Usually, when you loyal readers hear something about RandoGirl, she’s on the back of the tandem. This past weekend, she was on her single bike … and she was racing.
Here she is coming across the finish line Saturday, where she took second place in a 5K time trial.
And then here she is again, coming across the finish line Sunday, taking second place in a 20K road race.
The event was the Tennessee Senior Olympics, which is really a misnomer because RandoGirl is not a senior. I mean, she qualifies to race in this event because of her chronological age (eligibility for the Senior Olympics starts at age 50), but she’s still a young girl at heart, barely old enough to drink. She still can’t tell her father that I took her dancing, as he would then have to shun her.
Anyway, here’s how RandoGirl came to start racing. Back during the winter, RandoGirl’s coach (not Angus MacKillimiquads, but a nice lady named Tracey Drews who works for Carmichael Training Systems) decided that RandoGirl needed a new challenge. She’d done Six Gaps a couple of times, a couple of 200K's and all of the other local centuries, and the next logical step was a race. So Tracey got RandoGirl to sign up for the two cycling events in the Tennessee Senior Olympics, and she’s been training up for them over the course of the past few months.
She even got a new bike for this, although I’m not going to tell you about it. If she wants you to know about it, I told her to write a guest blog. It’s “in the works.” Trust me, though: Her new bike is sweet!
Anyway, RandoGirl trained, and practiced time-trialing, and went out and rode the course a few times. She got the flu about two weeks ago, has been suffering with a head cold and a cough since. She didn’t think that she would do well in the race, but decided to go ahead and give it her best shot. And it turned out that her best shot was pretty darned good, since she missed first in the time trial by four seconds, missed first in the road race by 10 seconds and could have won the road race if she hadn’t started her sprint way too early.
Speaking of sprinting and the road race, it was won overall by Lonnie Puterbaugh, who is also a member of the Harpeth Bicycle Club and a friend of ours. Here’s Carol and Lonnie after the road race, with their shiny medals. They have both qualified to ride any or all of the 5K/10K time trials and 20K/40K road races at the National Senior Olympics next year in Houston, TX.
Now, you might be thinking, “Senior Olympics? Like, a bunch of old farts trying to pretend they are Lance Armstrong?” No, it’s a bunch of seasoned athletes trying to pretend they are Alberto Contador, instead of some old fart like Lance.
Just kidding, Lance. You know I love you.
Anyway, I kind of had the same thought when RandoGirl told me about this. And then we go to the time trial staging area Saturday and I see there’s a whole bunch of guys who look pretty darned fit, riding some top-of-the-line gear.
A lot of the guys there are also the same guys that I see at TBRA (Tennessee Bicycle Racing Association) races, including Tom Gee. I’ve done brevets with Tom, and he usually finishes way before everybody else … certainly before I do.
Then, as they’re racing, I see the times that they are turning in over a kind of hilly 3.1-mile course. For example, the guy who won the division that I would have been in was under 7:30, which comes to about 25 miles per hour. Not too shabby.
We also saw Walter Thompson at the race, whom you may remember from riding, eating, and drinking with us in Florida. (Not that RandoGirl drank, mind you; she’s still under-age, remember?)
Another thing about the Senior Olympians: They’re smart. Here’s one of them warming up on a trainer, in the back of the truck. I thought this was pretty darned ingenious.
These ladies and gentlemen also gave me hope. They showed me that, just maybe, RandoGirl and I can be lucky enough to stay healthy and still do what we love doing into our golden years.
The two guys above are Bill and William Proffitt – father and son – both of them Senior Olympians. Dad won gold in the 85-89 division, while the son took silver in his division. I would love it if, 35 years from now, RandoGirl, the RandoDaughter, and I were all able to compete together in something like this.
You’re as young as you feel, and everybody feels young on a bicycle.