Tag Archives: Ohio

The carrot

A few days before I started this tour a friend called me from a Midwest city. He told me he was gonna have his race and it would pay more to the winner than last time.

I was glad to hear this because I won the race last time. The last time it happened was two years ago but it was supposed to be yearly thing. Going back one year he’d said it was going to happen but in the days leading up he canceled.

As I rode away from NY I was already in a slight, faint hurry to get back. To get back in time to grab my race bike and bus to that Midwest city.
I had more worry than hurry though.
I knew there could be a repeat of last year, say it is so. But when the time comes there is no go.
That would have been worst case. Rush around enjoying this tour a bit less than I could and then what I rushed for was nothing in the end.
Of course there was a best case. Find a smooth way to get to the race after enjoying the tour as much as I could. And then the race and prize is real. Plus a win if at all possible.
I had days where I felt worry about not knowing how to predict what really was no better than a coin flip.
Some days I barely thought about it. But really I only took one full, non weather forced rest day. And that was with a reason. There were some half days.
Anyway. I got so lucky. Even getting doored and how much that cost me in damage costs and time from crippling my top speed. I was lucky. I got to what might be the best city between NYC and the Canadian boarder north and caught a cheap ride to NYC. Grabbed my race bike like I imagined. Traveled to the race. But that was only the easy part, now I had to win. Other wise I was just spending money to hang out and delaying my trip.
Since I’m not always the fastest, i rely on making less mistakes than my competitors. So the last thing I want in an open streets, chose your route, check point race is some one faster than me following me and mimicking my decisions and route to just out sprint me at the end.
But this time the race was different. No clues before hand. Except for the hour before the start. The 11 checkpoints were disclosed less than an hour before the go. Not much time to make sure my route was not only the smartest but one I could do without being followed.
I made a plan for my first 3 CP’s leaving the 4th as a possible last or keep it 4th. As a way to break off a copy cat if needed.
At the start I was the only one in road shoes. Brand new ones at that. After I get clipped in I’m gone. Most of the other rider, all fixed and breakless, were in street shoes and running toe-clips and straps.
Lined up on one side of the courthouse square and all our bikes laying on the edge of a stage 50feet away we edged closer as we heard the 3 2 1 GO!
I ran, we all did but as I stopped to pull my bike down I slipped and fell on the smooth tile. Pulling my bike down on top of myself. I was the first one to crash.
I got up quick and was stepping in my chosen direction cutting through the madness. And as I hopped on I felt alone. I clipped a shoe in and heard nothing else close to me. I was in the street a second or two later. I’d made sure the road was clear for me to go then I looked back and I was alone. Not one person followed me. There were not a big number of racers, only a few really but I’m sure they all knew I’d won the last time and in my mind the chances of being able to ride solo off the start were about none.

But there I was around the first corner and looking back a block later and not a soul. Two blocks and still the same. So now it’s just a matter of not stopping and not messing up the route I planed.

I was nervous because there were some hills and I was not hitting them crazy fast. Maybe I was losing time.

After I did my fourth check point which was on the top of a 6 level parking structure, I realized my over all route would be much shorter if I saved it for my last. Was that a mistake?

I had a chrono running on my watch but I never looked at it except at the 27 min mark. And I was not quite half way finished. The good thing was even though I saw other racers I never got held up at CP’s because of any.
I was doing the 9th of 11 and it was a further out spot. A friend signing nagged me about being slow but his tone changed when I told him “only 2 left”.
And those two were in a near straight line along my way to the finish.
At my 10th I had not scouted it prior and unnecessarily jumped a fence to get to the center of the running track where the CP was. Running out to the track infield I felt super slow and the run back and jumping a 5 foot fence. Not all that smooth.
At the last CP I was super worried about being on the wire of not making 1st place, there was nothing for second, (as the organizer says, second place is first loser) all I remember is a crowd of people (non-racers) to navigate to get signed. One guy I didn’t bother to look at or acknowledge was saying “that’s one serious bike” over and over till I was gone.
After 11 signatures I ripped just a few blocks, not more than eight blocks to the finish and just in that time it started to rain but no slowing down, I was trying to find it to speed up. By this point I had my legs dialed, my balance and my route were not even a thought anymore. I could see the road and any on oncoming traffic in my mind. The only thing in my brain was “speed up, go faster”.

All those days on the road gave me plenty of time to think. And in my last race. The Race Against Time in NYC a month before my tour started I raced against a friendly rival and lost to him because on the last few blocks I had looked back and seen no one so I’d let myself just ride it in. But as I approached the finish he swung around the corner just a second in front of me.
Had I not let myself scrub on the last blocks into the finish I’d have had him. Lessons.

Although, the race is not always won like that. So as I was burning the last few blocks it was not in my mind.

One last turn

One last block

I don’t even drop my bike, I ride right in the front door of the bar. “anyone else make it in first?”.

And there I was. All alone. The organizer was not even there. He had to relieve a CP worker so he didn’t make to the finish until after second an third arrived.

The next racer to show up said he’d given up because he still had 3 CP’s to get when his girlfriend texted him “doug won”.

The next racer to finish was over 20 min behind me.

I caught the carrot I’d been chasing all around Canada. Now I can go back to ny and swap my busted front wheel for a good one off my pile of bike parts, get on a train back to VT and continue my tour.

