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Monday, April 16, 2007

so tired

Sea Otter ... it's 14hour days working booths and supporting racers. It's sun and wind and rain and mud ... all swapping around like 8th graders kissing. It's sangria and laughing, med tents and victories, crushing amounts of suffering, tears of accomplishment and exhaustion, shiny tin medals at the end of the day ... for some.

Bacchus' eyes smile wide over the lip of a full red glass.
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we dance
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we race
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we scent the world Bella
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but the rains come ...
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... and it was unbelievable. standing, mouth-agape on the side of that crazy-ass corkscrew descent, i was there when they shut down the women's race. the winds were blowing rain up the hill and sending mud slithering over oil releasing tarmac. It was monsoon. And still these women bombed down this twisting, hellish descent like screaming banshees.

This was racing at it's most primal, most dramatic, most ... to be trite ~ epic.

That the officials shut the race down? ~ you can't take too much issue with that. The conditions really were in the extreme. Yeah, maybe you delay the race. Yeah, maybe you even just give the women a 1 lap to go card. Whatever ... it's the heat of the moment and shit was flying chaotic like you wouldn't believe up in that speedway.

But after it's all said and done ~ to call out ... at Sea Otter ... Shelley Olds as the winner, over and over again through that echoing speaker system ~ letting it sink into her, her teammates, the team's volunteers and sponsors ... a win at Sea Otter ...

and then have it taken away from her after a fistfight of protests?

Unprofessional.
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but, Sea Otter rolls along. And we dig trenches to funnel the rains out of booths, we cover mudbogs as best we can, we ... grin with dirty teeth and work with shivering limbs and continue on.
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the racing goes on ... or whatever it is they do on these jumpy-things.
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and we cheer them on. huddling atop some frozen spine of the world for the next to come by ... we cheer.
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and we overcome.
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and we dance.
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24 comments:

chapski said...

dang we heard the rumors of Shelly all the way up here in Bend.
:)
SOrry to have missed all that rain.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't a win. Even if they'd left the result, it wouldn't mean anything anyway. I am sure she was fine with it.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

really?


wouldn't mean anything?

three months from now, no one would remember how it happened. but, the V on her resume would always be there.

it's huge.
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and, i was standing in the rains and the winds up on top of that speedway during their race.

i saw how that race was unfolding.

i saw how Bev Harper threw down over the top of that fukkal hill and stormed it down the backside, with Olds ripping legs to bridge across.

i saw Felicia Gomez take the KOM with utter ferocity.

i saw Webcor pulling out all the stops to try and control the race, dominate the race.
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it's a shame that it couldn't have ended better. it would have been one for the record books.

you had to be there.

marscat said...

we had such a fun, fun time...

Flandria said...

yeah...you just had to be there because those ladies fought hard and their faces showed that they mean business - rain, storm, wind, hail or shine

i won't forget it for sure

PAB(a.k.a.CID) said...

i dunno how you guys do all that, day after day. you and VB, you do good work.

admirable.

crazy.

admirably crazy?

Hooptie said...

The weather was insane, even by cyclo-cross standards. It had been dry all morning and as soon as the girls rolled out the skys opened up.

It was good they stopped the race, I was only feeding and I was ready to drop out. Shelley was probably one of the only girls itching for a re-start...she even changed into a dry kit and re-pinned her number.

Obviously the win would have had a big fat * next to it...but I am sure all the girls would have appreciated an 8k payout for their efforts...guess all the team directors thought otherwise.

PROMANgirl said...

For sure Shelley was shocked they called her the winner, but the other team managers were over anxious to scratch the result, giving up any claim to the prize money all the racers earned that day, so disapointing that they didn't call one to go, thats all they had to do. Dangerous conditions perhaps, but not anymore than say copperopolis in the rain, at least Laguna Seca is predictable and i would hope that most of those ladies could handle themselves in a bit of mud that ran onto the course. most of the gals i spoke to wanted the race to continue or restart. Shelley is tough on and off the bike and bounced back at santa cruz

Flandria said...

oh yeah...I won't forget the image of OV riding up and down the corkscrew with his little daisy bike in the storm...that was epic silliness

Anonymous said...

But just because Shelly was taking a pull thought the finish, she should be declared THE winner? If there had been a "one lap to go", then maybe. But the way they proclaimed her the winner initially was flat out unfair to all the other racers. The fact they decided they had to declare a winner was probably more for the promoters, evil money-hungry bastiches they are, than for the racers. After all, it looks bad for them not to have a 2007 winner.

Fair would be to refund, at least partially, to every racer. Toss in the prize money, too... all $4.13 cents of it.

Hearing more about a boycott for 2008.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

you put your foot on it, anony.

that a winner was declared was the problem.

and why no restart? isn't it one of the more prestigious of the NRCs ... or, does Sea Otter want to shuck the road completely? Certainly would make better financial sense.

still, i'm not one to support a boycott. i think it was poorly done, but that the circumstances were right hellish and it's always easy to second guess.


and yet ... i would have restarted. and i would have not declared a winner.

and i will never race the Panda up that f'ing hill again on the schwinn fair lady.

trac said...

"What happens in the first 80% of a bike race has an effect on the final 20%, but in the end it is only the last 20% that counts"

A quote from OV himself which I think applies nicely to this little controversy.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

only if you're allowed to race.


and only if you're paying attention and act upon what the race gives you.

trac said...

well that was the point.

... so what do they do with prize money? they have to give it back to the sponsors, no? if they get to keep it then that's just plain f'ed up.

Ippoc Amic said...

go panda go...daisy bike???... I missed it all since I was having fun in the booth & trying not to drown or get electrocuted...love the women who raced in those conditions including stellar, bella loca, liz, monica, katie, kim, and dirty marian...

X Bunny said...

i see no need for a 'boycott'

people will drift away naturally if they keeping dealing with suckage one year after another

and others will keep coming no matter what

X Bunny said...

and while i don't regret my decision to bag saturday's activities, i do wish i had seen oV on the schwinn with his flowers in the rain!

luckily, he'll be doing lots of similarly silly things to see in the future

X Bunny said...

and thanks to all you and your hunny did for every bella (and more) out there this weekend

incredible

now i gotta go bake some cookies so no more blogging...

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike - Thank goodness for those fleecy gloves!! I brought them home and washed them so they are sparkly clean and fluffy!!

Lisa H (lisa@euroduds.com)

veloandvino said...

I saw the booth, FAB! I was very afraid to get to close.

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

I think that there was a point at which one lap could have been called & that would have been fine (if memory serves me correctly, there were two nasty laps before the hail officially started). The arbitrary declaration of a winner and the public announcement of that decision are equally unfair in my eyes.

At this point I don't anticipate any refunding from the Otter people, but it would be nice of them to do that -- I mean, we have to pay the extra $30 tacked on to the reg fee so that we can walk through the festival to get to the start line, can't they at least refund that much?

And anytime I see OV on that purty fair lady...it's on!

PROMANgirl said...

word is that the ladies are getting race entry reimbursed as per Kendra Wenzel

Anonymous said...

Entry fee reimbursement is the least they can do and should have been an automatic when the race was declared cancelled. They should also pay out the sprint and QOM primes, instead of keeping the prize money (which doesn't go back to sponsors, but rather stays in the Otter coffer). Declaring a winner so arbitrarily would be hollow, even for the so-declared winnner. They would never have handled a pro men's race so haphazardly and would have at least given them a one-to-go. To pay out at least those parts of the race that were fairly completed would be just, and to sweep the whole race under the carpet reinforces a double standard.

Sweet Cheeks said...

that was beautiful!