Preschooler on a scoot bike with a serious face on a lawn at a kiddie kross race

Race Report: Grand Prix Erik Tonkin #6 (Heiser Farm)

Published 2013-10-10

When we studied narrative structure in my Junior high English class I learned there are basically two kinds of stories: Man vs. God and Man vs. Man.

I excel when my antagonist is God. Hills, runups, mud, sand, sleet. My very most bestest races (where I finished in the top 20%) are:

Race Result What God threw at us
Pedalers at the Poor Farm 2011 8/41 Rain, mud, hills, runups
Barton Park 2011 26/149 Rain, mud, gravel, runups, dangerous drops
David Douglas #1 2012 8/84 Nothing! The sole exception.
Rainier H.S. 2012 12/158 Hills
PIR Heron Lakes 2012 30/200 Rain, one climb
Kruger’s Krossing 2012 9/46 Rain, mud, cold
Ninkrossi 2013 6/53 Mud, two long hills

I mistakenly thought this was about “suffering,” in that I do so cheerfully. When my opponent is God I go down swinging. But I’m beginning to think the problem is really that I don’t like making antagonists out of my fellow racers. Why can’t we all just get along?

This works both ways. I feel pretty damn proud of my DFL when I’m defeated by God. But I slink away with my tail between my legs when bested by mere mortals. I love losing to God and hate losing to Man.

There’s some psychoanalysis here I’m sure. I hate fighting, and although I love debate, I hate arguing. Why can’t we all just get along? And getting whupped by God: well, no one whups God, son. There’s no shame in losing to the best.

Anyway: Heiser Farms

A beautiful venue and just-right field sizes. The weather was wonderful, mud tacky in the sun but slippery in the shade. No rain. No hills. Very short laps. Sprinty. Despite being very much Not My Kind of Race I’m already looking forward to next year.

Man vs. Man.

I had stellar staging — twelfth call-up, front row — owing to my points from Ninkrossi. I hate being front row, nothing to chase and all eyes on me. Of course I choked and failed to engage my left cleat. Lost a dozen places in the first two seconds and put myself comfortably in the second row.

After a poor-but-not-disastrous first lap, I started digging in and picking rabbits. I seldom do this, explicitly, but today I had a few guys that I was just not gonna let beat me. (One did, one didn’t.) I stretched to keep those guys behind me or catch them if they passed me. I feel like I at least held Man to a draw. Twelfth of 42. Better yet: Sixteenth in the GPET series. (And now I really regret skipping David Douglas.)

My folks drove up from McMinnville and Karl drove down from Portland. I had a lot of people cheering for me which helps when I’m not fighting God. (Can’t disappoint my parents!)

After the race the extended Souders clan had cheezy Mexican food at Lupita’s in Dayton and the kids played on the excellent playground in the town square. Unexceptional race, exceptional day.

Sidenote re: Iris

This was perhaps Iris’ last race on the scoot bike. This week she started mastering the pedal bike, so perhaps she’ll debut that one at Rainier this weekend.