Sunday, March 13, 2011

Back to work: UCI mountain bike race in California

As a retired geezer, it's nice to get up late, leisurely read the paper over a cup of coffee or two, and hit the pavement for a ride when other folks have to work. But then reality settles in, and you realize that—damn it—that Teacher Retirement System paycheck goes only so far in buying bologna and cheap beer. So it's back to work....

Well, things really aren't that dire (but you can always send me donations). Working a race as a referee is actually about the best work you can imagine: Somebody pays you (relatively meager dollars, or in this case, a few euros) to fly to some exiting locale and be at the beck and call of a race director who is hoping to break even by attracting a large-enough crowd to pay the bills. As refs, we are put up in a hotel, we get a sandwich for lunch, and by-and-large we are respected as we're the ones who are trying to bring order to chaos.

How's this for a mountain bike race venue, in LA?

This weekend I was in the LA basin, in San Dimas, for the first Pro XCT / US Cup race of the season, which was inscribed with the UCI (the Swiss-based Union Cycliste Internationale, which is the governing body for international cycling competitions).

The venue in beautiful Frank Bonelli park was perfect—an oasis in the middle of millions of car-driving humanoids. OMG, how do people live with this kind of traffic, day in, day out? But Bonelli is green, it has a beautiful lake, and it has fabulous mountain bike trails. And that's where the race took place.

The Elite Men are about to start

I came out on Thursday afternoon, and now it is Saturday evening, and the race is history. There were happy winners, there were no casualties (as far I know we didn't have any injured riders today), and there were a lot of folks who thought that spending a day at Bonelli riding the bike is most definitely better than sitting at the office. For me, there were some challenges, as there always are. The venue was absolutely beautiful and well prepared, I had a competent crew who knew what they were doing, and just being around mountain bike races is a joy in itself.

The top five Elite Women

The day's events were positively eclipsed by my getting together with one of Judy's oldest friends and most loyal supporters, John Alexander. The two had met many years ago in a summer camp where both (plus their friend Pernie, whom I've known for a long time but with whom I no longer have contact) were counselors. John lives in Thousand Oaks and came down here to my hotel near LAX for a few hours of chatting. Thank you, John! It was a great evening that made me forget about today's hard work.

And now I better sign off since tomorrow we will all "spring forward" and it's already late. My flight leaves at 10:15 a.m., and the "new" time already screams 1:15 a.m. in my ear!


No comments:

Post a Comment