Tomorrow's my birthday but I'm not quite ready for the pasture yet. Making good on a promise made many months ago, I took my bike out to Portland International Raceway for the Monday night novice women's race.
My goals were to stay upright, and to not throw up and I achieved them both.
I had no idea what kind of speed I could maintain, being much more out of shape than the last (and only other) time I tried this about three years ago. I kept up with the pack for about two laps and then started to fade. This turns out to be a good thing, since it wasn't long after that I came upon about four riders who had crashed on a turn. Most of them were already up, but Heather was on the ground moaning. It looked like she landed on her hip, and then Penny landed on her. Not good.
I stopped and we helped get her off the track. Then I rode with one of the Ironclad riders, who's leg was swelling into something epic and horrible-looking, back to the start, where she could see the medic. I had heard her talking to the medic earlier and saying something like, "I hope not to see you again." Total jinx.
Penny decided that's it for her racing career. She said she saw her summer "flash before her eyes," of not being able to ride and it wasn't worth the risk. I can't say I blame her. I will go back, but I have a tendency to drift towards the back of the back to avoid just such mishaps. I suppose surging to the front would also be a safe option, but that's not physically possible at this time. Maybe by the end of the summer...
Jess and her friend T came out to watch and took a couple of pictures. The weather at least, was perfect, cooling down from an 80 degree peak with cloud cover moving in. After my escorting duty was done, I kept riding until the women's race was over, which gave me a total of five laps, just one shy of the real race. I was happy to discover that I actually got faster as the race went on. I think I will do a longer warm up next time.
Tomorrow will be low-key as birthdays go, filled with catch up studying, drawing live nude girls in art class and dropping off ballots. But there will be Cold Stone. Can't let the day be totally boring (not that live nude girls is boring). But Jess did take me to the beach this past weekend where we had superb weather and the nicest hike I've been on in a while. Head on over to my Flickr page and check it out.