Smiles for miles, that’s the program this year….that and non-standard ensembles. U23 beast, Thomas & I dramatically gunnin’ for the Cat3 mid-pack line. photo: Kelly Pinheiro
Sooo much fun this season.. I mean, still racin’ crazy hard … just differently. This year marked an attempt to completely re-evaluate why I ride bikes and how to make the best karmic use of my time. We all started riding bikes for fun, I may have lost sight of that for a bit.
Among other things, this year I switched out of Masters 45+ to get the crap kicked outa’ me in Cat 3. Why?
For some mental gymnastics and self-deception of course. One of the many benefits of being an old fart is you begin to understand how your clunky ol’ mind operates . The challenge is to keep the racing mega-fun and pedal like mad, but not to the point of beating myself up if I didn’t get on the boxes or accumulate the points I needed to hold my position. Go race with a busted collarbone/ shoulder last year? Definitely, I needed the points… Idiot, now my shoulder is persistently pounding.
So yeah, Cat 3…. there’s zero chance of podium, which means it takes the mental load off as I duke it out mid-pack or form an impromptu geezer gruppetto. Still racin’ just as hard, but watching the superstar front pack ride away doin’ their thing. Love it.
Secondly, it’s a usually a larger wave, which at times equates to some entertaining elbow/ shoulder jive racing action through a number of laps. Around here, simply due to attendance, the Masters wave would normally get all strung out by lap 3-4 so you’re just cruising around a field by yourself.
Thirdly, because Cat 3 and singlespeed are usually scheduled back to back or an hour apart in the afternoon, it frees up my entire morning to do my photo thing: blurry shots aplenty of the cool cat Masters, the superstrong women, Cat4/5 and the jammin’ juniors. See plenty of said craptastic shots at the bottom of this article.
With the newfound method to trick my brain into relaxing a bit, I can now partake in more standard issue goofballery: actually taking handups, flexing for the camera or just generally being a dork.
So yeah, the mental realignment seems to be working. At the moment I’m about 12 races deep, I’m pedaling like mad, takin’ a metric crap-ton of blurry photos (below) , constantly darting about in the pits inciting light-duty mayhem and I couldn’t care less about the rankings. Keep it fun y’all.
Four links of said 187 blurry photos in four galleries below as I try to catch the unique vibe that only Florida ‘Cross can offer. If link fumbles, log into your Facebook acct. and try again