Saturday, April 11, 2009

Stations of the Cross or Fiesta Grande Omnium

(*Author's Note: This post has many sacrilegious statements. If you're a strong believer in literal interpretations of the Bible, you will be offended by this post. FYI.)

Good Friday

April 10, 2009 was Good Friday. It was a good Friday for me because I got the day off. It's also the day that the Catholic church memorializes the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Two days later he is purported to have resurrected. There's a been a lot written about Jesus Christ and his resurrection, and you'll find none of that here. If you're looking for more, I suggest you visit our good friends at

Anyway, Friday was the first stage of the Fiesta Grande Omnium. An Omnium is a stage race where riders are alloted points for their placings in the various stages. Unlike stage races, a rider does not have to finish any of the stages. He or she can pick and choose from the various stages if he or she chooses. I chose to do the whole enchilada which entailed a time trial (TT) on Friday, a criterium on Saturday, and a road races on Sunday.

In his book Jesus, Elvis and Coca Cola, Kinky Friedman said that he and Jesus had a lot in common. They were both Jewish, and they both traveled around the country annoying people with things they said.

I'm not Jewish, and I've been told, however, I've annoyed a lot of people by things I've said. So I've got that going for me. Like a lot of Westerners and Gentiles, I have a lot more in common with the Buddha in terms of up bringing.

Friday: TT

As I said I had Friday off, so I slept in. My time trial start was not until 6 30 pm, so I felt no sense of urgency to get down to San Antonio to get ready for the time trial. I lolled around the house, I switched out cassettes on my bikes, and I put my carbon brake pads on my TT bike.

I left the house at 3:30 thinking I would have ample time to get to the start, pick-up my number, and warm-up.

I was wrong.

For some reason Good Friday meant bad traffic. There was a big hold up in Selma and Schertz which delayed my arrival to the TT start to about 5:15. I still needed to sign in, and sign a waiver and collect my number. There was a long line for registration, so I spent 20 minutes on line to get my number. I also found out my start time moved up to 6:01.


I hustled, and got my stuff together and set up the trainer for my warm-up. The course was on the Ft. Sam Houston, and was supposed to be closed. It was a really nice 5 mile loop with a bunch of turns to keep it interesting. Unfortunately, I didn't get to pre-ride the course because I was late, and the first rider went off at 5:30. I got over to the start line at 5:55, and got in line.

There was a start ramp, I got rolled up to. Again, I picked too big a gear and when it was my time to go, I almost fell over. I got a good fast moving start, and was settling into a groove when I a saw a bus turn on to the course. I started to get nervous because I had no idea where the course was, and I was afraid I missed a turn. I saw my 30 second man in front of me, so I kept on going, and eventually I saw signs pointing the way.

At about mile 1.5, I was passed by a fellow rider. I was relieved in a way because I knew I was on the right course, then I heard a terrible sound, and I felt something give way beneath me. I looked between my legs, and my seat was gone. I passed through the intersection, and the police officer directing traffic asked me what happened, and I shouted, "I lost my seat!"

I was down wind, and moving at a pretty good clip. At that point, I started thinking about bailing out of the TT. I couldn't sit down after all. I stood up pedaling for a few minutes, and I thought, Well, I came all this way, I might as well finish. So I kept on rolling down the course without a seat.

Prior to the race, I joked with Velocity Cycling club members that like Jesus, I would get "crucifried" on the Friday. It turns out I was a prophet of sorts. I got passed by a couple of other riders, and none commented on the absent seat. I rolled through the start finish standing up, and again nobody seemed to notice the absent seat.

During the second loop, I started to get tired especially into the wind. I started wondering how this latest happening would bode for the rest of my race. Back in February I did a spin class which involved a lot of standing intervals, and I was sore for days afterwards. Would this event so affect me?

I finished the TT with a time of 28:45. I managed to average 20 mph, standing up! Lord, knows how I would have done if I actually got to sit down. I ended up with 30th place.

After the race, I inspected my bike. At first I thought my seat post had broken, and it turns out my seat go loose and fell off . I drove back to the intersection to find my seat. I thanked the police officer for collecting my seat for me. Here's a pic of my bike in the aftermath.

Will I inspire a new religion where lone seat posts will be the icon? Only time will tell.


On Saturday, I drove back down to San Antonio for my next station of the cross for the Fiesta Grande Omnium. The criterium. The race was at the San Antonio Police Academy's driving course. It was a .78 mile course with a few sharp turns. The race was for 45 minutes. It was overcast and windy. Learning from my previous experience, I got down to the race start early and had a good warm-up. I was sad to see a few folks I've raced with at the Thursday Night criterium were in my race. I knew then that it wasn't going to be an easy race.

The wind was coming in from the Northwest, so we had a tailwind on part of the course, and a headwind for most of the course.

The pace was pretty quick for the first 10 minutes or so, and I was feeling okay, and I managed to improve my position a couple of times in the tailwind and hairpin turn sections. For the middle section of the race the pace settled into something a bit more manageable. With 2 laps to go, I fell off the back, and could not keep the pace. The group sped up significantly. I wasn't too surprised because I've been racing the Thursday Night criteriums which are only 30 minutes, and I had pretty much raced my limit. There was a big pack sprint, and I ended up coming in 29th. Not bad considering I've been only back for a month or so.

Easter-No Resurrection Here
Two days after Jesus was crucified it is reported that he rose from the dead. After two stages of the Fiesta Grande, I was in 30th and 29th. Not a great showing.

The next day was the the 48 mile road race. The morning started with rain and heavy winds which gave way to clear blue skies and lots of wind.

The course was pretty challenging with lots of hills. I managed to stay with the pack for the first part of the first loop. On the first significant hill my heart rate spiked to 190, and I fell off the back. I chased the pack for a while, and then packed it in for a DNF (Did Not Finish).

It was a pretty tough race, and I'm way out of shape.

I'm still pretty tired from my exertions, and I know I'm well underway for getting back into shape.

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

jessica o said...

When I was a non-Catholic in Catholic school, I was forced to take a nap I mean sit in the pew while the "good" children confessed their dirty rotten secrets in a closet (where secrets belong). I would stare disgustedly I mean reverently at the memorialized murder of the "son of God". NTTAWWT.