Cobb Park

29 Apr

Congrats again to Deb on her 2nd place age group finish in the Best Buddies 5K in Downtown Indianapolis yesterday. The Best Buddies Friendship Run and Walk is a fun-filled community fundraiser to support your local Best Buddies programs of inclusion. The friendship, integrated employment and leadership programs educate people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to be advocates for social inclusion in your community. Great job Deb!

There is an old saying that goes something like, ‘Red in the morning, Sailors warning, red at night, sailor’s delight. I’ve skewed that a bit to read, ‘Rain in the morning to this racer’s delight.’ As an 8th grader I took up cross country running to augment training for basketball. My grandpa used to chuckle at the thought of me running those first races in the fall of 1975. He said I looked like a plow horse when I ran. Fortunately, by the spring of 1976 Grandpa said I’d transformed into race horse; but I digress.

Plow horses will do just that; plow through anything. As such, I still recall the first meet we ran in the rain. All the runners were complaining about having to run in the rain, the mud, and the cold, so I simply told myself I like to run in the rain. After all, why should racing in the rain be any different than running around, playing in the mud and swimming in the over filled ditches when we were kids? (Yeah, that was a healthy thing to do). The strategy seemed to work though, as I had somewhat of a breakthrough race, finishing in the top 10 of a big invitational meet against some of the best teams in the county. Ever since then I’ve told myself I like racing in the rain and it usually pans out well.

Waking up to a steady rain Sunday morning was the perfect motivator. Throughout the entire drive up I-65 the rain never let up. Upon exiting 65 however, the rain ceased. Nonetheless, clouds remained in place, preventing a quick sun drying of any race course in the vicinity.

Cobb Park is located in an Irvington-like neighborhood on the south side of Kankakee and the annual event is hosted by the South Chicago Wheelmen. The course is perhaps a mile long with a sweeping left hand turn, a subtle incline up the back stretch (with a slight head wind during the race), a tight left turn at the top of the incline, a quick chicane, and then a hard left at an off camber out of the final turn, leaving perhaps 400 meters to the finish line.

Approximately 30-35 of us old guys lined up for the combined Masters 35+/45+ field. Scarlet Fire was well represented with 5 or 6 guys in the race. The first lap was somewhat tame as everyone found their line and rhythm on the still-slick course. Druber attacked on lap two. The field was not quite anxious to chase so I jumped up to Druber. After making the bridge, I pulled through, but the pack was quick to pounce on us.

Another break formed quickly after the catch and I found myself in a group of 5 off the front. One of the guys ahead of me was a bit sketchy and turned to look back to see how much of a gap we had. But he turned around just ahead of the chicane, causing him to nearly wipe out and unfortunately, causing the guy directly behind him to go down. Once again, the pack was on it.

Scarlet Fire sent many attacks off the front, but none could ever snap the elastic. Throughout the race I noticed that I could move up the subtle incline much quicker than most of the guys in the race. With three laps to go yet another Scarlet Fire rider went on the attack, taking a reluctant passenger with him. I also made that junction, but the passenger would not take his pull through, so the pack caught on again, setting up a field sprint.

I fell a little too far back at the start of the final lap so I had to get out of the saddle and sprint up the back stretch just to gain position. I was still maybe 10-15 back from the lead of the group coming out of the final turn. Fortunately, I passed several guys in the final stretch and was the first 45+ guy to cross the line. It’s not the same as actually winning a race, but it still counts as a First in age group so I’ll take it as a V. I hope it rains A LOT this spring and summer 😉



One Response to “Cobb Park”

  1. Daniel Cole April 29, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    Well done, Bob. And great description of the race. – Dan

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