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So, yesterday I went to the Tour of Kansas City race and, as promised, raced in the Crap Girls class. It was pretty fun. God good and sweaty and felt the ol' lactic-acid burn. Finished second-to-last, AFAIK. Harsh jokingly interrogated me, saying “Jeez, Michelle, how'd ya let her get behind ya?!” to which I replied, “bad luck, I guess.” It was a pretty big laugh, as far as I was concerned. I do, however, think that a couple of girls in the Cat4/Beginners class were sandbagging and should have been running in Cat3.

There was one other guy there who was taking things as seriously as I was (not seriously at all). He was signing in just ahead of me. He was a big, tall, strong-looking blond guy with kind of shaggy, wavy hair. He looked kinda surfer-ish. Wearing jean shorts and a tee-shirt and sneakers. Those who know the ins and outs of cycling will know this outfit pretty much screams “outsider.” I was similarly not rockin' the Spandex, so I felt a slip of camaraderie with the dude. Then I saw his rig, an older Trek touring bike with flat bars and racks, with a funky BMX-style crash helmet bunjied to the rear rack.

He raced in the Cat4 group, so unfortunately I didn't get to see the spectacle that ensued, as I was already down at ACME, taking my wheel-building lesson, but according to three separate eyewitnesses, this fellow started the race smoking a cigarette. Somewhere between laps 1 and 2 he picked up a beer, and somewhere between laps 3 and 4 he finished it. He did all this and managed to keep up enough speed not to get disqualified (if you get lapped, you get pulled out of the race).

I got mistaken for a guy at one point during the race I was in. They did a staggered start, sending the Cat5 guys out first, then the Cat4/Beginner women, then the Juniors, each one minute apart. Therefore it was a very mixed field, and as I was rounding one lap (third lap, if I remember correctly) I heard somebody holler, “go, Basket-Dude.” Remember that I carry a plastic daisy-bedecked handlebar basket on my road bike, so it is a decidedly identifying mark. I thought about calling back that I wasn't a dude, but I figured I'd just let it go. I had an ugly little hill to climb and therefore needed my breath for more important matters

So, after the race, I got to build a wheel. On this one, I did all of the work, under supervision, of course. I had the devil's own time getting it trued. This is in part because I was having a really bad brain day and kept doing things backwards, loosening spokes when I should have been tightening them. Eventually I got shit sorted out, and so now my Schwinn has two nice, re-built alloy wheels on it. Pictures will follow–I had to leave it at the shop since I rode my road bike over there, and didn't see the good in trying to ghost-ride the Schwinn home three-and-a-half miles.

Christi and I ended up riding to Westport after that to meet up with Cheri. Food was of the essence by that point in the evening, so we stopped at Chubby's. Their veggie burger is really weird but pretty good. It kind of tastes of curry, and it's mostly rice and beans, and I think there is some sundried tomato in there. Then we did a cruise along Brush Creek. Let me tell you, the skinny tires on my road bike sink into mud like pizza cutters through hot cheese. I managed not to wreck, not even when riding through deep gravel and rutty construction zones. I get very determined to remain vertical when I am riding something that was quite distinctively not intended for offroad use. That is, I'm sure, the only reason I can ride the Schwinn on ballast along railroad tracks. Because I know it shouldn't be done, but times there have been when I had to do it. And it sure beats the heck out of walking on that stuff…or walking through squisky mud or rutted construction sites. Just get into low gears and bull-moose through the mess.

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