Le Tour de Bloom

I haven’t participated in a road race for years.  Not because I have anything against them, or because I feel bitter because I get my ass handed to me everytime, well maybe a little bit of that.  Mostly because I’m busy with other stuff (and I suck at them).
This year I was unable to do the road race portion on Sunday, so I knew the hill climb and criterium on Saturday were my only opportunities to discover that I somehow have turned my life around since my last road race and am now an absolute beast.  The first event is a mass start hillclimb which goes from Squilchuck State Park approx 4.18 miles up to Mission Ridge.  Now to set the stage here I should probably mention that I race Category 4/5.  This is equal to beginner in the road world.  Okay, laugh it up, I know, but here’s the deal.  You get guys like me that (maybe) are good enough to race in a higher (less embarrassing) category but don’t do enough road races per year to earn the points needed to upgrade.  Guys like mtb junior phenom Cole Paton are in the same boat as me.  That boat being not enough races to upgrade, not the suckiness part.  So, what do you do if your a junior phenom racing against a bunch of middle aged men with very fragile egos?  Crush them!  Approximately three seconds after the official blew the whistle to send us up the mountain, I see a blur of Cole go whizzing by, all 110 pounds of him, out of the saddle sprinting.  Yep, he won.  But this isn’t about him, and his exciting rise to the top, this is about me, and my mediocrity.  Okay, fine, long story short, I went really really hard and beat my previous time by nearly two minutes, but apparently my previous time sucked, because my new time was only good enough to get me 8th place… in beginner class.  Hey, I’m not a climber, no problem because I’m gonna totally dominate at the twilight criterium tonight!.  I arrived early, got a bite to eat, and found a place to set up my rollers where I could warm up and watch racing.  Right as I got there the first thing I saw was a couple riders tangle and go down.  The awful sound of clattering tangled up carbon fiber bikes, and flesh skidding on asphalt immediately reminded me of why I don’t do crits.  When it was time for my race I was feeling the nerves.  My wife and kids had come out, my parents were there, even my sister and new husband were there from Seattle, and soon they would all know just how mediocre I really was!  That’s when my buddy Steve Johnston who is the voice of the twilight crit called me out as one of the locals and a favorite to win.  While he was totally full of crap it was fun to get my 15 seconds of fame.  We started, we raced for 30 minutes (yes only 30 minutes), it was an anaerobic blur.  I vaguely remember being toward the front for most of it, lead a couple laps, almost got a beer prime, then got swallowed up in the final corner and came across the line in a swarm of frothing sprinting maniacs, pause for effect…….. for 15th place.  There you have it, that’s my story.  You’re probably thinking I can’t believe I just wasted 10 minutes of my life reading this when I could’ve been reading Cole Paton’s blog.  All I can say is in the end it’s not about the numbers… what place you got, what your time was, etc, It’s about riding your bike, challenging yourself, and being humble, because just when you think you’re okay, you get your ass handed to you by a bunch of beginners.

Tour de Bloom
Tour de Bloom Twilight Criterium (incase you didn’t know “X361” is my favorite letter/number combination)

2 thoughts on “Le Tour de Bloom

  1. Not all of us mountain bikers were cut out to be the next Sagan or Cadel Evans on the transition to road but…Cole, that kid’s got some real UCI U23 pedigree!

  2. I lost $8 betting on you in the crit Jake. You looked like the guy to beat for the first 20 minutes – and beat you they did! Your whole group looked scary fast, nice ride.

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