Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Mustache: Ride.

I cringed when I set my alarm on my cell phone last night after the long trip back from Bend, Oregon and the Cascade Cycling Classic.  The phone displayed a message indicating "3 hours and 22 minutes until alarm".  I was home after a delayed flight back into DCA and had to scavenge some sleep before work.  If my car hadn't broke down a few weeks earlier, it might have said 4 hours - but now my extravagant bike/metro/walk/run commuting lifestyle had begun.  Back to reality... again.

I'm tired.  It's just after 8am and I am on my third cup of coffee.  I just finished a morning meeting but can't shake the images of the Cascades and the lava fields still fresh on my mind.  On paper, it doesn't look like I had a very good race - and if we're looking at the results... that's pretty much true, but I experienced some of the best bike riding to date. 

Two days ago I was dropped on the final stage of the CCC, the Awbrey Butte Circuit Race.  I raced for maybe 25 miles when everything went dark in the 83 mile conclusion to the 6-day race.  My heartrate was maxed, my breathing strained, and my ability to turn the pedals over had suddenly became a struggle with no fight left in me.  I had just came back from an attack - I don't know why I had attacked... I never have a very good reason except I love doing it. 

The night before I attacked randomly with 5 laps to go in the Downtown Bend criterium and scored myself $200.  I had spent most of that evenings race accumulating cheering sections for "Mustachio!... 99!... STACHE'!...Rugg!..." while surfing around the back of the race, that I felt compelled to give them a little more to cheer for.  It was a short-lived attack, doomed from the get-go with Kelly's train poised to run right over me for their lead-out.  It was a short-lived attack that made the whole trip worth it.  I was with high-fives from kids telling me I was there favorite! ...Me? ...Someone's favorite?  People wanted to take their picture with me.  And yes, I was asked for my autograph.  Their is no bigger award than knowing that somebody is cheering you on.

I was going through the feed zone for the second time during the Awbrey Butte Circuit Race, and I knew that my race was coming to an end.  I rode myself silly for days, probably doing a lot more than I should have, thinking I would still be able to pull off some final hour miracle.  But the miles had taken their toll and my legs weren't up for the impossible.  I had put so much pressure to do something awesome to impress others, and there I was, riding alone, off the back, dropped... riding for noone but myself.  At first I thought I'd just finish the lap.  Then I thought, one more lap for training.  And then I started riding hard.  And then I wanted to make it back to the valley road where you had to look behind you to see the Cascades, and had I not been dropped - would have missed the incredible view. 

And then I wanted to finish.  It was just me and my bike for almost 60 miles.  The final lap I saw only a few course marshalls picking up discarded bottles and the occasional field mouse.  I mostly thought about how lucky I was and how crazy this year has been for me.  It had been a long time since I got to spend time riding alone, and I remembered how much I loved just having that time to think about anything and everything.  I came across the finish line 38 minutes down from the winner and I had fell in love with riding my bike all over again.  If I never go pro, at least I got some high fives along the way.

PS - The mustache is gone.  For now.


  1. Tim, thanks for posting this! It give a novice race like me a GREAT insight into your life! Dude, you da man! Keep up the excellent work!!!

  2. You still have some high fives in stock for your performance at the Nature Valley Grand Prix! We still talk about your surge in the Stillwater crit.

    Seriously, if someone spends the time and actually looks at your results throughout the week, you're the real deal, even on paper.

    Keep hammering.