2014 GMR Challenge Time Trial: Post Race
Bookending our group rides, or weekend races, are two ritual periods. The Gathering, of course, precedes the main event; there tends to be a familiar pattern to this block of time, bullet points in a rather predictable outline. What takes place after the ride, or race, very often follows a familiar course as well.
This morning i rode over to Glendora Mountain Road (GMR) for the annual hill climb time trial, being presented by Lightening Velo. I knew the first rider was to head off at 8:00am, but i dawdled at home anyway. Without a start list i didn't know how many competitors to expect, nor when the last one would leave the grip of the starting holder. As luck would have it i managed to arrive just as the final rider jumped free to begin his quest. The time was 9:00am. As i settled in with the clustered group of family and friends to await the return of the riders, i began to wonder how to turn this nothing (no actual race photos) into something.
The Home Coming. An hour elapses, then another. Riders trickle in, ones and twos, occasionally more. Those who have people awaiting their return greet them, or are greeted, in various ways; hugs, kisses, high fives. Next come the questions - how did it go, what was your time, did you see so-and-so? As usual this banter rebounds back and forth for a while, more or less. As teammates, or rivals roll back and congregate, this kind of talk continues, though tends to become even more specific and detailed, after all they have gone through the same experience, noted the same steep pitches of tarmac, those that were more level, sweated the same switchbacks.
Word filters in that at young rider, a junior racer, went down when his wheels slid out in a patch of sand while descending. We know who it was, so a pair of nervous parents make their way to their car and head up the mountain. (A little less skin than when he started, but otherwise ok). Well past the two hour wait mark there is a large gathering (small 'g'). Some of the natives are getting restless, but there is still no definitive word on how much longer the wait will be. Officials are still at the top, at the finish, and they can't, won't leave until the last rider crosses the line - the rumor on that point is that a very young competitor is making headway at four miles per hour (by my calculations that would be two point five hours for the nine mile route). There are more riders here now than i expected, but many are un-numbered, and probably just stopped by on their morning ride. Whatever the case, they join in on the conversations among various groupings scattered around. Those conversations may slow, or pick up pace, they may change direction, or cease completely. The one given is that they revolve around racing - this days, last weekends, or tomorrows are all worthy and likely topics. This is the post race flow of small talk and serious debate.