XXX Racing-Athletico


By Liam Donoghue | Jul 11, 2009

Race name: Tour de Champaign - Downtown Crit
Race date:Sunday, Jul 12, 2009

I’ve heard about this so-called “pain cave” that people are always talking about. Supposedly it exists on bicycle race courses, and you’re allowed inside at any time. I was guessing maybe I’d make an appearance in the aforementioned cavernous locale, but little did I know I’d make the wrong turn and enter a different type of pain cave. And then make another wrong turn. Oof.

Rain came. It started as a light drizzle. We hit the line, take off, and maybe two laps in, a guy in front of me locks his back wheel, I make what should have been an escape on the inside, but wasn’t, and without hitting the brakes, I just slid the bike out from underneath me. I thought someone said something about an ass-skating rink, so I happily obliged. Mmm, I love raspberries! I hurry over to the start line, tell them everything is OK, and try to get back into the race. “Gotta go over to the wheel pit,” an official says. I go to the wheel pit, tell them everything is in working order, except for my hideously twisted and broken morale, and I’m thrown back into the race. Only I’m thrown back into the race 10 seconds off the back. Not quite where I was when I crashed.

Next thing to do was ride really fast and bridge the artificially-created gap. Rain picked up. Now a downpour. Catching back on would prove difficult, when I’m racing like a little sissy so as to not crash twice in one race. I was sprinting on every straight, slowing down early and taking the turns as gingerly as a baby taking his first step. Oh, except for that first turn again. My left side was all torn up, and after debating the new xXx jerseys’ asymmetry and its effect on the overall aesthetics of the team kit with Newt the night prior, I decided I agreed with Newt, and I needed to be symmetrically bloody. I’m sprinting to catch back on, start my turn, hit the big white paint strip, back wheel does something, I cook the turn like Parker did at Winfield, only instead of a nice, cushy backyard to ride through, I had a curb to jump, and then another curb to NOT jump. Slam. Ouch. Swear. Stand up. Swear again. See kid. Swear again, without regard. Get back up, look at bike, swear again, get to the wheel pit, swear some more, think about quitting, swear, and get pushed back into the race. Still down pouring. Go around once, and they stop the race. Lightning. Like actual lightning, not just the sparks from my bike hitting the ground. So we take a break, I catch my breath, spit some blood out from my fat lip and Vlade the Impaler-esque blood fangs under my lip. I debate dropping out of the race, swear a little bit, look at the bracelet and realize quitting ain’t my style, and grab some water. Maybe 10 minutes later, they restart it.

I wait a couple laps, attack into the wind, and, blood dripping down both legs, stay off for the rest of the race. Bingo. First (and please, dear sweet god, the last) time I crashed twice in a race and still won. Moral of the story: HTFU. Morale of the story: [soft whimper].

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