188: King Kong Classic

The Super Bowl happened today. However, for us it happened at around 9am this morning instead of the traditional whatever time the Super Bowl is. Yeah, sure it changed from the King Kong Klassic to Classic. Maybe, instead of complaining that it is nod towards white supremacy we all get together and say from now on three "K's" together actually means this ride? Just a thought. (Tracko for the full ride info)

Whatever the name, or the case, today was the second time this weekend that I thought to myself "I need to get a coach."

The first was Saturday when I went on a ride that was supposed to be a distance day. Before I knew it we were goaded into sprinting around Sauvies Island with the HPC (read - real racers) team. Good guys, that crew, and I have to say that I am a big fan of their kit update. More black = good. It was daunting to be sprinting next to these guys and then I think to myself, "why the hell am I sprinting next to these guys?" I know for a fact that KV has been training in both LA and Hawaii - which is why he is looking so fucking fit and riding away from everyone.

So, that was moment one.

Ladies and Gents - Ira Ryan

Moment two happened sometime today. Cannot really remember if it was when the group took off and I decided that I could more easily become a hardman by waiting a beat or two and then chasing on (not the way to do it.) Or when I flatted on the gravel section (thanks Matt for waiting and good eye on the salamander) changed the flat and then rode on propelled strictly by the landscape and conversation rather than the fuel that competition itself provides.

But then, and I think this was also sometime today, I realized that I would not get to think about cycling as much if I had a coach. I would think about the science surrounding cycling and training. And really, when it comes down to it, I just need to be riding my bike more.

Yes, it is that time of year. Let the insecurities creep in and then squash them with training. Or get out with your friends and have a good time.

So, in the span of about four minutes I convinced myself that I needed a coach and reconfirmed what I already knew to be true. That I don't. Or, not that I don't but that I don't really want one.

What I do have are good teammates. Teammates like Matt who was willing to wait for me. And at the same time more than willing to waive me back into the group when we ran into them again. At which point it was lucky for me I had Joe Staples along to keep me motivated. On the last run in to the finish we were both hanging on for dear life (I might be projecting my own feelings of shittyness on him because he looked much more fresh) yet I was more apt to not test the elastic qualities of the back end of the group just knowing that the small group I was with contained a teammate. And I guess that means something.

Mr. Joe Staples

This is why I like this King Kong Classic style of ride/race/fun jam. If you want to go hard. Then by all means, go for it. And if you want it to be less about the results and more about the ride, route, weather and more importantly camaraderie, well, then shit, this one is for you. And if while you're doing it you decide you need a coach, I can recommend a few really good ones.

But more importantly. If you are climbing up to the finish on the route and you see what looks to be salvation. A shining cross illuminating the field next to you. Back it off a little bit. Because, in all actuality, that is a telephone pole. And the people standing under it are more likely the people you road here with and not some sort of fucked up congregation. Just go with it.

But enough about my complaints. Can I just point out that we had a moto today. This is an act that I have decided, along with a competent driver ads a level of legitimacy to whatever sort of event that you are doing. A garage sale, ballet lesson, and even grocery shopping get to instantly be turned into a rock and roll music video starring you. And if it is on a bike ride that you are doing, everyone pays attention to the moto driver.

But this little guy, seen below was hanging out on the roadside with another orange guy. Matt spotted them after the flat fix. Is it the time of year for salamanders in Oregon? We spied another one, but he did not fair as well as these two, whom we moved closer to the edge. Take it easy little buddy.

We are all winners though are we not? However Matt Karre (who wrote a piece in the upcoming Embrocation Volume 5) and Doug Wilmes (who is just generally awesome) were the first two to cross a line that symbolized the ending of the ride. They would not say who did it first, so I am liking to think that they held hands as they rode across.

Notice the two different styles that we are dealing with here. I know, crap photos, sorry. On one hand we have a steel race bike complete with aluminum fenders. A wool jersey and knee warmers. The only thing he is missing is Ira Ryan's downtube shifters...On the other a full carbon nano-technologified whip complete with EDGE rimmed powertap wat-o-meter. No knee warmers.

At this point you might be asking yourself "But, Who's Right?" and I'll tell you. Both.

And in equal parts badass and weird I pulled up next to Doug during the ride and he said to me, in a not uncreepy voice I might add, "I wore something special for today." I mean that is enough for me, you do not even have to expand beyond that, I would believe anyone who would venture to tell me something like that on a ride. But he did go further. DW went so far as to unzip his vest and point out that he was wearing some sort of a feather corsage. Later he was quoted as saying this was in fact the reason that he won.

I am more inclined to think it is because he went Embro-only in a sea of knee warmers.