Sunday, April 09, 2006

Race report

It's turned out to be a beautiful day, sunny in the low 60s, but it wasn't so great when I raced this morning at 8:00: it was kind of overcast and about 33 degrees. The race was fun, however; I've continued my trend of improving every race, and this time around I didn't get dropped until the very last lap. Woo-hoo! And I didn't feel like throwing up this time, either, an improvement I'm very happy to see. I think I'm getting used to the fast pace of a criterium. My average heart rate was lower and my recovery afterwards much faster. This was the last race in a series of six races, so now I have a few weeks off before I begin again. A few weeks to do what I can to improve my fitness.

As usual, I had a chance to talk with some of the spectators; this time they included the parents of a 14-year-old who is beginning to race and who gave me some pictures they took of me from last week (and I don't even know their names!), and two guys who came to my little town from the big city. They don't know much about bike racing, so I got to be the expert and explain things like "primes" and how to tell when you're heading into the final lap.

I was standing with a group of guys at one point, sort of a part of their conversation, but not quite, one of whom decided to tell a joke or an anecdote, I'm not sure which, about a group of women marching or protesting for women's rights and a man standing behind the group with a sign that said something along the lines of "go do my laundry, bitch!" I have no idea how this was relevant to whatever the conversation was. The guy next to me, not the one who told the story, turned to me and said something about why he was laughing, trying to explain it away, obviously a bit embarrassed. I just walked away at that point. I suppose I could have said something, but I didn't understand the context enough to know why he told the story. Yuck.

Most of my interactions with the men who race and who watch races aren't like that, thank God. I wish more women rode, though. Most of the time, I don't really notice that I'm the only woman, or one of only a couple women, riding with a group of men, but sometimes the conversation gets ugly, and I think, are you forgetting that I'm here? Or do you just not care?

Update: the above story turns out not to be quite as bad as I'd thought. I later found out that the guy telling the misogynistic story was telling it in the process of making fun of another guy, not present, who is known as being ultra-conservative and misogynistic and is, therefore, mocked. The misogynist had sent the story around on an email. I'd missed the larger context, which is bad enough, of course.