I rarely have dreams about racing my bike. Last night my brain conjured up a bike racing nightmare.
The dream began with Nate and I driving before sunrise to a road race in the middle of nowhere central California. As the sun crept over the horizon, I noticed the shadow cast from the bikes strapped to the roof of the car onto the pavement below. I counted two total bikes. One had a set of drop bars, and one a set of flat bars. Shit, I had brought my mountain bike. Knobby tires and all. Not a good way to start a road race.
Racing in central California, in the middle of nowhere, means it's assuredly a Velo Promo event with all the charm of an unorganized carnival. After we arrived and parked our car, the race director announced all competitors where being transported to a different start location. We had to load our bikes and gear into a big prison-style bus for an hour long trip, deeper into the middle of nowhere. And of course Velo Promo Rick was our chauffeur.
Nate and I suited up, hopped on our bikes and rode a short preview of the course. Nate had raced here before, I had not. He was explaining the route was mostly flat, but that I had to make sure not to get dropped during the long climb at the start. As he easily rode away from me on short incline, I was trying to figure out how I was going to pull this race off on a mountain bike.
At the start line, I performed my usually last minute checks. I padded down my three rear jersey pockets, expecting to feel; race food, a spare tube and my race number - in that order. No such luck, I had forgotten to bring all of those items. My water bottle cages were also empty. The "I'm totally fucked" feeling swept over me, and I probably gained some gray hairs both in my dream and as slept in bed.
I dashed out of the start line towards race registration, where I was able to get another number. Except they had no more safety pins to put it on my jersey. They had extra water, but only in Dixie cup form.
As I rushed back to the start line, I spied an unattended Snickers bar on a picnic table and stashed it in my jersey as race food. I found Nate and handed him my jersey and race number. I asked him to figure out a way to attach my number as I ran back off to find some water bottles.
I noticed a cooler inside a parked car and outright stole 3 bottles from it. Had the car been locked, I am sure I would have smashed the window in this dream.
I returned to the start line to find Nate using the nougat and caramel from the Snickers bar to affix my number to my jersey. My stolen race food had been destroyed. I sprouted a few more gray hairs, the start gun went off and I woke up.
That nightmare was a culmination of all of the stressful fuck-ups I have experienced or contributed to before a race. I guess my greatest fear is not being prepared.
Here is a summary of my bike race mishaps. Every blooper I've listed could have been prevented with a little less pre-race retardation on my part.
- Forgotten bike shoes, DNS
- Forgotten bike shorts, raced and won in dress pants
- Forgotten helmet (on many, many occasions...)
- Destroyed multiple jersey zippers during a hasty zip-up
- Raced using my finger as a front derailleur
- Raced using my foot as a rear derailleur
- Flat tire at the start line, DNF
- Crashed hard without gloves, finished by having to hold my handlebars like I was playing a piano
- Slept through the start time
- Stopped mid-race to poop (I seem to do this at least once a season)
- Stopped mid-race to puke
- Raced an entire season fueled by Snickers and Pop Tarts
- Raced a cold out of my system
- Raced a cold into a really bad cold
Article was last edited on Friday, October 10th, 2008 @ 9:59 PM