Tag Archives: driving

Don’t race and drive

Racing your bike can make you stupid. Literally. Particularly after a hard race or ride.

Sometimes after a race I’ll unlock my car, then spend 10 minutes looking for the key again, only to find that I was holding it in my hand. I’ve come home from long, hard rides and then gotten into arguments over whether the temperature was good for riding.

It must be something about low blood sugar and brain function (and a quick google search would appear to confirm that).

Which is why I usually have a can of Coke ready to drink after a race.

But sometimes I forget, or I wait too long after the race is over. Or, like yesterday, when the promoter schedules awards for 2 hours after the race finish, and you are waiting around and don’t think to start eating something. That’s a bad idea when you have a 4-hour drive home from Michigan after racing for 80 miles.

I was driving along in a bit of a daze, with the cruise control on, absorbed in a “This American Life” podcast. At one point, I half-recognized that the mile marker numbers don’t make sense (driving 23 South to Toledo, they count down to 1, and these were counting up). But in my daze, it just didn’t register. So I kept driving.

After a while longer, I came a construction zone, had to cancel the cruise control and start paying attention. I realized that I did not recognize the exits. I pulled the GPS out of the glove box, turned it on, and saw that I was on my way towards Chicago. I’d driven 25 miles in the wrong direction. I think the road split in Ann Arbor, and I hadn’t even noticed.

Action #1 was to turn around. Action #2 was to get some food and then caffeine.

It was a long ride home.

Side Note:
But it was at least a long drive home in a new Jetta Sportwagen TDI, which I’ve concluded is the perfect bike racing car.



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The worst drivers live in …

My money would be “Illinois” based on yet another experience driving up to Superweek.

Even on the Ohio and Indiana turnpikes, when someone would pass on the right at 85+ mph, or suddenly speed up as I was passing, I would look at the license plate: Illinois.

Driving through the construction zones outside of Chicago, where the posted speed limit is 45mph, the average speed of traffic seemed to be about 80. The going fast isn’t really a problem, but the going fast when the lanes are narrowed and cars are weaving in and out of lanes at random is … a bit frightening.

So I was thinking, I wonder if anyone has actually tried to quantify who are the worst drivers. And came across this:

Illinois isn’t even close to the worst, according to this list

But I’m thinking their methodology is flawed. I think it would be better to take a randomly-selected group of drivers, and make them drive in the different areas and then record their ‘terrified to drive here’ responses. Or let them drive for a whole year and have them tally every stupid-driver-trick they witness, along with the state on the offender’s license plate.

My money would still be on Illinois.


Superweek update:

Going by the first race, the number of racers is down this year: only 40 in the Masters field vs. approximately 60 last year, so I’d say the current economic climate is having an impact.

Coming here and racing without teammates is always a little disorienting at first. Racing against guys and teams you don’t normally race against, it’s hard to get a feel for how the races are likely to play out. I told myself to be patient. Easy to say, but then the legs do otherwise.

In the end I used too much unnecessary energy going with or starting moves that didn’t work. Off the front solo a couple of times. Then missed the critical 2 man move in the closing laps.

But now that Tris has offered to open a bottle of D’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz if I bring home a win, now I’m “super-motivated” (as the US Posties were known to say).

Day 2 Update:

Well the promise of good wine was strong, but just wasn’t quite enough to get the job done. It was close though.

Ended up spending most of the race off the front, either solo or in any number of attacks (I have lost count now). The final move went with 2 laps to go (about 2 miles). I managed to go with it. Three of us came to the line for the win. After being off the front for so long, didn’t have all that much in the sprint, but managed to grab a 2nd place finish.


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