Monday, August 16, 2010

I'm a Bicycle Racer!!!

I went to race *my* Bicycle at NHIS NASCAR track in a certified NHCC (New Hampshire Cycling Club) for the 1st time last Thursday. I arrived 40 minutes early to wait at the gate with my bicycle in the back of a borrowed Jeep.

My bicycle is a yard sale bought, 26 year old, Sears, Roebuck and Co. 10-speed I’ve nicknamed “Shade” with balloon size tires, not the razor thin ones on the regular racers I chose for several reasons.

One, my huge tires support my weight. They create more friction and take more effort to pedal but none of that really was critical as I knew I wasn’t going to be a contender. This wasn’t a race for me it’s a journey. Actually my front tire leaks a bit of air too. I haven’t dared changing the tube as the tires are showing some dry rot and might crack if I start bending them around. I haven’t got a “real” air pump yet… I begged a guy to use his, most of them have nice vertical pogo stick/jack hammer kinds, but found out that many of them use special nozzles as well. With no luck I used my emergency pump, smaller than a paper towel tube, and cranked it about 50 times. I have no clue what pressure was in my tires… I just felt them, I haven’t invested in a tire gage either yet. If you haven’t picked up on part of the theme, that will continue by the way, this was a passionate but “no budget” endeavor.

Two, this bicycle it was what I could afford. Most of these guys (and a few gals) ride carbon fiber bicycles that can cost thousands of dollars (yes, that’s plural) and weight near half mine and are designed around aerodynamics as well. A seat on one of those bikes can cost more than my bicycle. I had the forethought of removing all the reflectors for a few ounces and perhaps should have removed the kick stand as well for the race but didn’t. I’m not sure if the kick stand bracket is holding the bottom of the frame together. At the end of my riding I started to get concerned as the bike started making a squeaking sound like an old rusted tricycle or red wagon that had been left out in the rain many nights.

I didn’t even have a 10-speed really. One low end rear wheel gear won’t grab on, thus I was sort of running a 8-speed. You may think I’m putting down my bicycle here while I’m just being a realist. Actually my bicycle Shade made me so proud in her running. The Bicycle shop guys I go to (M.C. Cycle and Sports) did wonders for her with what they had to work with here. That night I rode faster on level ground under my own power on a bicycle than I ever have. I even wonder if that bicycle has ever even seen that speed before. How fast you ask? No speedometer yet, remember poor boy here?! I didn’t even purchase a water bottle for it yet either.

I actually have two other bicycles… a currier bicycle, “Boba”, equipped with a water bottle, speedometer, and more… but it’s a workhorse to deliver packages and is a hybrid. The third bicycle, the 74 Raleigh GT grand prix mark 5, “the Green Lady“, is a project for the winter I hope to make my racer for next year… but right now you can‘t even ride it. (that was unearthed for 35 dollars and I plan to raise it from the dead.)

But back to waiting at the gate to get in and get warmed up to race. I was one of the very first there. All the way driving to the speedway in the Jeep I felt like I was in an aerobic workout. The thing was is was a nervous thing at all. If you ever see a freshly caged wolf or panther at a zoo they are constantly pacing their cage emanating with potential energy. I think it was more adrenaline than fear.

I paid my entry to the speed way fee, then my race fee to the NHCC lady. I’ve come to watch a few races but this was my first participation, my first ME actually racing *IN* it. No longer on the sidelines of life folks! There are division classes people race in. A’s are the ninja racers, B’s a bit slower… down to D’s and finally Junior’s. I got a D… for beginning racer. She actually seemed to want to put me in C group first, while that might seem like a big compliment the truth is there were no racers in D group. I politely begged for a D. I was a beginner and this was my first race. I can’t help but wonder if the D in D group secretly stands for “Dead” as in this is how fast dead people can pedal.

She was even kind enough to grant me a number choice of 42, which is about symbolic of the weight I have dropped in the last year. (I hung it on a bookcase at my house after the race!) Actually in my nervousness I miscalculated and should have asked for number 48... But 42 is a great number, just read the book “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and you will find out that 42 is actually the answer to “life, the universe, and everything” anyways… I sheepishly asked another rider to help pin it on me. They have to go on sideways on your left kidney area so when you are leaned down on the bike and pass the finish line your number can be easily read to be recorded.

So I was *finally* after all this, now about ready to get my bicycle to the track and to the pit row area then race. Gee… this post is getting kind of long…

AM I GOING TO LEAVE YOU WITH A CLIFFHANGER TO THE END OF THIS STORY UNTIL NEXT POST?! Can I possibly be that evil by not telling you how I faired in the race until next time? Yup. Next post… story continues, Coming soon…

At Foolsfitness sometimes we can be cruel- Alan


  1. That is soooooo cruel. Can't wait to read all about it in your next post. Congrats, I am just getting back into biking this summer as well and am just loving it.

  2. Sometimes??? Cruel indeed. I think its pretty cool you named your bike(s). Congrats for getting of the sidelines and joining the race. You're making me want to ride my bike. Hubbys' bike was stolen so I have no one to ride with...

    I'll be back manana to see how you fared.


  3. Yahoo number 42! Not on the sidelines anymore.

    Can't wait to hear how you did. Well, we know you survived, anyway. :-)


  4. Nice! I have a whole house full of old bikes since finding that I LOVE bike riding last June, in fact I just wrote a blog about being addicted to my bikes :)

    I just spent the weekend up in Concord so not that far from your race, glad that you brought your old bike out there and did that, I love riding but haven't had the nerves to do a group ride yet.

    Keep on riding and keep on keepin on!

    As Ever

  5. How fun to ride your bike right out there on the automobile race track! I bet that was a riot! Hope your family was there to take pics of you!


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