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Old 08-27-07, 07:43 AM   #1
merlinextraligh
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Racing in the hinterlands

There's already a thread about the Putnam County RR near Palatka Florida yesterday. But I thought I would just touch on some comments outside the race itself.

To understand the setting, you have to understand thre are 2 Floridas. There is the coastal Florida, with beautiful beaches, upscale development, and many transplants. Coastal Florida is not the South.

Then there is inland Florida, which tends to be dirt poor, and more "southern" than say Mississippi.
The Putnam County RR was deep in the "southern" part of Florida.

To my understanding there used to be races in Palatka but not in a number of years. The locals reacted to us like we were alien life forms. Just a few examples:

1) the tack throwing (covered in the other thread)

2) I went into a convenience store, and a little girl asked if I was bike racer, and was very excited to see a real bike racer. Her mother quickly shooed her away, with a look like don't make eye contact with the wierd man.

3) Came out of the store, and 2 teenage girls started talking to me asking how it was to be a bike racer, as I got on my bike and headed off, one asked if you had to wear that stretchy stuff, and grabbed my jersey. I could not ride off fast enough.

4) Number of instances of drivers cursing course marshalls when they were held up all of 10 seconds.

5) In fairness, a few folks asked about the race, how far we were going, etc. in a friendly way.

My conclusion from random observations: Half the County thought we were a total menace, a small portion thought we were just bizarre, and clearly to be avoided, and another portion thought we were a very interesting spectacle.
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Old 08-27-07, 07:48 AM   #2
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3) Came out of the store, and 2 teenage girls started talking to me asking how it was to be a bike racer, as I got on my bike and headed off, one asked if you had to wear that stretchy stuff, and grabbed my jersey. I could not ride off fast enough.
At least they were young. I got felt up by an octogenarian when I bonked in a RR in June...

Maybe they were just being friendly
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Old 08-27-07, 08:03 AM   #3
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3) Came out of the store, and 2 teenage girls started talking to me asking how it was to be a bike racer, as I got on my bike and headed off, one asked if you had to wear that stretchy stuff, and grabbed my jersey. I could not ride off fast enough.
More interval training.
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Old 08-27-07, 08:42 AM   #4
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2) I went into a convenience store, and a little girl asked if I was bike racer, and was very excited to see a real bike racer. Her mother quickly shooed her away, with a look like don't make eye contact with the wierd man.
Sounds like they had you pegged right.



(sorry, that was just wayyyy too easy)

In all seriousness though, myself and a few guys from my team took an opportunity to thank the course marshalls for being there post-race. The way that race wound up being disogranized, those guys spent a hell of a lot of time in the sun that they probably didn't anticipate...
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Old 08-27-07, 09:07 AM   #5
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I also thanked several of the course marshalls.

When there are organzational problems like yesterday, its easy to get upset, and loose track of the fact a lot of people are vlounteering their time so we can race.
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Old 08-27-07, 05:51 PM   #6
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i hear you about rural Florida.

Whenever i ride into levy/gilchrist/putnam county and stop at a gas station for water i inevitably have to explain (especially when in the gators jersey) that i really did just ride all the way to here from Gainesville. Or get cracks about FSU, and don't forget the stares like you are an alien from space.

But I'm just happy so long as I don't get run off the road by some bubba in a giant pick up truck.
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Old 08-27-07, 06:37 PM   #7
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i hear you about rural Florida.

Whenever i ride into levy/gilchrist/putnam county and stop at a gas station for water i inevitably have to explain (especially when in the gators jersey) that i really did just ride all the way to here from Gainesville. Or get cracks about FSU, and don't forget the stares like you are an alien from space.

But I'm just happy so long as I don't get run off the road by some bubba in a giant pick up truck.
I have been road riding in the rural areas around Gainesville since the early 1980's. It is WAY better now than it used to be. Drivers no longer threaten roadies with firearms, for one. That used to be common. It used to be that EVERY ride I was given abuse while on the road, usually multiple times. Now it is rare, maybe a couple of times per year. Of course then was not only pre-Lance, it was pre-Lemond.
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