Nov 28, 2012

At 7:15 a.m. on November 25th 2012, Bruce Rychlik was sitting in his car looking at the clock asking himself, "How am I going to stay warm - it's below 30F."  I asked someone and they recommended a warm piece under their jersey and commented, "I would rather sweat to death than freeze."  He thought, "good point".   So he bundled up for the Baystate Verge Cyclocross Series #6 Finals. 

Having not done a Verge series race, he was staged in the second to last row.  It was a clog fest the entire first lap, but Bruce was happy to have stayed upright and do some great dismounts and mounts at the barriers and stairs.

The Orange:
Then Bruce met "The Orange" (code name:  for the guy in the bright orange jersey) who seemed to wreak havoc everywhere he went (at least it seemed when Bruce was around).   The Orange tripped up at the barriers, hit Bruce's rear wheel, and crashed into the plastic netting.  Then he crashed down right in front of Bruce before a turn, jarring Bruce's bike enough to cause a chain drop.  Unfortunately, Bruce had some trouble trying to get the chain inside the chain catcher and almost gave up, but finally managed to get it on.  After losing at least a minute working on the chain - the course was wide open - and he explained "all I wanted to do was to squash The Orange."  

The Chase:
So the chase was on.   One by one he was picking off the riders ahead of him, determined.   Bruce explains, "I really dug - over 400 watts around the track and on the pavement - in aero position - cruised up the stairs - really had my shifting dialed in - stayed upright - AND THEN - he was in sight - up the last steep hill across the top."  "Let him go ahead across the top and up the rooted rise, then, I'll pass him after we get out of the woods", Bruce told himself, and then, HE DID EXACTLY THAT!  Bruce stayed strong through the last technical part and managed to pull off an excellent all out sprint!   That was a beautiful recovery for a CAT 4 racer placing 74th out of 89.   Bruce said "I still have fear and am not a great technical rider but I was proud of what I pulled off."   And so was his coach Karen Mackin.  "He turned around a negative and made it a positive racing experience" she explained.

The Aftermath:
After the race, Bruce looked around for The Orange.   He told his coach that he was inclined to give him an earful but simply asked him, "How did you do?"  Orange said, "Oh I fell at least 15 times."  He kept talking about this crash and that one - this issue he was having and then that one.  Then he said, "You passed me at the end."  And then he went on and so he let the orange go and said, "Great passion."  He was reckless but did have passion in spades.