Yeah, yeah, it’s been a long time. Quit yer whining and listen up. My “little” sister (okay, she’s 44) brightened my day today by sending a bunch of slides she’s been scanning from my dad’s 35mm slide collection. (Click on them to see them bigger.)
This one is the lineup of my first race, sponsored by Ski Market on the New York State Office Building Campus in Albany, NY. Junior men went five miles. I’m back a few rows in a CCM hockey helmet (thanks to Bob Maswick) on my repainted Sears 10-speed sporting tube socks, cut off jeans and Nike running shoes. I led the entire last lap and got fourth, not knowing any better.
This was my second race. Bike’s been upgraded to a Peugeot PX 10 LE–the first of two bikes I ever financed through my dad–but the rest of my kit is still pure dork. That’s John Connaly, I think, behind me. Three got away and I took the field sprint for fourth.
Oh. My. God. I’d had shoulder-width hair prior to racing. I think I put my helmet on and cut off whatever else stuck out. Coulda been worse. Coulda had man boobs. That’s little sister on the right looking on in awe. Or is that horror?
That’s Leslie Moore’s bike I’m holding a year later, lining up for the next year’s Cohoes Crit. Her hands were full and I was agog. Leslie is the only person I’ve ever seen race in mascara. She used to do the men’s races in New York, so we actually got to know each other a little as packmates. This year I stomped on the pedals, intending to break right from the start, and cocked my rear tire against the chainstay when the hub slipped in the chrome dropout. I hopped off, made the fix, then chased the three man break in a solo pursuit for fourth place. Are you starting to see a pattern here?
Did a bunch of training that winter. Those are wool shorts made by my mom, silk-screened in art class by me with my last name. Small diameter rollers gave lots of resistance. I used to kill myself down there all winter, rocking out to Chicago and/or Paul McCartney and Wings. Gimme a break. It was the 70′s. Disco was the other choice.
Dad thought it was funny to open the freezer door to cool me off. Felt pretty good, actually. Look at the size of that head tube. I’m all legs.
Did a spring break bike tour in March with Les Young and Alan Wozniak, two of my Colonie Central High School classmates. We rode from Albany to Lake George for a campout and pretty much frozes our heinies off in all that lovely polyester. Still the 70′s, remember.
Good summer of racing, yadda, yadda. Now it’s late summer and time for the Cohoes Criterium. Solo guy takes off, three of us chase, including John Connaly (far right). That’s me in Serotta red/white/blue on my soon-to-be-retired Peugeot. (Phil Fisher would have my custom bike finished the following May.) Okay, so it comes down to the four of us sprinting for the finish. I got fourth. Just kidding. I won finally. Best ten seconds of my life…until the pain burst through the adrenalin rush. Spent another 19 years chasing that dragon, but it was never as good as that first one. The junkies are all nodding their heads.
There. Aren’t you glad you checked back one last time?
Here’s a bonus: catching air on the second-ever bike my dad financed for me. Rye Airfield, Rye, New Hampshire, May 2008.