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Racing Report

I’m going to race this summer, probably on mountain bikes. My friend that owns the bike shop I go to sponsors a team and we had both been anticipating that I join the team once spring arrived. I met my friend, the bike shop owner when I first moved to the Cities, but that was when I lived in Shelbyville (St. Paul). I came in every once in a while to get my bike fixed over there – quite a long way from my house. Now, my boyfriend is in cahoots to be the new owner of this shop in the next 10 years (they knew each other before me), and I’m babysitting the guy’s daughter. For privacy reasons, or whatever, I don’t want to use anybody’s names, but the bike shop is Behind Bars in NE Mpls. I got to know this individual better last year when I raced for the other team he sponsors, Grumpy’s/Little Guy Racing, a bunch of ex-messengers made up the bulk of the team. Little Guy, however, the flagship of the team, was still a working messenger when he raced.

There are so many opportunities in the summer to race, sanctioned or not, it’s crazy. Just about every week there is an alley-cat advertised on www.mplsbikelove.com. Winning money or bike parts or respect is what usually comes out of the event – if you win. There are many variations of the alley cat nowadays, especially since it has spawned from primarily bike messengers throwing these races. The term “alley cat? compared to “road race? came from the difference that you are racing downtown, down alleys, through stoplights and pedestrians, swerving through cars and cops. It is an illegal bike race, technically. But so are most fun things. Last summer at an all-girl alley cat, one of the women who had never raced before, was at the back of the pack and got picked off by a cop. She received a ticket from the ordeal, but once the prize committee heard what happened, a new prize category was formed for “First time racing and getting a ticket?, from which the winnings provided the means to pay off the ticket.

I want to be a professional bicycle racer. This goal collides with my goal to finish school sometimes. But, once I’m old and fat, I’ll need some vocation to fall back on, to sit at a desk and relieve those joints. On nice days like today, all I can think about is how the sun and wind would feel on my face right now if I was cruising down the road. Nice weather means being able to sweat again, to clear out the system. It’s a mind over matter problem. Or, I should say, playing mind tricks on myself. Bargaining that when I get A done, B will be soon to follow. But I know once A is done, it will be dark, and I will be tired. So I’ll have to save the bike ride for another day. I just keep telling myself this until school is done. May is the hardest month to force myself to stay inside. Going for a ride for me, is not just riding around the lakes. I like to pack up, maybe take a book, and leave for a few hours. Until I get out of the city, out of traffic lights and pot-holes. I’m not satisfied until I know that I’ll be exhausted when I get home. Every ride is a training ride. Every ride means going as fast as possible for as long as I can. That’s where the adrenaline rush comes. That’s where I’m not thinking about anything but the surroundings and how much I can push myself to my mental and physical limits. That sort of thing makes me happy.

The first race of the “MN Cycling Made Real? women’s series was about a week ago in Sogn Valley, MN. I raced it last year, because it goes right by my parent’s house, and I rode those back roads all the time growing up. I got first place, and it was great. I wanted to do the race this year, but this semester is hitting me hard. I have no time for recreational activities (boo-hoo), but that makes me want it all the more… next year.