I went out for a quick spin two days ago that turned into something a bit longer. Cruising down PV Drive North at noon on a Monday when you should be in the office feels just like playing hooky from school.
Tink was going by in the opposite direction so I did a u-turn, hooked up with her, and got an amazing blow-by-blow about the brutal Nature Valley Grand Prix stage race that she’d just finished on Sunday. Arriving back in LA at 1:00 AM she was, of course, already back on her bike. Tink’s team, Tibco, won the overall, the QOM, and 125 points for Tink’s backflip twisting plancha that she did off the start platform in the time trial.
It was her first launch from a little covered house, and she went out in style. A light rain had made the platform slick, and she’d been advised to start in a bigger gear, so when they let her go and she mashed on the pedals it tore her back wheel loose, which then twisted her bars, which then pointed her straight at the edge of the platform instead of the ramp, which then propelled her straight off the side. Like I said, 125 points.
All funning aside, Kristabel turned in an amazing performance despite going down in the 93-mile road race, and despite being tasked in the 83-mile road race with “drilling it on the rollers” for the first 30 miles of the race, effectively leaving her completely gassed with 53 hard miles left to ride. Her efforts played a role in Tibco’s overall victory and validated their confidence in bringing her onto the squad as a neo-pro midway through the season. Before long she will be one of the best women racers in the nation.
Back seat driver
On the way back home I stopped at the Center of the Known Universe. It was a sunny Monday afternoon, so the work week hadn’t properly started, and over the course of the next few minutes in dropped New Girl, Gussy and his daughter Lucy, Trey, some moto pro former winner of the Daytona 200, Jens, and a buddy from my youngest son’s Little League days.
“What are you doing here in the middle of a Monday afternoon?” he demanded.
“What are YOU doing here in the middle of a Monday afternoon?” I shot back.
Gussy had just finished a tandem ride with his daughter, who had just graduated from middle school. Seemed like a bit of punishment, but she appeared not to mind. I got to chat with her for a while, and can say that she was one of the most poised, intelligent, and charming people I’ve met … maybe ever.
I’d always believed that the proof of the parent was in the child, and this sealed it.
Still going strong
On the way home up Via del Monte a biker pulled out from a side street ahead of me, so I chased him down. He wasn’t going very fast, and the closer I got I could see he was riding a very old bike with downtube shifters. I caught up to him and we started chatting. His name was Vince and he’s 78 years old.
He started cycling when he was 50. “I’m too old and slow to race around the Hill anymore with you fast guys,” he said. “But I still get out every day and climb up to the top.”
“Wow,” I said, because the top is 1,200 feet in elevation gain and has some sections that are really quite steep.
“Most of my buddies have given up. All of them, in fact. I’ll sometimes call them up and try to get ’em out on the bike, and they promise to one day, but they never do. It’s just me any more.”
“It’s hard to keep going,” I sympathized.
“Maybe,” he agreed. “But it doesn’t get any easier by quitting.”
We parted at Hawthorne and GVA. He’d shared some wisdom, hadn’t he?
This morning I learned that Jackie Price Dunn died today after crashing at the Tuesday Night Races held at the San Diego Velodrome. Coming hard on the heels of the deaths of Steve Bowen, Eric Ringdahl, and Chris Cono, I’m horrified, but also numb. My heart goes out to her family and friends.