Posted April 1st, 2007
Every cyclist feels it. You do, too, even if it is April showers you have to ride in. The time to let the cold air bleed pressure out of your tires is over. It’s like 6 a.m. on Christmas morning and your folks just woke up. This is what we recapture every time we restart a race season.
Mark Your Calendars Now!!!The Outlook reminder popped up on my computer screen. “BATTENKILL-ROUBAIX registration opens today!!!!” That was December 20, 2006. If you can look past the fact that I’m the kind of guy who uses my computer to remind me about bike race registration, and if you ignore the part where I used four (!!!!) exclamation points, the literary equivalent of spitting, this little flashing block says a couple of things:
1. Cyclists are seriously Type A, ready-to-go folks.
2. Sport is all about anticipation.
The Battenkill-Roubaix, also called “The Hell of the North,” is a Salem, New York race that for all practical purposes starts the cycling season on April 14 in New England this year. Roubaix is French for “watch-out-for-that-desiccated-piece-of-broken-pavement-as-it-is-about-to-sever-your-really-expensive-wheels,” and is used to describe anything from a fabled early season classic in France (Paris-Roubaix) to gravel-road incarnations in Boulder, Colorado, and the aforementioned start in Salem, New York.
Being employed as a ski coach, and it being December, I delayed taking action on my reminder, choosing to click the “Remind me again in a day” button, and headed for some routine Nordic news at fasterskier.com. So much for #1 above.
Two days later, I heeded my reminder. I clicked onto the registration website and was appalled to find the race registration was closed. The race, two days after opening registration, was full. (Insert shock and awe.)
Who are these people? Who signs up for an April race in December?! Do they have REMINDERS in their computer CALENDARS?!!!!
They do because the waiting is sometimes better than the riding. The promise of spring, the promise of new race results, of shiny new bike parts, of another season in the saddle, makes life more vital.
Every cyclist feels it. You do, too, even if it is April showers you have to ride in. The time to let the cold air bleed pressure out of your tires is over. It’s like 6 a.m. on Christmas morning and your folks just woke up. This is what we recapture every time we restart a race season. True cyclists persist in difficult conditions. We do well with things that necessitate perseverance. We need a goal.
Which brings me to the next reminder you should post on your calendar. Five months sit between you and the 2007 Green Mountain Stage Race (GMSR). In between then and now, there are infinite possibilities for your riding. Saturday morning coffee meetings, fever-pitch group rides, speedway point races, hill climbs, weekly cyclocross races, and out-sprinting angry Fido on your routine loop past that one farm with the angry dog. (You know which one.) All of this exists between now and Vermont’s finest cycling event, which is why you should put down this paper, walk to your computer, register at www.gmsr.info and mark it on your calendar.
An entry on the calendar means anticipation. It requires commitment, and it adds vitality. That the GMSR is in Vermont only adds to the sweetness of the wait. What you do in August depends on what you do for the rest of April. You might get lucky, as I did. A few days after the Battenkill-Roubaix announced its fullness, they extended the size of the field. (Again, insert shock and awe.) Like I said, Roubaix is French for “Let’s-see-what-the-early-season-fitness-and-bike-handling-is-like.”