, in no small part due to the support of my wife, and thought I was peaking at just the right time. That's when life likes to throw the curve balls, and in my case, it was the unexpected death of a close friend, whose funeral was the day of the heats. So instead of driving and racing, I flew and watched. And I can tell you that the Masters events and the Elites a couple of days later provided quite an education as well as unrestricted fun. It just became a different kind of opportunity. So the training, with its own rewards, starts again in earnest, and I am glad you have some big goals already in place. Have a great season and thanks for your literary contributions! - Terry
I was there for the Masters and the Elites and I still turned to you guys everyday for post race coverage. Thanks for everything keystroke and picture!
1 year, 10 months ago on Cyclocross Magazine’s Team Reflects on the World Championships in Louisville
Saturday morning I awoke before 6 to head to the New England Regional races in Fitchburg. Even though I had loaded the car the night before, I was lethargic, thinking about the tragedy unfolding piecemeal in the news to my south. My usual psyche up with booming techno rattling the speakers in the car seemed inappropriate as I drove out. Instead, I put on NPR and wondered how anyone could stand the death of a child, how even those who were spared could cope with the loss of their friends and family. Despite the clear skies and the stark beauty of the area in winter, I just couldn't find the tempo. I parked next to a portion of the course, and began to get myself ready to ride.
It was soon after that something special happened. A yound kid, maybe seven years old, rolled on his bike across the nearly empty parking lot, his mom trailing a good distance behind. "How can I get over to the start of this bike race?" he asked. "Go to the sidewalk, follow it up to the first driveway, turn in there and you will see it", I replied. "Simple!" he said and repeated the instruction with a huge smile. "Come on Mom!" and he was off to the races. Later I would see him along the fence at the finish. When I waved I heard him tell Mom, "That's our guy!"
The lads at the front of my race had nothing to worry about from me. After a lap I wondered if I was in the right place, but I thought of that kid on the sidelines and kept going, slowly reeling in a few guys on each lap and finishing in a good spot.
I pray that I have made a difference in the lives of people around me, especially those younger than I. I know, as with that boy Saturday, that the person we see through the eyes of children is the one we want to be, the one we strive to become, the truest version of who we are.
2 years ago on The Hardest to Write: A Column by Lee Waldman