Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Follow-up: Bike race

Last week I posted about some upcoming bicycle racing events scheduled here in the South Bay- scroll back to July for details. One of these has already taken place, and here's my report:

I packed a lunch and rode out to watch a day of bicycle races at Foothill College this past Sunday. Because the course ran on the campus perimeter road it was easy to find multiple places for watching. For the first race I cruised around the racers' prep area, joining the throng at the fence whenever the riders came around. I liked hearing the whoosh of all those tires on asphalt, but I cared less for the crowdedness and for having to look through a chain-link fence. For the second race I rode over to another parking lot, where there were no fences- I could have stood right on the edge of the course if I wanted to, but I didn't want to. The main attraction at this spot was that I had it all to myself. And I mean ALL to myself. It was just me and a flagman and hundreds of empty parking spots. Actually, he was a race marshal, and his job was to wave a flag and shout the number of laps remaining as the pack passed. Although the unobstructed view here was nice, there was no shade. For the third race I rode over by the start/finish line and watched there for a while, still without shade. Eventually, while riding around some tennis courts above the football field, I found a shady spot just down the hill from the finish line, about half way through a steepish, snaking descent in the course. Great views of some tricky riding! That was my favorite location, and I stayed there until I left for the day. Along with deep shade, I had a drinking fountain and a real restroom to myself. For some reason, none of the hundreds of other attendees ever discovered this oasis, and they all made do with porta-potties and purchased beverages. The finish line was all of twenty seconds away, so I had plenty of time to get there for the finishes, thanks to the advance notice provided by a race announcer via loudspeakers. Though I had many wonderful opportunities, I took no pictures, but I don't regret that. And I didn't have a camera with me anyway. I greatly enjoyed the whole thing, and I hope it will become a regular event. Race results and links to photos can be found here:

The second bicycle racing event is still in the future- the near future. In a little over a week, I'll be attending some track races at Hellyer Park in San Jose. I'm really looking forward to that. As with the story above, you can find all the details about the Hellyer Park races in my earlier post. I don't know why, but I can't link to earlier posts anymore, but if you search the blog for races or racing, you'll end up there. Sorry for the inconvenience, I'll try to figure out how to link posts. Oh, never mind- just go to the event's website-

And now... on to my favorite subject, me!

My interest in bike racing is only a few weeks old, and only came about indirectly. Here's how it happened. Because I love to read about bikes and bike riding, I was perusing the library catalog in search of yet more bicycle touring books (which are the very best kind of travel book, if you ask me) when I found a few Tour de France DVDs listed. 2003, 2004, 2005. Initially, I felt almost no interest- more or less on a whim, I brought them home, and BLAMMO I was hooked. Much to my annoyance, during the week I spent watching these highly condensed accounts of races past I learned that the 2011 Tour de France was in progress. Actually, what annoyed me was that I couldn't find any non-pay television coverage. I'm still not very happy about that.

Having become addicted overnight to watching bicycle races, I began to scour the web for local races and stumbled upon the aforementioned two exciting and very local events. My delight was and is nearly boundless. The only limiting factor to my joy is that the track races are twenty miles away and nowhere near any reasonable public transit routes. I'll probably have to drive, which I don't like doing anyway, and can't afford- then too, if I drive I'll have to pay $6 for parking, which I can't afford either. But I'll be there, no matter what!

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