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My sistah is rockin'!
Last Post 10/06/2016 08:07 PM by Frederick Jones. 9 Replies.
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79pmooney

Posts:1735

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07/06/2016 10:45 AM
My "sister" on the bike, Mara Abbott.  Much more talent, much better looking, but we have the same builds and bike abilities.  We live to go uphill.

Mara today did her stuff.  Despite crashing, she won the Mortirolo stage and took the lead by 10 seconds.  Tomorrow has 4 climbs so that should also be good for her.  Go Mara!

Ben
ChinookPass

Posts:809

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07/07/2016 02:34 PM
They should be showing this race instead of the tour. Looks exciting. Hard to keep Boels Dolmans down for long. Americans seem to be among the top climbers.
79pmooney

Posts:1735

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08/09/2016 03:18 PM
I just read Leonard Zinn's article on that other website on Mara's near Gold. Good article. Apparently he has known her since she was a non-cycling teen.

What a ride! Those who did not see the race will remember three three medalists. Those of us who watched will remember Mara's ride, perhaps longer than the medalist's names.
Orange Crush

Posts:1996

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08/09/2016 05:07 PM
I think what I'll remember is van Vleuten's crash and her lying motionless in a heap on that curb. That's probably the scariest crash I've ever seen. But she seems on the mend.

The slo-mo chases along the beach in mens and womens races were also memorable. The names, yes they'll be forgotten.

Answer me one thing, the USA women's bibs (or at least Abbott's), they were waaaay short. What was up with that? It just looked wrong.
longslowdistance

Posts:1474

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08/09/2016 05:59 PM
Yes, so glad she is recovering well and I hope her recovery is 100%, which is not guaranteed. I was truly afraid for her watching the crash live on TV. She is one tough bike rider.

Nibali was descending so fast that the camera moto could not keep up, so we did not see his crash. Hope he is OK, too.
Porte's crash at about the same spot was major. It's hard to fracture a scapula - there usually is other major damage, too.
A technical descent is good, but this was just a bit too tough. Perhaps the one flaw in an otherwise magnificent championship course.
Orange Crush

Posts:1996

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08/09/2016 09:30 PM
I didn't think the descend was super hazardous. But with that curb the consequence of a crash was really high. Also, with a once in four year opportunity there was probably some extra risk taking.
79pmooney

Posts:1735

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08/09/2016 09:38 PM
Zinn mentioned Abbot's tight clothing as one of the things done right by Abbott and those supporting her. But now that you mention it, yeah, that properly tight clothing for that TT to the finish did reveal all aspects of the rest of her garments. They should have thought of that detail weeks ago. (I suspect she is a lot longer than the usual woman of her girths. Still, this is the big time. Get it right! But, right on, sis, for not even thinking about it. You had more important things on your plate.)

Ben
79pmooney

Posts:1735

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08/09/2016 09:48 PM
OC, I have feared outside curbs a long time. Even just parallel curbs. I was moving up behind a rider on the right going into a Cat 3,4 sprint 40 years ago thinking I had a great tow to get into contention. Another rider moved toward my tow. To avoid contact, he moved right. Hit the curb. His scream is still etched in my brain. A fellow racer rode another lap and told me of the guy's injuries. Not pretty.

I think I will continue to ride Abbott-like and back off for outside curbs as I have been dong in recent years. Must be getting old. I'd much rather waste many of my descents and avoid just one of those biggies.

Funny how that road "improvement" is one of my bigger fears. I would so much rather just fly off into the bush.

Ben
79pmooney

Posts:1735

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10/06/2016 07:56 PM
My sistah's retired. I feel a sadness. I just read the article she wrote that the Wall Street Journal published.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/mara-abbott-my-ride-in-rio-1471629428

Got me thinking of my last two races, 1978. The season after my head injury. I knew going in it was my last. In July, I asked to be upgraded to a 2 so I could ride the Mt Washington road race. Grace Jones, our USCF (or whatever the initials were back then) district rep (who was at our club's award dinner when I was in a coma) upgraded me. Spent the rest of the summer getting dropped like a rock in 1-2 criteriums, once getting passed by and latching on to the wheel of Lynn Lemaire, national TT champ and clubmate, until the field caught us and I had to drop out.

Mid September, I checked into an old hotel in Nashua, Hew Hampshire for the Mt Washington race the next morning. (That year the primary sponsor was a paper or bank in Nashua so the race was a point to point, Nashua through the capitol, Concord, then around the west end of Lake Winnipesaukie and northwest to the finish in Conway. Flat. 113 miles. A strong, gusty fall wind from the northwest. Far, far from Ben Jeffries' or Mara Abbott's terrain. The field was 39 riders. I had the next to highest seat in our tiny peloton. First 60 miles were north on a main two lane highway. Single file as close to the road edge as we dared, all knowing the next gust was blowing us two feet to the right. So no shelter, no echelons. 3 hours of never getting out of the drops, never straightening my arms. 42-15 for hard flat ground Cat 1 racing, gearing down in the gusts.

