Most races boil down to one particular memory which crystallizes in our brain and becomes the symbol of that day to us, forever more. I have a theory that most people are basically smart, but we're not very good at clerical tasks, so we sort out memories using a pointer system, a Dewey Decimal index that keeps things organized. Being crummy at organization, we have to keep it simple, down to the mental equivalent of three digits or less. We can remember a lot of details about it, but our quick impression has to be a simple thing.
So each race gets turned into a moment for us, at least as we view the race in passing. All Hallows last year was a hard crash on the roots in the rain, and hunching there bent over, pulling on my finger and trying to figure out what to do next. Granogue last year was offering Wicks a whisky handup, and making him laugh. Granogue this year was a hard endo. Reston last year was bombing down the icy hill and making the crowd cheer because I was fearless (or maybe brainless).
And what of promoting this year's Tacchino? What will I remember?
It won't be the runaway horse that got onto the course and started racing between Scott Thompson and Jon Seibold, necessitating a field neutralization and restart.
It won't be the Cat 4 who endoed so hard on the first lap that I almost - almost mind you - regretted putting in a log barrier.
It won't be the other Cat 4 who hit the first log so hard with his carbon wheel that the noise made my head hurt.
Nor will it be watching Joe Dombrowski miss his start, casually appear before the officials, take off his jacket, start a couple minutes late, then catch up to crush the field. Yeah, I'll be telling *that* story for years to come...
It won't even be my excellent teammates who kicked ass and did all the work, or my friends and literally hundreds of racing acquaintances who joined us on the day and knocked it out of the park.
It's going to be that stupid tandem race which had us laughing so damn hard that even the Turkey stopped slapping people, and just stood there shaking his gizzard. RickyD and JoeP were in these Tigger & Piglet costumes, another tandem had a Gorilla stoker and Banana driver, Ken & Jean rode with a "Baby on Board" sign, Dave & Brigitta Tambeaux unleashed their massive trivia talent and snapped a chain - something even Blair & Driscoll couldn't match, two guys from WWVC looked like they'd been practicing it, they were so smooth, Phil & Sheri were cruising well, a really big dude and a really small dude who looked like a mismatch were running in 3rd or 4th out of maybe 16 or 18, and Todd & Dave... well, they probably were thinking they could go faster if only the tandem was a singlespeed.
I sat with Lindsey howling at the tandems down on the finishing straight, then I stood with a big crew by the barriers laughing my ass off, then I was over with some other folks at the log barriers watching people negotiate them - including Pat & Adam's remarkably smooth efforts.
I don't know if the tandem class is going to stay as much fun as it is right now. It just *slayed* me yesterday though, and even in a day of $50 turkey slaps and "Horse on the course... I think he's in 10th" this was enough to pull a stomach muscle. As a community we should think about doing more fun, hard racing, that *doesn't necessarily* matter for series points. It's cool to be goal oriented but perhaps one of the fun things we can do is try to carve out a space that is more about the fun and pure joy of racing, than it is about hitting particular goals, like Cross Crusade (which values good racing better than absolute order of finish) or grass roots MTB racing, which encourages unique race classes. Starting the race on a long runup? A whoop-dee-doo section?
You see, there's a couple ways to win, and one of them is to laugh harder and finish the day with the most fun.
Promoting sucks much of the time. It is a management & marketing job and the reason you do it is partly out of duty. A lot of people really bust ass to give us good races and fun times, so when you get a chance to pay them back, you step up. The other reason you do it, is that it can be damn fun. Put on a good course that you'd like to ride, try to have fun with the crowd and solving problems and giving stuff away, and then find 15 minutes to be a good kind of vampire, a vampire that lives by drinking in other people's fun.
The fun I had yesterday will keep me powered and enthusiastic about my riding and promoting races for quite a while. I have to give huge props to my management team of Dave W., Geoff H. and Tom O. as well as setup wizzards Jeff Trinh, Andrew Welch and Scott Thompson, who I could point at a spot and say "put in some turns here," and rely upon to come up with something really, really sweet to ride. And thanks to everybody who helped with that by working, refing, spectating, or most of all racing.