Tuesday, March 31, 2009

vertical space

I love this picture...

...and I really wish we had mountain bike races around here on that kind of terrain.


So I tried to phly in Philly this weekend. Four laps over a six-mile, two-hill course. Given the course profile, I really expected some kind of selection to emerge. Or a breakaway to stay away. I'm sure we lost a few few people along the way, but probably 70 or 80 percent of the 50-60 riders that started made it to the foot of the final accent to the finish line together. But that wasn't for my not trying to get something going.

At one point early on I bridged up to a group of three that had a little gap, moved to the front to motivate the group to work, but when I looked behind me found that I was all alone. So, thinking I should cease the opportunity, I just went for it. I opened up a pretty decent gap, and was hoping that because we were early in the race the pack might just forget about me out there, but they didn't, and I was caught after about three miles.

After recovering for a lap I tried to get things going again on the bigger climb, moving to the front and pushing the pace, hoping for some attacks from behind that would maybe create a group of 10 or so riders off the front. That didn't happen either.

The race came down to the final up-hill chicane to the finish line. I totally blew it by not putting myself in better position before the climb, having to come around a lot of slowing riders on my push to the front. Finished a disappointing seventh. It would have been so nice to have a teammate bring me to the front of the pack at the beginning of that climb. I think I could have won--or at least finished top three--had I little help there at the end. If I were asked in a post-race interview, I might have said, "My form was good, but a tactical error cost me the race." (A post-race interview... My, what delusions of grandeur...)


A post-script to everyone wipes:

I work in a five-story building. There is one male restroom per floor, and they are all in the same place, and the layout of each restroom is exactly the same--two urinals and one stall. If you were to bisect the building, you would see that each toilet is placed vertically exactly above the lower floor's toilet. The only toilet without a toilet above it is, of course, on the top floor.

When sitting on the toilet, wiping or otherwise, it's not wise for me to give the facts of this architectural arraignment much thought. If I do, it might cause me to peek upwards, involuntarily, at the ceiling (I'm half expecting to see a brownish tint to the ceiling tile). Of course, my mind wanders to what might be going on up there (how could it not?)...what I might be privy to if the ceiling were transparent. Yup... Odds are pretty good there's some up there...wiping.

The thought is enough to motivate me to make the trek to the top floor every time I've got to go. If forced to poo, socially, in vertical space, I absolutely prefer the top.

Relatedly, I once tried to explain the claustrophobic feeling I get in large, vertical cities. Places like Chicago and New York. It's the absence of free vertical space that gets to me. Population density can be measured in three dimensions, and something about that I find deeply disturbing. And it's not that I don't like the city, I do. There's just something about living in three dimensions that freaks me out a little.


vfg said...

It should not have been left out that this was after spending most of the night in the ER with our daughter, napping for an hour, then driving for two to race.

And, _hey_, babe: I give you an interview after every race. And hear a couple more, too ;) We're interested.

Tarrah M. said...

Cool picture Nathan!