The Real Fucking Tornado

Midwest Dispatch: Race Report

The Thrill of Some things and the Agony of Everything else

If anyone ever thought there was glamour or mystery in Midwestern amateur bike racing they have never been to or raced an amateur bike race in the Midwest. None-the-less a few of The Tenspeed Heroes and our newly-formed race team partake in these things on a weekly basis, crisscrossing the Land of Lincoln and sometimes other lands, racing bikes in closed-off small streets, and marshaled, “center lined” farm roads. In our travelogue there is no shortage of sketchy gas stations, trucker showers, cheap hotels and if you’re lucky a local “expresso” stand (we love you more than you know La Colombe!).

But since Midwestern culture is the stuff nobody will write books about we won’t start here. What we can do is bring you one particularly standout day for the Tenspeed Hero / J.P. Graziano Racing team. On this day we barely made it to our race in time, suffered a good deal, pulled a podium spot, and watched one of only a few of us racing Heroes go down hard and lie on the pavement consoled by and comparing “euro teeth” with a Super Hero 40+ EMT/Cat 3 crusher (an extraordinary gentlemen -interview to follow). We spent the rest of the day in the ER waiting for x-rays, talking about Catlike helmets and watching Nascar. As if the day could not be bled out with x-rays and Nascar we were forced to drive home through a mother of a Midwestern storm cell aptly titled through post-traumatic race/crash/car banter, “The Belly of the Beast.” Knowing the risks we proceeded, bikes on roof, until our Subaru was rocked so violently by nothing less than a real fucking tornado we were forced to stop under a bridge, taking refuge with a bald man in Tapout gear (Tapout, we determined, is to the Ultimate Fighting Championship what Rapha is to cycling- it’s what they wear). As we watched the storm pass on our iphones we pressed on, spoke more of the belly of the beast, our day’s absurd highs and lows and slept well, slightly bruised but satisfied and not entirely sure why.

Our new team is co-sponsored by us and our favorite Italian wholesale grocer, J.P. Graziano along with La Colombe Torrefaction, Get a Grip Cycles, and Method Bicycle. Stay tuned for more less-conventional race reports and news about why we love this new project and everyone supporting it.