There are few times in a man’s life when he wakes up on a bright July Saturday morning in Atlanta, Georgia, looks outside his window at flora and fauna on the very brink of bursting into flame from the intensity of the summer heat, and says to himself “I hope it doesn’t rain today.” Such a time was mine, however, as I loaded my car with enough cold liquids to maintain a fleet of camels in the Sahara and headed down to the Dick Lane Velodrome, the crucible where men and women become riders, and riders become hella sweaty.
Oh-oh say can you C?
I knew that I would have a rough day of riding in the C category, but I also knew that I had my teammates and friends to rely upon for support, or at least that they could be relied upon not to laugh at my love handles.
I knew too that the other riders in the C category were much faster than I am physically, so I employed politics as much as possible, asking them politely not to ride very hard. It seemed to have an effect, as I managed somehow to win my first race. Race after race, I rode until my legs felt like two ladies stockings full of raw meat and sand flopping uselessly on either side of my bike. Despite this, somehow I managed to rack up enough points to take the win for the day, and I was quite pleased.
I think it has something to do with my lucky stockings. When you look good, you ride well, I find.
Be all you can B
The rest of my teammates, Justin Barber, Jason Atwood, Chris Kelly and Greggggg Rothmeier, all rode in the B category. Their races directly followed mine for most of the day, so I was distracted during a lot of the action trying desperately to poke my lungs back into my body cavity with a stick. I do know that they rode hard, however, as Barber took second place for the weekend, and the rest of the boys rounded out the top ten in the B category nicely.
It was a great turnout on Faster Mustache’s behalf, if I do say so myself, as I believe we were most numerous team on the track.
If You Crash and Start to Bleed, Try Try Again
All of my teammates rode hard, suffering through intense pain with grim determination. Chris Kelly suffered especially badly as he was nursing some form of illness over the weekend, and Greggggg was attacked at one point by a hawk that mistook his head for a tasty treat. Gregg was saved by Jason Atwood, who speaks fluent hawk. Jason screeched loudly again and again until the bird apologized and flapped away.
All kidding aside, Justin Barber was the team highlight of the day, in my opinion. During one of his races, another rider mistakenly rode into him, forcing him into the rail at the top of the track. Barber managed to recover control of his bicycle, even though one of his feet had clipped out of his pedals. The spectators all breathed a sigh of relief at how close he had come to falling.
Suddenly, his bicycle realized that by all known laws of physics he really should have crashed just then and leapt out from under him, sending him skidding down the track like a man who’d just fallen off a bike onto a concrete track at nearly 30mph. Luckily, he was scratched up but not seriously hurt.
I’m told that the rest of the FM riders raided the track first aid bag for alcohol swabs, and attacked Justin with them. That had to hurt like hell, but who knows? It might even have prevented some infection.
All kidding aside (again), Justin showed tremendous heart when he leapt back onto his bike with a borrowed front wheel and rode aggressively to take second in the very next race.
That’s what it’s all about right there folks. You can’t always win, but you can ride really, really hard… even when it hurts.
Take off, A?
There was a great deal of incredible racing as well in the A category, featuring friends of FM and local cycling heros like Jon “Twotone” Woodroof, Josh “Euro” Frank, and Daniel “Daniel Banks” Banks. All three had a tough day of riding thanks to the preponderance of professional cyclists who turned up to ride in their category, but they rode fearlessly and gave it everything they had nonetheless.
It is my fervent hope to someday make it to the A category, where I will doubtlessly be outridden by such men on a regular humbling basis. Until that day, however, I have a lot of getting faster to do. By the way, drinking beers makes you faster, right?
Thanks as always to the velodrome staff and volunteers who make it possible for there to be any such thing as track racing in Atlanta. I hope that you’ll join us down at the velodrome, where you can see drama like this played out each and every week as weather permits. It’s a lot of fun!