Dial’s Diaries: On dragsters, race fans and cookies

There is no more fitting way to end a race against the clock than on a drag racing track, where you can see the seconds ticking off as you take a lap. Though certainly not the fastest vehicles on the Firebird Raceway outside Boise, the usual speedsters turned in the quickest runs of the day. I hate time trailing…more than anything in the world. I love climbing though, and this course held a little more water for me as it turned up the famous "Freeze-Out Hill", known more for its inclusion in the final stage into Boise. I thought of it as my only hope. I thought it would be good for

By Jen Dial

Jeannie Longo and friend.

Jeannie Longo and friend.

Photo: Jen Dial

There is no more fitting way to end a race against the clock than on a drag racing track, where you can see the seconds ticking off as you take a lap. Though certainly not the fastest vehicles on the Firebird Raceway outside Boise, the usual speedsters turned in the quickest runs of the day.

I hate time trailing…more than anything in the world. I love climbing though, and this course held a little more water for me as it turned up the famous “Freeze-Out Hill”, known more for its inclusion in the final stage into Boise. I thought of it as my only hope.

I thought it would be good for Jeannie too, since she is such a stellar climber and TT rider I saw it as her advantage.

Funny bikes didn’t even look like they would make too much difference when it came to sheer climbing, and it always makes me feel a little better when TT gear isn’t needed.

Unfortunately the hill only looked long, and the last 10 of the 15 kilometers of the course were actually slightly downhill towards the speedway.

I started mid-pack, and neither passed or got passed. That’s how I judge my day in a TT; if I don’t get passed I’m happy.

Jeannie blew into the track with the fastest time all day until Lynn Bessette came by with a few seconds on her.

After the race the Office Depot team got to hang out in the VIP tent since the Office Depot crew was sponsoring the day. We had some treats and headed to the awards tent to talk with Jeannie about her ride.

“My right leg was wood,” she told me. Pretty good ride for having a wooden leg.

A whole carload of tiny kids on a string from a local day camp came to watch the awards. Jeannie promptly snatched a tiny girl and sat her right on her lap. I thought the kid would scream. She had no idea who this little woman was. Even funnier was the confused look on the little girl’s face when her new pal had to go to the podium.

Abandoned, the little girl camped out on the chair in the shade, unaware she was just sitting in the lap of the world’s greatest cyclist.

As soon as awards were over we high tailed it to the hotel. For a day with a half-hour of racing, we sure ended up spending a lot of time, getting us to the hotel not much earlier than yesterday after 97 miles.

Now I’m sitting in the hotel in Boise, waiting for the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. They are becoming a tradition to some of us who have come to this race a few times. I wait until I smell them, around four in the afternoon. Then I skulk out to the lobby where I dodge team managers who give the evil eye to riders eating cookies.

Hey, if I’m going to ride 688 miles in 12 days, I can eat cookies!