Skip to main content

Today's Race


Nigel at the Brownstown Race

At 0845 this morning, I had rode in the first of two road races I will do this weekend before heading back to Iraq. Today's race, the Brownstown Road Race, was flat and offered no state championship points to participants, so there were not be many participants in the 55+ category--and none of the state/national championship riders that filled the field in last week's race. The race was also close to home so my daughter Lisa and I could ride the 12 miles to and from the race as a warm-up for me and cross training for her. When we arrived, she ran around the five-mile course while I finished warming up.

The eight 55+ riders started with about 30 racers in the 45+ category. With mixed categories, the older guys who stay with the younger group are the top finishers. As we made the sharp left turn toward the finish line on the 2nd of five laps, I felt like I might be able to hang on to the pack for most, if not all of the race, then in the middle of the turn I heard a rider yelling "Flat!!" and bikes started to swerve wide in the corner. I ended up in the dirt off the edge of the road. When racers hear another rider is in trouble, especially if the hear the thud and yells of a crash behind them, they ride as hard as they to drop all those trapped behind the crash. I tried to catch back on, but couldn't.

I rode the next two laps with another 55+ rider who was dropped. We passed the guy I thought would win 55+. He crashed--just scrapes and bruises--and was on the side of the road. Two more of the 55+ riders dropped out and I was 4th!!! My best result in my trip home because in today's race, there is no age-group. I will be racing with 20 and 30-year-olds on a hilly course. It should be a very short race for me.

As Lisa and I started the ride home, Lisa said that I definitely had the loudest cheering section. She and my wife and son Nigel cheered every lap as they did last week and were the only people cheering for 55+ category racers. "It's worse than when we were little," Lisa said. "Back then one or two other riders had a cheering section, now it's just you." There were other people watching the race. On the oppostie side of the road from my family, several large Amish families were gathered at the fence near the start-finish. The girls in dresses and boys in pants and with suspenders, all in bare feet, watched the race intently and, as my wife said after the race, stole more than a few glances at my African-American son Nigel standing between his blond-haired, blue-eyed mother and sister.

Popular posts from this blog

Different Water for Sinks and Toilets--Camp Beuhring, Kuwait, and Amtrak

On the train to Philadelphia recently, the toilets had water, but the sinks did not in the last two cars. I walked three cars away from my seat to wash my hands. On the way back, I let the conductor know about the lack of water.  He said there are different water systems for the sinks and the toilets.  Then smiled and said the water is blue in the toilets.  
I told the conductor about a morning at Camp Beuhring, Kuwait, in April 2009. We were there for training before we went to Camp Adder, Iraq.  During our two-week stay, we slept in 77-man tents.  Outside the tent were several sinks and mirrors just standing in the open on the sand. I wish I had a picture.  
About twenty yards away were Porta-Johns or Shit Ovens, which everyone called the plastic enclosures when the temperature approached 120 degrees.  One morning just after down I went out to the sinks, brushed my teeth, then walked toward the Porta-Johns.  One of the soldiers just stepped out of one and was walking toward me.  
H…

Ten Years Ago Today: Cold War Soldier Starts Re-enlistment Process

The Night Before Basic, Killing Brain and Lung Cells
On January 31, 1972, I flew to Texas to begin basic training. On April 2, 2007, ten years ago today, I called Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Askew, recruiting sergeant for the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, and began the process of re-enlisting after 23+ years as a civilian.  I was 53 years old at the time, about to turn 54.

In the Spring of 2007, The Surge in Iraq was in full swing and recruitment for the Army was down a lot. The economy was good, Congress would not even consider re-starting the Draft, so in late 2006 Congress raised the maximum first-enlistment age for the Army from 35 to 42 years old.

The program was a failure and was rescinded three years later. But that failed program allowed me to re-enlist.  The maximum enlistment age for soldiers with prior service is the enlistment age plus the years of prior service plus a one-year waiver.  I needed all of that.

I called three recruiters before I called Kevin. He was the first one…

My Last Tanker Nickname: Oddball

Donald Sutherland as Oddball, a tank commander in the movie "Kelly's Heroes"
I got my last tanker nickname more than a decade after I earned the nickname Sgt. Bambi Killer.I got that nickname on a business trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2000.The company I worked for just bought a company in Brazil and I was part of a team that went to Brazil to introduce ourselves to the people who ran the business.
Sao Paulo has traffic that makes Los Angeles look like Omaha, so the local managers sent a limo for the four of us. This meant we could be more comfortable on the three-hour 20-mile trip from the airport to downtown. 
At the time I had a beard and still had a lot of brown hair.  Among the local staff people who were waiting to meet us was my now long-time friend Ivan Porccino. Ivan speaks five languages and was assigned as our interpreter.  When we got in the car, Ivan introduced us to the driver and said we would be in Sao Paulo for a few days. The driver said, “I love Americ…