I struggled. When the winning break got away after Concord, I was dropped first, then four others. So, from the rear, the follow wheel van with Grace Jones in the passenger seat, then Ben, riding the middle of the lane so the van couldn't pass, then way up there, another rider. Staying out in the lane, I set my sights on catching that rider. It took a lot. I was gassed when I got to him, but did enough that the two of us caught the next. Eventually we were briefly 5 and got back on but the first rider I caught didn't and dropped out. I always felt bad about that; I used him, but I suspect (and hope) that this race was bigger for me than him.

Ten miles later we hit a hill. 100' vertical. But shelter from the wind!! No help race-wise for me but standing on the hoods was a blessing (for two minutes). Eventually were were in trees and headed east and the wind was no longer a factor (except a huge tailwind to cross the finish 40 miles later). I forget how it happened, but at some point I found myself away with another rider. We motored. Fun, until my fried brain couldn't digest all these people yelling "go left" and I missed the left turn. We were swallowed and humiliated. (Not that our little expedition was going to amount to anything, but still ...)

In the waning miles I tried again to get away, knowing I would get swallowed in the sprint, but they were on me like glue in seconds. A mile later, we turned right onto Conway's main drag. I rolled across the line in a huge gear, wind blasting at my back, almost everyone ahead of me. Race done. Nothing to show for it except wasted. Winning time 5:02. Field time 5:13. A slow, long race.

I knew I had done the near impossible, as modest as it seemed. Thursday, November 3, 1977, I crashed. That nest Tuesday was the club awards dinner. Nov 23rd, the day before Thanksgiving, I "walked" out of Massachusetts General Hospital. ("Walked" because, though I was under my own power, I barely knew what I was doing.) I rode an Exercycle the next Monday at PT after the session my Mom drove me to. (Unlike walking, I knew how to ride!) Feb 15th, Friday after Boston's famous '78 blizzard, Jim Heaney, mechanic at Life Cycle, lent me a 1930s Raleigh DL-1 to ride home (on 10 " hard packed snow with potholes to the pavement). Perfect bike for the conditions! He then arranged to have me ride my fix gear on rollers at his brother's house until they could assess when I was ready for the road. Three weeks later, I was on the road and doing miles. Wednesday, mid March, I did my 100 miles on the race bike in prep for the opening spring series in southern New Hampshire. Knees hurt after. Started the race but dropped out at the finish, 2 laps to go. Promoter asked me why. (I was 4th for the series the year before.) He then steered me to a orthopedic surgeon when he finished. That surgeon diagnosed me with chrondomalcia patellae in the back of a van with all of my riding gear on, poking my knees through several layers of clothes (it was maybe high 30s) and knowing exactly where I should be hurting. Told me right there the news that what I had was life long, that I could race again but this would be a multi week setback, gave me some exercises and stretches and told me to call him. I did, several times. Never saw him again, but what he passed on to me was priceless and lifelong advice for me to live by. Thank you, Gary Kish.

Spent the season doing my best to finish as high as possible in each race I rode. That meant in the money for most of the 3-4 races but far from the placings of the year before, flatting and dropping out of my first 100 miler and rolling on the miles. Roughly the same miles as the year before but without the crazy 150+ mile days that were such a joy when I had fitness coming out my ears. Now those miles were just hard.

By mid-summer I knew the Mt Washington race was to be my last big one and that I would close by riding the brand new Martha's Vineyard race, a 60 mile loop of the island. Mt Washington was as I described above. 2 weeks later, I was racing with no expectations. Yes, a highest place finish would be nice, but this was really to be a happy/sad close to this phase of my life; that it was time to do the hard work of becoming a useful citizen. I had to learn how to write - my right hand did not know how to hold a pencil - and get myself back on track toward my profession. (I couldn't read my old text books.)

The weekend of the Martha's Vineyard race was a wonderful way to close the chapter. Beautiful late September weather. Got a ride to the ferry to Martha's Vineyard, checked myself into a motel (no reservation needed - this was post-summer craziness and enjoyed the welcome of the townsfolk. Watched Mohamed Ali fight his retirement fight, fully aware my last race was in a few hours. He won, good omen. Completely enjoyed the race. Just rode a fast, not very hard circuit of the beautiful Island that I had previously only seen from the water. Some sadness. Late miles I moved up. Watched a guy go early and decided to chase him down. Caught him with the field in tow, pissing him off but getting myself to the front so I finished in the front 1/4. Fun, sad, and a closing.

Very, very different from my sister's finish to racing, but in many ways, as fulfilling and as sad. Go Mara. Lead your life well and with no regrets.

Ben
longslowdistance

Posts:1474

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10/06/2016 08:07 PM
Great stories Ben.
The pyramid has a wide base but there is little room at the top. Kinda like baseball.
We mere mortals savor our little triumphs, and move on to other things. But we keep riding because we love it. There is a beauty in it, regardless of whether or not bathed in glory.
Chapeau to you and OC and the others on this forum who keep walking the walk.
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