There hasn’t been enough racing to write about this past year and no time to write anything. Still trying to reduce the 60 hour weeks.
Back in January, I found a race called Shiver by the River a winter series of 5k’s near Reading along the Schuylkill River. It was the second race of a 4-race series. The course is totally unsuitable for me with one-mile uphill right out of the start. Racing isn’t as much fun when its 10 degrees and windy but winter racing is better than no racing. Also, the small races where my warm truck is parked a hundred feet from the start-finish line make winter racing bearable. The January February and March races I do are all 5ks.
Late April is the start of distance season. I had 3 long races scheduled than got involved with a big project at work that would limit my weekends off. The big spring race would be the Philly 10 mile Broad Street Run. All the Philly races are headaches from picking up registration in the center city on a Friday afternoon to the inconvenient $20.00 parking lots, and the cold mornings waiting an hour on the start line. The positive side to Philly is a large competitive adaptive class and real money. Finishing in second place in the adaptive Masters Push-rim division paid $350.00. With a slight downhill grade, this race is intense.
I Found one new runway race near the Mushroom farms of Chester County. I like Airport runway races because they are flat with lots of elbow room. This airport race would be different. While I was the only adaptive racer among the 50 runners in the race, I registered for. There were hundreds of YMCA runners in a separate race and hundreds of women in a women's only race all starting together. At times I would find myself swallowed in the running hoards. Question? If you are directing a “girls on the run” women's only race should it be run in conjunction with two other races? Anyhow, a good time was had by all. However, this is a race I will probably skip this year.
The reason I race the push-rim in these 1 to 13-mile distances is that there are so few handcycle events. One of the few good Handcycle events is in Gettysburg. Gettysburg offers a handcycle only criterium and a 13-mile road-race the next day. Gettysburg is well attended and supported by the Paralyzed Veterans racing team. It is a lot more fun to finish near the back of the pack then first out of one. After Gettysburg the Handcycle wouldn’t race until mid-June with 3, USA Cycling sanctioned races for Handcycles.
That busy race weekend started on a Friday evening with the historic 1-mile distance with a push-rim on the Pottstown Airport runway. When you think of the one-mile distance, you can only think of Roger Banister’s sub-4-minute mile, this year I only missed Roger Banister’s mark by 3 ½ minutes.
The Handcycle races started Saturday morning on rt 29 north of Trenton NJ. This is a 10-mile time-trail on a very straight and very flat course. The Rt 29 time trial is unusual because race director allows anything with wheels and a chain to race. This includes tandems, recumbents, an Eddy Merckx’s division, and handcycles. In the past 10 years only one other handcycle has ever shown up, but a first place out of one gets me a pound of coffee. Since this is a point to point race, my warm-up is the 8-mile ride from my parking spot near the finish to the start line.
From Rt 29 is a trip to the Grandview neighborhood of Lancaster for a Criterium on Saturday Afternoon. The next morning is another Criterium on the campus of Franklin and Marshall. A Criterium is a fun event. However, these two criteriums turned embarrassing when only two Handcycles turned out.
For me, adaptive road racing has changed my life I hope this is what you take away from my e-mails. I do what I can to support and grow my sport, however with work I can’t do all that I would like. One of the ways we can support our sport is by participating. This means showing up for events that are not always fun or convenient. The 3 local adaptive sports foundations have passed out free handcycles and free lessons that seem to be a wasted effort as they can’t even get a few riders to show up for local events. The two Lancaster race organizers are likely to cancel the handcycle division unless they get some commitments from the local adaptive sports organizations.
With the increased time I need to commit to the business, I had to skip some of the out of town events but found a few more somewhat local Sunday morning events to stay active during the heat of summer. This included a few trips to Hatfield and a trip to the largest sporting event in Ivylands history. These are both duathlons, (two event races) At Hatfield, you go from the 5k to the waterpark. In Ivyland, it’s a 5k followed by a pancake breakfast.
After labor day the fall distance season starts with the Bird in Hand weekend. Another course that is not adaptive racer friendly, but it is my favorite event. This year the weather didn’t look favorable. We got through the Friday night 5k race without rain however it was pouring on Saturday Morning. I am away from work I paid for the Hotel might as well race in the rain.
Bird in Hand ½ marathon with its grass paths, dirt roads, and steep downhills covered in slippery wet horse poop creates a braking problem. Racing this event would have been a danger to the runners, and I would have likely sunk up to my axles during the last hundred-yard dash through the hayfield to the finish line. Instead Barbara, and I had a leisurely breakfast and headed home.
Another cool commercial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhonx51e8JY&t=131s
A few weeks after Bird in Hand I would find myself in the pouring rain at the ABE airport runway race. It's not fun playing in the cold rain. However, the airport 5k was over in less than 30 min, plus runways are flat without wet horse poop. Of the 6 runway races, I do ABE is the flattest.
Did I mention how much I hate racing in Philly? The week after Bird in Hand is the Philly Rock & Roll ½ Marathon. I was dreading this race and wish I hadn’t signed up. It was the same way I felt the year before. Since I did sign up, I made my way downtown to pick up my registration and then got up at 3:30 am on a Sunday morning for the drive to the inconvenient $20.00 parking lot.
Except for the Broad Street run that starts in the Razor Wire district of North Philly the other Philly Race starts on Ben Franklin Parkway. Ben Franklin Parkway is the most spectacular start line in road racing with the Art Museum behind you and Historic City Hall with the Statue of Billy Penn in front of you. For me, it is a Hero Start with a slight downhill grade. As the spectator's lose sight of my sprint, they are sure they were watching the winner disappear into the sunrise. Unfortunately, the sprinting start is all I have in my bag of tricks. After all the headaches of Philly, the Rock and roll ½ was a fun time on a warm day.
What happened the day after Rock & Roll Philly? I got the e-mail with the discounted rate and signed up for 2019. This is something I will regret all the way up until the starting horn.
Columbus weekend and my 12th Steamtown Marathon. Joining Bruce and me for the second straight year was Peter and Maria. Now that Peter and Maria are the only other handcycles to return they can join Bruce and I and consider themselves regulars. It’s always a great race made better by this years warm October Morning. All of us went home with a check and a good time was had by all.
The Steamtown would be my only full Marathon this year. I would skip the Philly full marathon after the horrible weather of the 2 previous years. I missed being there, I missed an easy $250.00 win in the 8k I will be back next year.
I would end the year the same place it started at the first race of the Pretzel City series Shiver by the River. A change in the course made it even hillier than last year.
I have big plans for more training and more racing next year. Hopefully next year I can reduce my business involvement to make that happen.
End of 2018
Now that I have this project done I need to move onto sending out Christmas cards.
Coming soon, Lier Lier pants on fire.