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Mar. 15, 2006
Back on the bike--for most of the race anyway
Well, the Tour of California has come and gone. That was a wild ride. It was quite a sight to see from my perspective—a huge team effort by the many people and organizations that came together to make an event of this magnitude click.
This past weekend it was time to race my own bike once again. Paul and I had gotten in a few late-night and early-morning trainer sessions at the hotels during the Tour of CA, but for the most part I'd taken a bit of a break from the bike and it was nice to get back on and go racing.

The McLane Pacific race weekend is the first NRC weekend on the calendar and the racing is always fun and usually pretty fast. We ended up with a good day of dry weather for the Saturday crit and had at it. Round and round we went—some guys crashed here and there but my teammates and I managed to avoid each spill. With one and a half to go I was moving my teammate Eric up through the field, getting in position for the bunch sprint, when a group of dudes ate it in front of us. There was a gap that looked shootable—our only real chance of staying in contention was to make it through without scrubbing speed.

Let's just say, "A for effort;" but in the end it didn't work out. The gap closed remarkably quickly as gaps often do and our race was done. Equipment was mangled and bodies were beaten up. I was pissed. I remember wanting to yell a certain word that begins with F—one that really shouldn't be yelled. But when I stopped tumbling I quickly realized that we'd crashed right in front of the children's play area, and instead of yelling a swear word I fortunately just yelled some wordless growl. I'm sure it sounded pretty scary—but it wasn't a swear word. In fact, most kids probably think loud growls are pretty cool.

Where am I going with this? Who knows really. I think the point is that the sport of cycling has some real potential to grow in this country. With the Tour of California drawing huge spectator numbers and very positive response from the host cities and sponsors we're on the cusp of seeing cycling step up to a whole new level in this country. Races like the McLane GP and all the other wonderful races around the country aren't just for the racers—they play a big part in encouraging high-profile races like the Tour of Georgia and the Tour of California continue to grow and thrive.

From the amateur racers to the pros, we all have a responsibility to act as ambassadors for the sport of cycling. And I'm pleased that I growled instead of cursed—the last thing I'd want is for some of those families watching the race to not return next year. Who knows, that little kid on the jumpy slide could be a future cycling champion if he/she stays interested in the sport.

We're off to Fresno this weekend for NRC weekend number two. Hopefully, I can show the kids in Fresno my victory growl.
Posted by:
Le Sensation American
Team Clif Bar

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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