Mind your equipment

Some things don’t belong in races.

To the rider in the Shreve road race: you must remove that giant saddle bag attached to your bike. Especially since it contains a bunch of tools that clank around every time you hit a bump. But if you do insist on racing with it, you must at least keep your bike on the road at all times. Otherwise, people will really think you have no clue what you’re doing.

I’m thinking this guy unknowingly jumped in the wrong race. It was a bit chaotic at the start, with all fields rolling out of the school to the actual starting point. When the 1/2/3 field took off, I’d guess this guy just followed along. I think he disappeared the second time up the hill.

I’ll admit to doing early spring races on questionable equipment. Like this year, on my winter bike with fenders that kept rubbing on the tires (why was it so hard going up hill???). And a few years go, on my winter bike with only a front brake (it was a Team Columbus race, so the “only rule is green” format applied).

I remember a guy doing the Malabar Farm race in the 1/2/3 field on a mountain bike … with fat tires, bunny-hopping the pot holes.

And a spring Covered Bridge race, where the super-strong XC skier (forget his name), wearing plastic grocery bags over his shoes, rode away from the field because no one knew who he was.

My most memorable equipment oddity is the time when Jon Hensel showed up at the New Waterford Race for Sight on his time trial bike. It wasn’t a sanctioned race, and the promoter had no rules against it. In the opening miles Jon took off in the aero position at 30+ mph. I managed to go with him, and then let him drag me all the way to the finish. There was no point in me pulling, because given Jon’s height, I literally gave him no draft. Well, because of Jon’s height he gave me little draft also: I was pretty much below any ‘sweet spot’ following him.

I’m pretty sure it was the fastest overall finish time for that race (which, sadly, is no more).

When I rode back to my car after the Shreve race finished, the guy parked next to me was packing up. He had a day-glo orange, 1990-ish, Lemond bike with downtube shifters. I said, “old-school, eh?”.

He told me it had just started riding a month ago. Had just bought the bike (used, obviously), and that this was his first race.

I won’t make fun of that equipment. If it were me, and I arrived at the race and saw all the new bikes, shaved legs, and pro-looking kits, I think I would have found an excuse to go do the coffee shop ride. So he’s got more guts than I have.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Mind your equipment

  1. Bob Martin

    Kip Brady was the XC Skier with bags on his feet that rode away @ the covered bridge race many years ago.

  2. Brian

    Do you remember that too? Pretty funny.

    That reminds me … he was the guy who, while out on a group ride in late December, got shot with a paint ball gun at close range (bsome hillbilly in a car). It was red and exploded on his jacket, making us initially think he’d really been shot.

  3. Yep, Kip Brady. I was on that ride when Kip was “shot”. That was out in Brimfield (aka, Brimtucky).

    Back to the main topic …

    I’ve raced many times in the spring with a fender attached. Not sure about the rules regarding that, but I don’t much care. When it’s wet, the little extra weight is well worth keeping my arse & back dry (or, at least, less wet) and – more importantly – fee of road grit.

    Long ago (as in, the 90’s) I remember doing some races where Brad Hansen’s shoes were together by duct tape. He usually handed everyone a drubbing during the race, so there was no commentary about that piece of equipment oddity.

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