Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Don't Send a RandoBoy To Do a Max Watzz Job

Yes, lucky people, it is I -- your hero (and mine), Max Watzz.

I know that you've been regularly watching RandoBore's blog waiting for my report from Avery Trace this past weekend, refreshing the page until your fingers bled. I wanted you to taste the sweet thrill of anticipation, so that when you could read my perfect words you would be properly primed.

Of course, a few thousand of you came out to watch me race Saturday, and were hiding up in the hills so as to better view the entirety of my splendid ride. You need not be afraid to get closer -- few, if any, of my fans have yet to spontaneously combust from being too close to the wonder that is me. Fortunately, I am graced with super-human hearing (of course), and could hear your cheers and thunderous applause, even if I could not see you. I believe I heard many of you swoon -- and not just the women.

Anyway, as I am sure that many of you already know from the tweets of my many fans present, I destroyed all of the competition again in the time trial at Avery Trace. I was fluid perfection, an aerodynamic synthesis of energy and grace as I pumped my glorious self over the rolling hills along the river. I was inexorable and unstoppable, like lava ... or like lava would be if it moved at 25 miles per hour.

Sadly, I must again report that the so-called "results" do not properly reflect my performance, claiming that I was second (a mathematical impossibility) in the time trial. It's obviously an error, since they also have me 15th in the road race, and I have no recollection of doing the road race. I think that a letter-writing campaign is in order, or perhaps a congressional investigation. I would not blame you all for petitioning the War Crimes Tribunal in Hague.

With love (mostly for myself), I remain your idol,
Max Watzz

Um, RandoBoy here. I kind of need to clear up something that Max said above. You see, the truth is that he sort of didn't do the road race at the Avery Trace Cycling Classic in Gainesboro, TN, this past Saturday.

I did.

It was an accident, really. I went out there Friday night to drive the course, since there are a few tricky spots that I wanted to look over. The goal was to plan my race, but as I drove up the three short steep hills early in the course, down the twisty shaded descents, and then along a 15-mile stretch of corn fields and dairy farms, I kept thinking, "Gosh, this is pretty."

"Pretty" is not a Max Watzz word.

I stayed in Cookeville that night, and then drove over to the race start in the morning. After getting ready to ride, I decided to do the climb up to the finish line so that I could be prepared to be in a break at the end. I also figured that this would warm up my legs and get my Max Watzz game-face on.

Getting to the top, I figured a fast warm-up descent would be good, so I whipped down the far side. I still had plenty of time, so I kept going down the gently rolling highway for a mile or so. It was early, not yet hot, and the easy hills along the road were full of corn fields looking ripe and lush.

"Lush" is not a Max Watzz word.

I shook it off and turned around, hammering a bit of the hill on the way back before heading to the starting line. Standing there astride my bike, I tried to focus. I could see that a few of the local teams were well represented, whereas I was the only Gran Fondo racer in the 35-and-over Cat 5 group. Using Max mentality, I tried to determine who I needed to watch and whose wheel I should get on when the race got moving. I thought through the probable scenarios, and came up with contingency plans.

As the race officials starting giving us instructions, Shawn Ewing from the Harpeth Bicycles team pulled up next to me. We chatted a bit as we waited for the start, and as we rolled out I told him, "Good luck."

"Good luck?!" I was in trouble.

A MOAB guy went off the front early, and I was able to Max myself again enough to go to the front and keep the pace hot enough to keep close. As we approached the first climb, the MOAB racer was less than a minute ahead of us when he dropped his chain. We swept past him starting up the hill, and I turned and said, "Sorry."

Whoa. "Sorry" is not a Max Watzz word. It doesn't even rhyme with any Max Watzz words. I could hear Coach MacKillimiquads screaming, "If yer usin' you lungs for anythin' other than to put oxygen in yer fookin' blood, then yer nae usin' 'em right!"

I tried to focus and stayed with the group over that hill and the next, but was falling off a bit as we got to the top of the third one. I knew that, once over this, it would be flat and that I could mostly sit in and recover, but the descent was tricky and I couldn't bring myself to just let it go. When I got to the bottom, I could see the front group was already 200 yards ahead, and the group that I was with was starting to hammer to catch up to them. Max Watzz could have hung with them, and maybe even bridged up.

But Max wasn't there any more. He'd gone back to Dairy Queen in downtown Gainesboro for a Peanut Buster Parfait, and he'd taken Coach MacKillimiquads with him, and neither of them was coming back any time soon. All that was left was RandoBoy -- sitting up, looking around and drinking from his bottle, humming a Willie Nelson tune and wishing that he had a camera so he could stop and take a picture of that neat-looking barn over there.

Shawn had fallen off on the third hill and he pulled up next to me. We rode along side-by-side for a while, chatting about a trip to South Africa that he and his wife, Cali, had just returned from. Cali races with Team Belladium, and they're both really nice folks.

When the MOAB racer who'd dropped his chain on the first climb came by, Shawn and I got into a fast rotating paceline with him for a few miles, closing with a larger group ahead of us. Max could have kept that going, but I got tired of it and waved them on. Then I rode along by myself again for a couple of miles before a slower group came by. I hung with them to the start of the penultimate climb, and then a Cumberland Transit racer and I went off the front on that hill, zipped along the last miles of flat country, and finished the race pretty strong.

But not Max Watzz strong.

Max was back for the time trial, of course, and did well. But he left right afterwards, and I took the long way back to Nashville, driving down Hwy 135 to Cookeville. I'd noticed that road earlier in the day, and thought that it might make a good permanent.

I was right. It's gorgeous, winding along the Roaring River there, with a nasty little climb back up to the plateau. The surface would be terrible for a race, but good for a brevet. I haven't figured it out yet, but I'd like to put together a route that uses that and the long Avery Trace road race circuit. It would be nice to share with some randonneuring friends.

And none of those are Max Watzz words.

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