My first bike race was in 1966. I was on the cross-country running team at my high school and we decided it would be fun to do a bike race. I think there were 10 or 15 of us. I finished 3rd. I was ahead of lot of the faster runners. That was when I became a true cyclist. I have been doing this along time is the point. The last few years I have concentrated on cross. It is short, sweet, lots of competition and fun. When I got to the oldest age group (that was 45 +) I was one of the fastest racers in the group. Mark Schwyhart and I battled it for a few years. Then came a few years when I raced by myself, behind the fastest and ahead of the slower (I guess that pretty well explains everyone). Last year, and even more this year it has been different. We still have a couple of really fast guys in the group, Steve Yenne and John Wilson, but then there are a group of 10 or so that stay together for a long time. This is what is different for me. Learning how to attack, surge pass and be ahead at the corners, take advantage of mistakes etc. At Rainier I learned the hard way. Two guys passed me at the finish line. I did not finish the job when I had the chance. That was a learning experience. This last weekend I just kept attacking. It took me all the way to finish line to know I had my place. I was 4th on Saturday and 5th on Sunday, both good races. I have some new confidence to go harder, attack when the others seem not ready. It will be a challenge at every race to be in the top 5, with the goal to do even better. We will see how it goes. It is more fun to race with stronger riders close. The best thing is we are all friends and like to see each other do well and improve. Three more cross crusades to go. How good is that.
Yes these photos are taken at the same race. On the left is Mike Schindler from our Sunnyside Team and on the right is the "kiddie race" Both in Rainier, both photos of kids going hard. That one kid is on a skuut type bike, it has no pedals. He is keeping up with the pedal bike no problem though. I am not sure if anyone keeps track who wins or not, from my perspective I don't think the concept of winning or loosing isn't really on the minds of these kids. They are just going hard, with a lot of adults running around and yelling. Kind of like the adult race really. In the mens "A"race there are maybe 5 guys who start who really have a chance at winning, the rest well they go hard for an hour in order to finish in the top 10, 20 maybe not last. They are all faster than me, but winning isn't really the reason they are there. They are there to do there best.
That brings me to me. I was 7th last week. Not a stellar race for me if you look at the placing. I have done better for sure. However it was a great race for me anyway. I had a slow start. No somebody did not crash me out, no my chain did not come off, no I did not get stuck in traffic. My legs said enough is enough and they went on strike. I must of been close to 15th or 20th when we left the pavement. After one lap I was ready to throw in the towel. I don't through in towels though. Third lap I was back in the top 10 4th lap I was 5th, 5th lap I was catching 4th, I was giving it everything I had,"Gie it lauldie", in Scots. I then got passed by two friends with 100 meters to go, back to 7th it was. I don't like getting passed at the finish, but still I managed to be competitive and almost get to my best finish of the year. Being in the 50+ category brings with it humility and understanding. I think we need to think more like the kids in the kiddie race. Go out there, go hard, have fun and let a bunch of adults run around and yell at us. Maybe when I get older they will have a new category for us. We would start with the kids. Some of us would be on walkers or skuuts, some would have real bikes, a bunch of adults would still be yelling and we would be tired when we were done. No telling what the future will bring.
Today in Wilsonville I raced my 100th (aprox) Cross Crusade race. I am counting some races that were not technically part of the Cross Crusade series. These would be Nationals in Portland, and the GP races. For me they are all Cross Crusade races because of the feeling. It may have something to do with Brad Ross and crew. Something about bike racing being fun, and we are all friends out there. Today was not my best race. I had a slow start and immediately lost track of what place I was in. I was battling with Ron Strasser (the nicest man in bike racing), when he flatted. Now I had no idea what was going to motivate me. I was really tired of passing these strong Master B racers who couldn't go around corners. They are hard to pass, believe me. I buckled down and did my last two laps trying to pass as many as I could. I finished and I was asked How did you do Don?. I don't know, I said. I really had no idea what place I finished. Then someone said you must of been top 5 maybe 3rd or 4th. I thought cool. If I could have what I thought was a bad race and be in the top 5 I would be well chuffed (Scottish for pleased).
I looked at my result but no not top 5 but 39th. Well that was a mistake for sure. I went and found the appropriate official (Candy Murray) who I have know since before time or at least since 1980. She says "Don the problem is there are TOO MANY RACERS". I am thinking whose fault is that. Well it is Candy's fault, and Mike's fault and all the members of OBRA's fault. It is Brad's fault it is my fault. What business do I have racing. Isn't 100 races enough. Maybe I could stay home and leave room for the younger riders. Here we were in some unfinished housing development in Wilsonville, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and there are over 1000 of us riding around some gravel pits, crummy grass tracks,and bumpy dirt hills. The reason there are too many of us is because we all belong to this organization that thinks bike racing is fun. How cool is that , that there are too many of us. There were too many in my race. I had to start passing the slower group in front of me in 1/2 a lap. Should I complain, no I should rejoice. I do rejoice. The more I pass the more racers are having fun.
Candy will fix my problem tomorrow. I do not worry. If it was a USA cycling race I doubt it would ever be fixed. Candy will spend the time tomorrow looking at the lap sheets see I went through 6 times and put my name in either 3rd or 4th. She won't be happy not having the results out at 6:30 on race day, but she will spend the time to get it right. I won't have to worry. Our officials take care of the riders. The ones that pay them. They are working for us to make sure we have a fair race, a safe race and a fun race. Because of that I will return next week and race # 101. Lets continue to have Too many racers. Maybe the results won't be perfect, maybe we won't have time to preride the course, but we will see more smiling faces, and as long as we all remember that this is for fun we will figure it out. See you next week.
PS Candy got my results corrected at 9:15 pm on the day of the race. Awesome!
I lost my camera yesterday so I have no photo today. Kind of a bummer. I use the camera to come up with a subject to blog about. I guess I am doing that now, lack of camera is my subject.
Yesterday was a classic cyclo-cross day. Rain, cool temps and lots of friends. There were over 1200 racers in Portland yesterday. Lots of Sunnyside kit around.
We have a new member of our team. His name in Matt Fox. He moved over here this fall to teach computer technology courses at Bend High. His girlfriend, Ruth, moved over last year to teach at Pilot Butte Middle School. Both are thrilled to be living on the Sunnyside of the mountains.
Matt joined our team from observation. He has been doing cyclo-cross for a few years now. He noticed this team from Bend, with bright yellow kit, that attended most of the cross races. That wasn't all he noticed though. Unlike some teams it looked to him that we were all friends. In fact we are . We try to car pool together, warm up together. We are team. I explained to Matt that these were not just friends of Sunnyside Sports. The team is run by team members, not by me or anyone else that works at Sunnyside Sports.
It is great to have a new team member who appreciates what we are.
We have another new team member also. Her name is Serena Bishop. Yesterday she was busy running the Portland Marathon. Her time was 3 hours and 15 minutes. Pretty impressive.
Yesterday was also the return of our women. There were four out there racing and Serena came out to watch (after her Marathon). Two of our teammates are out for the season. Joanne is pregnant, and Veronica is recovering from ankle surgery. They will be back.
I hope to find my camera, but if I don't I will have to get a new one. I like to have a photo to my mind working.
Hi, I am Don Leet an owner of Sunnyside Sports. I love cyclo cross racing, mountain and road riding and Nordic Skiing. I also love my sweetheart for over 35 years, Kathy. I started doing a blog because Susan (one of my business partners) told me to. Now I do it because I like to. Please enjoy.