This week is the big Tour of Pennsylvania. It’s an international field going against the creme de l’American yutesk. It’s a stage race over 6 days and 420-odd miles of pedaling up and down coal-country mountains and speeding madhatter through downtowns of Philly and the ‘Burgh.
what a hoot.
It’s a U-25 field … which means lots of mindless chatter about “chicks and cars” all week.
But, that’s just me.
The race hotel is filling up with bike racers, bike staff, bike boxes … it seems as though you can’t shake a stick without hitting some post-teen, shave-legged, spandex wearer. It’s fairly glorious.
The athletes look to be a bunch of up-and-comers in the sport … and the lot of them are fuk-all chomping at the bit to prove themselves. The lobby of the hotel is like walking into an adolescent cock-fighting school, you know? All the riders are posturing and checking each other out in only the “subtle” ways that teens and 20’s can. Awesome.
What a race this is going to be.
I’m with the PA Lightning squad – the hometown boys who are stemming from an organization that has been in USPRO cycling for over 20 years. Working with guys like Robin Zellner, Dave Chauner, Mike Aisner, Todd Gogulski … it’s like i’ve been hailed back to those halcyon days of Lemond, yo.
But … that’s not what i’m feeling like crap about (my oldness, that is … cuz you all know that i loves NOT being young). Instead, what i’m feeling like crap about is the fact that at last week’s Nevada City Classic … when i did the introductions to the Pro Men’s field, I …
well, i …
sort of didn’t see Eric the Riggs hiding in the back of the field. This is a guy who has won Nevada City up and down in the juniors, AND is a huge talent for US cycling. He’s the real deal on the bike, but more than that … he’s just a very cool cat ~ intelligent, contemplative … ready to enter the world and heft the weight of it all.
And in our NorCal slice of Lemond-inspired history that IS the Nevada City Classic … i completely cold-shouldered him (even if accidental) at the start line by not calling him up, not shouting out his accomplishments, not doing anything but leaving him tucked away at the back of the field.
So, back in PA … this morning, as I was passing out a bit of per diem to the PA Lightning riders … here comes the RIGGS out of a hotel elevator flying his ZTeam resplendipity like you wouldn’t believe … looking ready to ride this race into the ground, eh.
And of course, seeing him fit and excited to compete perked me up no end, and i had to give him a bit of the usual hernando ‘yeah baby’ shout out of welcome and applause. To which he replied, with the saddest cow eyes since bessy bought it …
aaaagh, and it all hit me. How i hadn’t announced him, how i dissed him in our home fields, how i … blew.
oh man, insert horse’s ass right where my head should have been.
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So, Riggsy … this is a shout out for you, brudda. I wanna see you and that NorCal Team dey’Z rock this week like they named a RedBull drink after you.
go get it.
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