Wow! This past weekend was #6 in the series. You can take a peak at all the pics on Flickr. But I dedicate #6 to the spectator. Sorry in advance for the blog length, but well, it was a long day.
It was a heavy hitting Cross weekend in Colorado with the Colorado Cross Classic Saturday and the Boulder Cup CX Sunday. And both were UCI events where the big girls and boys come out to play. And it was time I took the opportunity to be a spectator, and not just a racer.
There’s a fair bit of preparation and responsibility that comes with being a spectator. You definitely need the Terrier Tenacity, combined with endurance, if you are in it for the full day. But you also need to put your game-day face on, grab your cow-bell and harness your enthusiasm, and you need to “be there” for your favorite racer. And just like the racer, there are equipment and apparel concerns for the spectator. But before I go into the spectator gear and preparation, here’s a little bit about my race.
I’ve noticed the last couple of races that the hardest course obstacle for me is the barrier placed on an uphill. And let me say that Sunday’s Boulder Cup race was no exception. Maybe it’s my corgi-like legs, but it always feel like the barriers are six inches higher for me than anyone else.
Well this actually was the case on Sunday. For some reason the judges/officials changed the course between the time I raced at 8 AM and the time the Elite Women raced at 2:30. And well, take a peak and compare the same part of the course with me (left) and then in the later race with pro rider Katie Compton (right)…
And although I’m certain Katie Compton has absolutely no idea who I am, she might remember her inspirational one-liner to me, “Your race will be just as hard as mine.” K. Compton did indeed have a hard race Sunday; after a good win on Saturday at the Boulder Reservoir, she crashed Sunday and ended up abandoning the race. But wait! The story doesn’t end here. Let’s back up…
So, as if getting yourself to your 8 AM race isn’t hard enough, getting yourself to a race with all you need for spectating all day afterward, in all possible weather conditions, is even harder.
Because, besides the basics like clothing and food, you have to consider outside needs and responsibilities like family who might depend on you. In my case it was the Tall Southern Guy and the two hounds.
So into the wagon we packed: two dogs, two dog beds, two bikes (one for the Southern dude), one extra set of wheels because I’d learned my lesson, team tent, two bags of gear and changes of clothes, cooler (more on that later) , three folding chairs, tire pump, some tools, a thermos full of coffee, and two cow-bells. All packed and ready to go by 5:45 AM.
I have to apologize here to JK. Because what I hadn’t put in the wagon was a costume. She kind of gave me the evil eye when she pulled up in her Colorado Wagon. Now, I had said that I was going to wear and race in a costume, but by the time I had packed everything but a Partridge and Pear Tree I was starting to feel seriously overwhelmed. It wasn’t the thought of wearing the costume, it was the costume preparations. I had thought maybe I’d be the Stig (tame cycling racer), or a cowgirl, but in the end I just wore my Socks. And even they got somewhat obscured because I was a puss who couldn’t bear to take off her knee-warmers. JK looked great though as Pocahontas. And during the race there was a Bee, a few tutus, and my favorite, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Well I had packed the cooler but what I hadn’t brought was anything inside of it. So after my race, while Tall Southern Guy went for a ride with his pals, I went to forage for some vittles. Fortunately JK had brought a mac-daddy of a Coleman grill so we could grill out. I grabbed my bike and went out in search of beverages and food for all. I would like everyone to know that it is possible to fit a case of PBR, a 750ml bottle of Chimay, a bag full of ice, two dozen cookies, a bottle of mustard, a bottle of catsup, buns, a dozen hamburgers, a packet of cheese, paper plates and some napkins into large SealLine bag, What is perhaps more amazing is that a 5 foot 100lb woman could carry it on a bike back to Spectator Camp.
We supped, we sipped and we spectated. Given that I don’t know all the Cycling Protocols & Mores, I’m not certain if I broke any with my spectating efforts. I can certainly say I gave it my all. I rang my bell with a fierceness that could rival any Vuvuzuela, and I yelled and implored every rider along that course as if my life depended on it. And I was reworded for my efforts twice.
And the other thanks came from the winner of the Women’s Elite race Georgia Gould. It was almost at the end of the men’s race and we were close to the finish line watching, and I noticed her walking around eating an apple, like a mere mortal.
I yelled over to her “Congrats on your race.” And don’t you know she walked over and started chatting with me.
I introduced myself as the crazy woman in Socks who had been screaming “Go Georgia! Go!” at today’s race, and at Interlocken a few weeks ago when she raced in the Men’s Open division. She said she loves hearing people cheer for her, even from people she doesn’t know, that it really helps keep the energy level high.
Perhaps in no other sport do spectators have the access to the elite and pros like they do in cycling. Georgia Gould had a great race, and she made my day a great one too. I’ll be yelling for you Georgia in Fort Collins in a couple of weeks, and if Katie’s there I’ll yell for her too. And I have a special cow-bell just for @muddylegs and family.
As for Every Day design, here are three.
- There’s the cool Mavic yellow shoes that Georgia had on that I later found out were podium shoes, and they are not available for retail, even for cycling geeks.
- There’s the super awesome, ergonomic SealLine bag designed with a capacity to satisfy the urban camp needs of 6 people on a picnic.
- And finally there’s the perfect Coleman camping stove that is suitable even for an outdoor epicurean.
Mountain Moon Photography thanks for getting up for an 8AM race! Race images from Mountain Moon Photography.
See you this coming Saturday at School Yard Cross.