They say you never forget your first time. I’m inclined to agree. My first USAC sanctioned road race was so full of firsts that it will probably be burned into my memory for a good while.
Last Sunday, I went up to the rolling hills of St. Francisville to compete in the Felicana Road Race, hosted by GeauxRace. I’ve been practicing going fast on a road bike for a few months, and for a few weeks have been attending Tuesday Loops, a group ride that I thought felt a lot like racing. But having never actually raced before, I had no idea what I was in for.
Never before had I ridden so fast, so close to so many people. Never before had I hit 53 mph on a bike. Never before have I coasted so much on a ride. Early on, every break from the pack felt like it could run forever and go all the way to the finish
The weekend before the Spring Brake Yr’sef madness, a few friends and I decided to take advantage of the weather and go BLAMPING (That’s glamourous camping on bikes, folks). Saint Bernard State park is a surprisingly scenic 13 mile ride from the Bywater. Don’t fret about how you’ll pack all your beer and hotdogs down on a bike: two corner stores are less than a mile away! With two cases of Budweiser, a well stoked fire and a little ukele sing-a-long, a great day faded into a raucous night which then faded into THE BIGGEST RAINSTORM ever which had me left me floating in a few inches of rainwater. After a fitful hour of sleeping in a Prius (some folks did join later by car), we admitted defeat and drove out of there. I did hear of one brave cyclist who made it all the way back to the parish line before giving up.
Let’s do this again sometime soon, freak rainstorms be dammed.
Our buddy Townsend Myers (originator of the original O.C. Ride) has been hard at work in the lab developing some ultra-slick new kits for Semi-Tough Cycling Club, New Orleans’ finest bicycle gang. Jerseys are stylishly composed in the club’s classic colorway of mocha, green apple, white, and black. The back is emblazoned with the symbolic lightning bolt and cup-o-joe emblems around the logo, to let all the riders dusted by your breakaway know where you come from and what you’re all about. Additionally, these top of the line kits by Garneau are guaranteed to significantly cut wind resistance and dramatically increase wattage output.*
Not long ago I found out about a campaign Metro was doing in L.A. to educate motorists about how to tolerate, anticipate, and not crush cyclists. I’m all about such education, and think that public knowledge of how existing infrastructure works must come before changes to that infrastructure and new rules (bike lanes, etc.). I am stoked to see that there is a similar campaign taking place in New Orleans with the 610 Stompers. I’m sure many of you have already seen the billboards and buses, but I discovered there are also PSA’s starring the innately hammy Stompers. While we remain divided on our headband over helmet policies, we are united in our views on giving bikers space and not dooring their faces off. Peep these PSA’s if you ain’t seen yet, and especially if you drive like a jerk.