Thursday, March 20, 2008

Langley and Werner Race the CA Senior Games

Sunday, March 16 was the Bay Area California Senior Games, which any athlete over 50 was invited to compete in towards qualifying to race in the Senior Olympics to be held next year. Recent joiner to the over-50 club Matt Werner, and Jim Langley attended and raced in the Over 50 and 55-59 categories respectively, of the 10K time trial (yes, only 10K). Here's a brief report with pictures to be added when possible (we hope).

It was a very fun event, low-key but run very professionally. The start was on the far end of Canada road, not where they do the other time trial. The reservoir was on our right when we started off and the course essentially took us down into a little dip, back up a gradual climb to the turn around, back into the dip and up the start/finish again.

We rode out and back, out and back, which made it exciting. They closed the road and even had metal barriers lining the course at the start and turnarounds so riders couldn't go wrong and so that the 10 spectators in attendance couldn't step onto the course. Matt and I were amazed at how organized it was for such a small event. They even had an official finishing chute with timing clock to the side and huge FINISH banner overhead -- and a nice podium.

They were also very strict about the starting order and times. I stupidly warmed up too long and actually missed my start. I was taking off my leg warmers and it suddenly dawned on me that if we were going off at 30-second intervals I was going to be late. I got over to the start and some official saw my number and hollered to the front of the line, "here's 238!" "here's 238!" The racers in line let me through to the front and off I went just a few seconds late. Pretty lucky, and it fired me up to go much harder than I had planned for the first leg, but on such a short course I don't think the fast start cost me much.

I saw Matt out on the course and he was flying considering he was one of the only guys out there completely old school, not even using aero bars. I had the whole kit, the bars, aero lid with shield and a tri-spoke wheel. It was windy so I knew Matt was at an aero disadvantage but he was going super smoothly and looked strong and put in a really nice ride taking second and earning the silver. I had a fast ride, too, and took the gold in the 55-59 and rode the fastest time of the day at 14:55 (thanks coach!).

I think my favorite part of the day was watching the 84-year old men's winner climb up onto the podium. He had to be helped up onto the top step because his legs didn't work very well, but he was sure happy to be out there competing and he looked just fine hammering in on his bike when Matt and I cheering him home. I also noticed that a guy in the 70 to 75 event had shaved legs still.

When some of you other folks become geysers, I recommend checking this event out.

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