Racing From Stoplight to Stoplight

Friday was yet another road bike race on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), organized by people who have never raced a bicycle. I'm not sure they've ever ridden one on the road either. 

I had serious reservations about the route and voiced them before the race, suggesting an alternate route to bypass the majority of the trouble spots, but they stated the course was approved and was set in stone. The 15.5 mile "race" went through several stoplights on the main thoroughfare on the Elmendorf side of base during lunchtime, then took a more sane route to the turnaround. Then we had to retrace our path back to the start. At least I got them to not have the finish line be the narrow, 90 degree entrance to a parking lot for what would obviously be a sprint finish. Like I said, they weren't experienced race organizers.

We took off at a moderate race pace out of the start to shed the cruisers, and were stopped at the first light. After a brief wait, we took off again, to slow at the second light and then pause at the next. It took a while, but we finally started to shape the race when the course opened up and we started hitting a few short climbs. I rotated through and starting to evaluate the competition, having learned my lesson the last time I raced on base. Sometime in there Pete dropped off the pace, with a few other riders. He said it was all in his plan to soften up the competition for me.

Nobody really hammered it, but we soon had the front pack whittled down to 6 riders. All of them were solid riders, including my Speedway teammates Mike Beiergrohslein and his son, Max- fresh off a Junior Class win in the Tour of Anchorage. Also in there was the rider who prevented me from collecting my 1000 virgins at the Tour of Anchorage. We kept it neutral as we navigated our way through the traffic lights, and as we approached the final corner I found myself behind the Speedway "Orange Train" of Mike and Max. Mike dove into the turn and accelerated, but Max wasn't as confident, opening a gap. I sprinted around him to catch up with Mike, who was pushing hard for the win. As I started to come around him, he drifted towards the curb. He had no idea anyone was with him. I went around him on one side, with another racer on the other. We drag-raced the last 100 feet to the line, and I edged him by half a wheel. Mike took 3rd and Max took 4th, just ahead of last-year's champion.

Based on this win and my win during the Arctic Warrior Olympics, now I guess I'm the undisputed IBF/WBA champion of the JBER hybrid/beach-cruiser/e-bike/kickbike/trike division.

Sometimes you gotta take what you can get to prop up your ego after a proper beat-down. I can suck in my gut a little deeper, for a little longer, and maybe even delude myself into believing I've lost weight. I haven't, but don't tell me that.

I can work with this.


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