After five days in my home town and sitting on a bus to ny as I type this. The whole thing feels like it was easy.
I know it stressed me out a bunch at times. I’m lucky. I ended up in the best case.


Days 52-60 VT, NY, OH, NY, VT

Wed 9/21/11. Day 52
Rest day, bus and train to NYC.
Dropped bike off at a acquaintances apt. Grab busted front wheel and a few clothes. Amtrak to Penn station.
A girl named Diamond who has Wayne as her ringtone sat near me.
9 hours on a bus and train. The train was nicer.
Once in the city I took another train to BMW to grab my other bike and hang with Ken. Waiting for me were a new pair of Bontrager RXL Road shoes thanks to a friend at Trek Bicycles.
After that I went straight to a good pizza spot. Then met up with JT, Crihs and Dwain. They were getting ready to go to Boston for the East Coast Messenger Stage Race.
From there I rode to Crown Heights to see Matt and Bayla and Allison too. Slept on the living room floor.

Thur 9/22/11. Day 53
Errands in Brooklyn. Call for rain, but none.
Pick up things from storage.
Visit Outlier to size down into new pants and shorts.
Brooklyn Machine Works to pick up and deliver tubing owed to Horse Cycles.
Pancakes and coffee and donuts at Pies N Thighs.
Dropped off film rolls for processing.
Back to BMW to install new pedal cleats onto new Bontrager RXL Road shoes.
Lunch was pizza.
Dinner was pizza.
I really miss NY pizza.
Downtown to return apt keys to Matt.
Saw Wall St protest march on B’way.
Chatted with Tim and his bro at The Pit.
Went to Canal St to get on Chinatown bus to Dayton, OH.
Brought the iPod, forgot the headphones.

Fri 9/23/11. Day 54
10 and a half hours later I’m in Dayton before 9am and see the rain and the “all day” forecast.
About 5pm I rode to Dayton.
Had coffee. Ate a big pasta dinner. Played ping pong. Twords.

Sat 9/24/11 Day 55
Woke up early. 9am. Ate breakfast. Went back to sleep. Woke up at 1:30.
Coffee shop. Rode around the city to look at roads with Lee.
Bought map. Ate leftover pasta.
Went to race start. Paid $25. Got check points. Pre-rode some and met at 8pm for the race start.
Fell in my new shoes because of the tiles. I went one way and all other racers went another. Good for me. Rode to 11 spots and then finish in 52 min and second was over 20 later. I won. And the prize was a good pay off. Then just hung out with everyone. Till late.


Sun 9/25/11 Day 56
Thought there might be pol0 but just hung out and went to the Octoberfest by the Dayton Art Institute. Was there for a while. After ate dinner at Thai Nine with Dana, Brett, Jenell, Maggie.
After went to Century. And then it rained on my way back to where I was staying. Not a fun ride home.


Mon 9/26/11 Day 57
Didn’t do much more than eat, ride around the east side w camera, and drink coffee. At night I watched a movie with the Barkers.


Tue 9/27/11 Day 58
Chilled at Press drinking coffee for the first part of the day. A 18 mile ride to see the family in the afternoon.
Dinner with mom at her favorite Mexican restaurant.
After we picked up my things so she could drop me off at the bus but in the time in-between we went to look at the house I grew up in. Then we picked up my brother from work and visited his house to see his baby daughter.
Got on the bus around 11pm.

Wed 9/28/11 day 59
Woke up early in the morning because the driver was doing some strange things. Tried to get as much sleep as possible because I knew I’d be up all day and maybe out late and in less than 24 hours I’d be getting on a train to VT.
Ate breakfast at pies n thighs made the trip to get the replacement wheel. Of course I forgot to transfer the computer magnet so now I need to figure that out so I can still tally my mileage. Back to BMW to drop off my track bike. And walked to meet chris and go to a dinner at robertas. After I went to a sports bar and watched baseball with them. We stayed out a little late but I slept on the couch of his girlfriend after we all called it a night. It was fun. I was missing being around friends in NYC.


Thurs 9/29/11 day 60
I had set an alarm but it was set on vibrated only so I woke up 30 min late. Luck I only took off my shoes before bed because that’s all I did when I woke up. Shoes on, grab bags, out the door.
Rushed to train. Transfer to uptown train. Find Amtrak inside Penn Station. Made it just barely.
Slept some on the ride but watched out the window some too. Nice to have outlets for each seat. iPod the whole way. Remember waking up to a French language track. FF and back to sleep.
Port Kent, NY.
Ferry for $5.10 to Burlington.
Went to cafe. wifi. Lined up possible place to crash.
Realized I’d only ate a few snack things, no real food. And 3 coffees and no other beverages up to 6:45 when I left the cafe. It was raining now.
Walked to bar I was maybe going to maybe meet other pol0 players.
On the way spent $6 on a big plate of Chinese food.
At bar met a friendly guy, David. Not the one I was there to meet but still he was trying his best to find me a place to crash. After a bit was walking into bar next door and Rachel stood in front of me and said you must be doug.
Chilled for a bit and was offered a safe place to crash.
Tomorrow I’ll get this straight wheel on my bike and not have to carry bags in my hands.
Late now. Tired.