Having scouted the route out the day before, I discovered that a policed road block had been put up, re-routing traffic away from a key stretch of the original route. Damn. I spent that afternoon deliberating over way to do. Originally, I was unable to imagine how the route could be shortened dramatically, keeping entirely within the untouched part of the park. Then it came to me.
The resulting route would feature everything a decent race could offer: climbs and descents, evenly mixed stretches of pavement and dirt, sharp turns, and minimal traffic. Much shorter than the originally intended loop, this meant upping the number of laps. Each lap shook out to around 6km, and as a result, I settled on running 4 laps. I also decided to give racers an hour and a half time limit to ride it out. No point in making racers sit around and get too chilly post-race, in the event Joe Fix-his-flat decided to grind it out, despite moving at a turtle’s pace. It worked out. DFL came creeping in at the hour twenty-eight mark.
As for the racers, it was a small, but sturdy crew. There was no bike requirement. As a result we saw all wheel-sizes, drivetrains, tire widths and the like. As with any race, most everyone seemed reticent to set into the course with too much gusto. It’s especially tricky when there’s so few racers and such a broad selection of bikes and riding abilities. The important thing to remember here, is that when the gun fires, none of that really matters. Being in a “race” is different than your everyday ride, in that the little competitive spirit in you kicks in and helps nudge you along, pushing for you to stay in front, hang on, catch up, not get dropped, or just avoid being lapped. CDCX saw that. All six racers gave that little bit more than you’d expect in a normal group ride.
Everyone completed the race in an entirely uneventful manner. No flats, mechanicals, crashes, injuries or anything of the sort that can put a damper on the post-ride buzz. Keen to give credit where due, I offered up prizes for top three, men and women’s, as well as a prize for DFL. The trophy? A big bowl of beef noodle and a beer.
As we sat around a roadside noodle joint, sipping soup and waiting for our food, the chatter began. For me this is the best part. Despite having not raced that day, I get to hear a volley of stories from the riders, relaying all the memorable moments on the road. There’s also a tone people use to include me in their conversations, as though I’d planned every unexpected part of the race in its entirety. As an organizer though, I know better. For me, it’s the stories and allowing others to think that every hurdle they overcame, every push they’d made, and every small victory earned was a planned part of a day’s racing.