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This race report comes to us from Tom Cody, a member of the Rapha Racing NW crew residing here in Portland, Oregon. Tom is a familiar face in the local racing circuit but was also a member of the famous LA Sheriff squad that took the US Crit and Road Racing scene by storm in the early 1990's. Tom participated earlier this August in the USCF National Championship in Bend, Oregon. Tom also helped out with our Spring Summer shoot which took him back to LA, he can be seen throughout the City Riding collection. His anti-drug quote from the back of his LA Sheriff's teamcard: "Abuse your bike, not your body, your bike can take it."
Words by Tom Cody
In Act I you get paid to throw a leg over the saddle. The results matter. They determine your future, the future of your team, and the future of your teammates. Where you place defines you and those around you. In Act I, you sacrifice everything for a step on the podium or the gratification of knowing that you were vital in filling that step. Act I also sets you up well for the “I won’t always be paid to ride a bike” future: It gives you a work ethic and the ability to set and achieve goals. Thank God for Act I.
The years pass, and sooner or later you reach a tipping point, a rite of passage, offering a different perspective. That perspective drives different behaviors and produces different successes. You are wiser. You take a few deep breaths at the start line and bask in the moment. Racing is normal, a part of who you are, and as comfortable a ritual as your morning cup of coffee. As Act II matures, riding is no longer divided into training versus racing. It comes to the point where it is actually the process of riding that is rewarding. As my friend Steve Wright (last step on the podium in the crit) likes to say, “We all have to get up and go to work in the morning.”
On the first weekend in September the USCF National Championships in Bend pulled the curtain back on my second Act. Bend sets the perfect stage for Act II. The high desert landscape echoed the beauty and the rigor of a National Championship. The roads revealed the truth and determined the champions, but they also rewarded all comers. I was not a champion, but I was rewarded none the less.
What happened before and after the “Old Man’s Backyard Bike Derby” (as my teammate Todd Littlehales affectionately called it) was as important as during. However you want to characterize it, no one was getting paid in currency so it was important to relax, push your limits, and indulge in the experience.
We did. Part of the reward was racing with my teammate John Grochau in the crit, averaging nearly 30 miles an hour, and diving into corners hand to hand with guys from around the country. An immediate bond and respect accompanied the intensive and searing speed. There were also some good laughs. When John and I were caught out behind a crash with three laps to go, he gracefully commented “I guess that race is over,” and took to helping others untangle their bikes and bodies. In the road race, as the second lap unfolded, John found the front and made the move. He was caught, but he had the sense and panache to go. In both cases the model Act II player.
Not all who participated appreciated of the significance of Act II. There were plenty of tears, and F-bombs and overreactions. But for a group of us, on a long sunny weekend in Bend, we had a great ride. Some of us reached the podium. All of us will be back next year.
- @Barry8012 @RaphaCycleClub You’re most welcome Simon, thanks for your feedback.
- @antmccrossan Thanks Anthony.
- @brettrothmeyer nice cap drawing by the way!
- @Jack_Sadler @raphacondor We’re honoured to have you riding for us Jack.
- RT @dean0downing: I had 6 great seasons with the @raphacondor team, thanks to all at @rapharacing for the support through out. http://t.co/…
- @dean0downing @raphacondor Thank you Dean, it’s been an incredible journey.
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