Friday, April 27, 2007

racers who are doing better than i ever thought they would, volume #1

i’ve been around the iowa and midwest racing scene
for quite a while.
. . .
not as long as some, a lot longer than others, and with that,
I launch into yet another of my every now and again series.
THIS one featuring racers who are doing better than I ever thought they would. why not? everyone loves surprises, right? one of the nicest things about being around racing is seeing someone who jumps right out of your expectations of them, and makes you feel stupid for not recognizing their potential in the first place.
so tonight, let me introduce the first in a series of racers who are doing better than I ever thought they would, brent william . . .
hmm, what the hell IS his last name?
we just call him “pig.”
pig, one of three siblings [a brother and a sister],
claims to have learned to ride a bike in the mid-90s.
I suspect he’s kidding,
but I think he really didn’t learn to ride until just this past winter.
i mean, really ride. and this is what I’m talking about now . . .
back in the 90s [and even before that], the big red wall that was bike world had a racing team, but they were not particularly serious about things. they had big numbers, and could often dominate a race simply by blocking the road, from shoulder to center line, and then complaining to bruce pesch if anyone crossed it. but there were a lot of really nice guys who came from this group, many of whom still ride, and some of whom still race. scott wall is one of them. scott was the guy that bruce introduced me to in 1987 in ames.
he said, “kim, stay on his rear wheel, and you’ll do okay.” I did.
but back to pig: pj harrigan, ken sherman, bobo, lang, fish, mable. his homies at the time. taught him that even if he sucked [he did], they would wait for him. [I call it enabling, but that’s just my tough love.] so with this group of role models, pig had no hope but to do a lot of mountain bike riding, which he did. an iowa state student, he partied, while he could have been developing some serious bike skills
at brookside seven days a week. so close…SOOOO close.
but instead, he focused on leadville and other such things. okay. that’s fine, but it doesn’t make you a good roadie, much less a “better” roadie. vice versa does, oddly enough. so last year, and we are all still baffled at how it actually came to pass, pig won the cat 4 race in clear lake.
and that’s all we heard about all winter.
it was funny and all, but, whatever.
but it must have had some sort of affect on pig, as he started getting all serious and shit: bikes, wheels, power tap, fitting, coaching, outdoor riding in the winter[!]. the kind of shit REAL racers do. and it’s paying off. the first time I noticed a change was on a ride last fall/winter. I don’t remember who all was there, but pig was one of them. now, remember that I was coming back from a collapsed lung, broken collarbone and four broken ribs, but a group of maybe six or so wound up heading down to martensdale on the trail, had our lights and shit, tights and nighttime crap. I was riding either the old ralph road bike, or it might have been the single speed, but the thing I DO remember is that pig was pulling nice and steady and fast. long, steady pulls. I’d never seen that in him. I even wrote it down in my training log.
no one else that night was riding as well as he was.
I remember shit like that.
okay, so blah blah, and it’s march, and we do our wonderful march gravel series: 60 miles of sludge, three saturdays in a row. no pig, that I recall. maybe he did one, I don’t know. I didn’t think anything about it. but then, suddenly, it’s finchford, and son of a bitch, he wins the cat 4 race!
so there must be something to it. as pig says, “results are what count.” of course, that’s not quite correct, but it IS a vast improvement over years past, so we’ll see how it goes. realistically, his goal for this season is to score as many points as possible in the iowa cup series. he is currently third, just three points out of first place, so he’s doing okay. there are some nice intra-squad rivalries going on this year that should be fun to watch, including the one between pig and pete, the duke of duct tape. now, I will note that both his wins came as a result of successful field sprints;
he has yet to solo to victory.
but field sprints still count as wins, so there you have it.
. . .
my prediction:
this year, pig will win a couple more sprints,
and will come close to a win in a road race
in a small break of less than five.
. . .
although pig cannot recall his kindergarten teacher’s first or last name,
he DOES recall beating dave mable
in the state mountain bike championships
at brushy creek in the mid-90s.
pig didn’t win, but neither did mable.
but pig counts his second place worlds better than mable’s third.
other tidbits: last puked on a date in 1996;
wants to repeat his win at clear lake this year;
and he wants mable’s tt bike. [he HAS one?]

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