Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

FGG Symposium, Continued

I got up at 6:00, on Friday, and rode over to the Venue to meet everyone for the free- breakfast ride to the local food co-op. After some initial confusion, probably due to the fact that no one had yet had coffee, we finally got rolling, in 3 or 4 large groups, and a few smaller groups to straggle in later.

A few of our bikes at the food co-op.

As we ate our sticks and twigs (by this time, I was growing weary of organic breakfast food..gimme some bacon, man!) we all discussed strategy for the upcoming hillclimb. Hearing all of the talk of special gearing, lightweight wheels brought just for the hillclimb, etc., I felt a little like Lane Meyer (in the movie, Better Off Dead). My plan was to go uphill, as fast as I could. If the hill got steeper, I would pedal harder.

I was really hoping I would make it to the top without barfing up a bran muffin.

A couple of guys showed up on a Huffy tandem. I have one just like it in the shed, waiting to be revived.
Theirs is actually set up as a fixed-gear. I'm not sure I would want to ride one as a fixed, since it's 45 years old and made from the finest, most flexible water pipe available in its day. I did like the paint job, which appeared to be original.

So, after breakfast, I hooked up with a couple of guys and rode over to the hillclimb site and waited for it to start. As I waited, and looked up the part of the hill you can see from the start line, I started to get a little nervous. So, when the sign-up guy showed up, I got in line quick (before I could change my mind) and got start number 4.

I was happy I had done this, when it was all over, and I found out 72 riders had signed up, leaving at one-minute intervals. I wouldn't have enjoyed standing around for over an hour, waiting to go.

The first three riders took off, then it was my turn. The starter held me upright as the timekeeper counted down. Then, I was off, out of the saddle and sprinting. I figured I'd get a good spin going, then sit down and grind up the hill.


I stood for the whole climb, breathing my lungs in and out like a fireplace bellows, and trailing flames out of my quads. I passed the girl who had left a minute in front of me, and then I could see the top of the hill. I was swinging the bike back and forth beneath me, in a slow-motion version of a sprint, and cranking as hard as I could. I crossed the finish line in 4 minutes, 11.51 seconds.

The Hill, from the top

I had heard that 4 minutes was respectable, so I was happy with my time. The overall winner's time was 2:49 (on the second trip up the hill-the top five finishers had a head to head sprint for the win).

Tracy won the women's division, and got a cool set of brown Surly hubs. I'm looking forward to building some cool wheels up for her.

Later, at the bottom of the hill, I just couldn't stand it any more and announced to the crowd that I was going in search of meat for lunch. Tyler Lalley said he knew just the place, so we rode to the Chef's In and had some sandwiches. Pastrami and Swiss Cheese...mmmm!

After lunch, we went to City Bikes and got Tyler's cleat fixed (the "nut" on the inside of the shoe had broken), and got to pet the biggest damn dog I've ever seen. It was a Newfoundland whose head sat at the level of my belt when he stood up. I was petting him and got his leg kicking.

It was pretty hilarious. He looked like a drunk horse, with his eyes rolled back in his head. Made me think of Lee Marvin's horse in Cat Ballou.

I sat out the "Sprint Race" (criterium), since it was run on the loop road around the venue. I thought the course looked a little sketchy.

I was right. (We had just poured Hydrogen Peroxide on his scrapes).

Later that evening, at Friday Night Live (one Friday, each summer month, TC closes the main drag to traffic and they have bands playing, vendors set up ,etc.), we held the Track Stand competition. One minute track-standing with two hands, then one minute with one hand, then no hands until only one competitor is left.

We had 9 heats of 5 riders, each, and the local high school football announcer as the MC. I won the first heat, but got knocked out in the first semi-final round.

Steve Lambert and I were the last two left in the first heat.

The eventual winner, in the green shirt.

After the track-standing and dinner, we all went to the Bicycle Film Festival, at the Inside Out Gallery. Watched some films, did some schmoozing, then headed home. Thanks to some helpful locals pointing me to a shortcut, my 20 minute ride back to the motel ended up taking an hour and a half. I got to bed at about 2:00 AM, not really looking forward to getting up and doing the century ride.

Wow, this is getting long. I'll finish up, next time.



At 5:38 PM , Blogger katina said...

ha, well, i still like reading about your rides...I'm just here, sitting at home, waiting until they (they being work people) call me to tell me to get my ass to work because it's raining...stupid Tropical Depression Erin...and next week I get to deal with Dean...woo!


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