Saturday, August 18, 2007

roots racing

i've been riding bikes for over 50 years.
i started racing them in, oh, 1962 or so, with the burnett brothers,
mike and denny post, the sampson brothers, and others in the north end.
i got involved in "organized" racing in 1983,
and i first got a uscf license in 1987.
but one of the coolest things i've ever seen in cycling started happening
in des moines this summer, and is continuing this fall.
dave mable, a member of my racing team,
has managed to put together a women's racing team.
they started joining us on the tuesday night rides,
at first, just swelling the numbers as we rolled out of town,
but as the weeks passed,
they started appearing toward the front of the group,
pulling through, not freaking out the guys, being steady,
and generally riding with much better demonstrated skills
than many of the male triathletes.
[at least to my knowledge, which is vast,
none of the women has caused another cyclist to crash.]
the women's team, sporting very cool pink kits,
started showing up at local races.
some of the braver ones did all or part of ragbrai with
the legendary shortbus crew,
further honing their bike handling skills.
thursday saw the first of what will be many
"race like a girl" omniums at union park.
there are three more this year,
and they will be held throughout the season next year.
check for complete details.
but the photos shown below give you a taste.
it's all about the women: THEIRS are the feature events.

the women's field was so large, i couldn't get them in one shot.

below, the all9yards women talk strategy with dave mable, the bald guy, while a "b" field racer zips past.

they continue to talk...

dave has been assisted this year by jane riessen, who is riding away with the iowa cup this year, and the race was held under the direction of donny q. this is a really very cool event, and will dovetail beautifully with the team's elkhart time trial series and our waterworks parks race series for next year. there will be fun, cut-throat, diverse, cheap, intense racing EVERY THURSDAY IN DES MOINES!! it's for everyone: women, beginner men, advanced men, and rumor is that there will be junior's and kid's races next year--all multi-race events. even as crusty an old curmudgeon as dave lippold says that "it provides a good workout." i told him i wouldn't tell anyone he said so. i think he fancies himself a sprinter. the specific races will likely change with each event, although there will always be a scrath race and a match sprint. it is might hope and desire that the course [ie, start/finish and direction] will change slightly each time, to avoid predictability and routine.

you folks from out of town should either plan to attend and take part, or just know that you're missing a hell of a good night of racing. lane says he enjoys finishing before the main event and drinking beer. i've been telling him that for years. kids.

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