Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bike Things That Matter

Most of my extracurricular life is just moronic riding and moronic thinking-about-riding, but tonight I got blind-sided and overwhelmed with meaning.

SRV put on its last race of the season.

Although we're relatively new to this, we're getting better and more efficient, but it still takes a lot of effort and energy and man-woman-power for us to put on a race. We watch Baddlands and how many races they do and how efficient they are. We want to get there and we'll keep working hard.

But after the race tonight, it went without even saying that it was time to tip a couple back. The sun was down and Mike, Sarah and I were the last ones in the parking lot and everything had gone down on schedule and nobody got hurt and (mostly) all the racers went home satisfied. All of the multitude of volunteers that make it possible had come together to do their job for one last time this season. So we sat on the deck at Benneditos and toasted them and us and the state of SRV and the state of bike racing in Spokane and vowed to keep it going. (I wish I had pics, but I was too dumb to go get my camera. Maybe it's a blessing!) And because we know each other so well, we laughed a lot. And we ate pizza. And the only reason we ever got to know each other and were there at that moment is because we like bikes.

The Spokane bike community is already more huge and diverse than any of us realize, and it's just getting wings. Mine is an extremely small part, but being able to contribute in some way is huge to me.


The other thing that happened at the races tonight is that I ran into a couple of guys I rode with at the Midnight Century - Theo and Tom H. We had all spent time riding together. None of us finished. I think I can speak for them when I say that all of us wished we would have, but none of us let the result define the experience. The experience was the experience, no matter the outcome. Yes, the table at Marron looked sweet. But there's a whole rich non-finisher sub-culture. We had some dramatic stories and surreal, weird, early-am stuff going on as we bailed from the middle of nowhere and tried to find our way back home. Tom told me he went with Glen because he didn't want to let his friend ride the CT at 3 am by himself. I can completely understand that because I was freaked and adrenalized by riding through EC Spo by myself in the wee hours. Talk about being in a weird and vulnerable place. I guess I've decided you don't have to finish the MC for it to majorly affect you.

I don't know what it will become in the future but for right now it's a *really* cool, fringe bike event. I live for this kind of shit.


John Speare said...

Great post Pat. I want to see some races next year. I missed all the summer races. I hope the Lincoln Park crit comes back at some point.

Also, I really appreciate the sentiment about not letting DNF define the experience of the MC. I hope my posting DNF's on my site isn't seen as some kind of public shaming or something. Because that's not the intent at all. In my mind, every person that sets out on that ride deserves recognition, whether they finished or not. And I'd love to collect every story -- I know Gus pushed himself super hard, had mechanicals and just about killed himself to get to Spangle, where he stopped riding and hitch hiked home. I'm sure there's detail in there that makes for a good story.

Although it was harder for me this year, the core part of ride for me is finding that group to ride with and the experience of riding through the night with your thoughts ...which at about mid-Sands climb is: why the #*%! am I doing this?

I love this shit too and the MC is sort of the culmination of the shit I love about cycling. Thanks DB for the brilliant idea.

Pat S said...

John, I think it's great that you posted the DNF's - they are an integral part of the MC. It's weird - I think finishing would mean so much if I did and yet means so little that I didn't. It's one ride where I want people to know how I did and I want to know how they did. I'll take all the details I can get because I don't think there's a single rider who had anything close to a normal or routine cycling experience. Every personal MC story is the tale of a grand adventure.

And yeah, most definitely, thanks David.

Alan said...

Thanks for the help with the races, Pat. You're right: bikes matter.