Monday, March 14, 2011

I am not happy with Roger.

So who is Roger? And why am I mad at him?

Roger is my bike. And today he decided to get a flat tire while I was on a ride out to Lake Monroe on a beautiful Bloomington Sunday with Helen and Laura. We were only 10 miles out on 446 (for Bloomington local) when my back tire flatted. And of course none of us had a pump because Tim (our coach) told me that having one on my bike made me look like a dork. So I was forced to call our friend Alex, the team 'doctor,' to pick me up. Needless to say I was not amused on the car ride home, as I had just wasted a glorious day. But as I was sat watching Penn State attempt to upset OSU in the Big Ten Tournament I started laughing.

My bike is named after one of the most influential men in my life Roger Millikan. Roger was a household name to many in the Southern California cycling community during the 80s and 90s and a close family friend. He raced with my parents in Southern California and was the founder and coordinator of the El Dorado ride, a weekly ride in El Dorado park that included riders of various categories. He was famous for his loud personality, passion for the sport and unwavering dedication and loyalty to his friends. He taught me thevalue of hard work, how to tape handlebars, what love means, and that In-and-Out Burger makes everything better. Tragically he passed away in 2004 after a 9 month battle with Pancreatic cancer. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to witness. I watched a man so full of life waste a way in a matter of months.
Five years later I found myself in Bill Armstrong stadium watching the Women's Little 500 race as a Freshman and I knew that I had to ride the next year. I joined Team Relativity and we rode to a 7th place finish in 2010. I know that Roger was there that day
at the track and that he was screaming louder than the whole stadium combined. And I know that both Rogers, my bike and Roger Millikan, are on every road ride with me. So today I know he was probably laughing at me for being more concerned with looking like a dork than being safe. And I know if he had picked me up from the side of the road a double-double and milkshake from In-and-Out Burger would have followed.
It's impossible for me to stay mad at Roger for too long. Now that he is all patched up I will be happy to be back on the road tomorrow with all the girls as we count down the days until Qualifications. And I know Roger Millikan will be there in spirit next Saturday on the track when we qualify for the 23rd annual Women's Little 500 and I guess a Steak-n-Shake milkshake will just have to do.


B Caldwell said...

First of all, unless you have a team car following your training rides, you are a dork for riding without a pump! Look at training pictures of all top pros training on their own - are they all dorks??

Also, what can you stick into some obnoxious half-wheelers spokes to take them down if you don't have a pump? Or how do you fend off unwanted farm dogs trying to chew off your shoes? Remember, the pump isn't just for inflating tires.

Also, while referencing Roger, under the heading Breaking Away/Little 500 trivia, don't forget the Belgian, turned Chicago resident and ultimately "SoCal Italian" that jammed his pump into the hero's spokes in Breaking Away - Eddy Van Guyse was a friend of Roger's and big part of the SoCal cycling scene and El Dorado Park rides as well and clearly is not a dork! See note below:

"Van Guyse, born in Belgium and raised in Chicago, is also a former competitive racing cyclist, currently residing in Long Beach, Calif. He also has some acting under his belt, having played “the villain” on the Italian racing team in Breaking Away—the racer who jammed a tire pump into the main character’s wheel, causing his crash."

April Millikan said...

First of all (oh wow, I sound like your dad. sorry), I had to read this three times to get through the tears. My dad loved your family and you are very right, he would have been the loudest at the entire stadium.
Second, NEVER FORGET A PUMP! Besides the obvious, fending off dogs and taking down your opponents are very useful ways for a pump. Also, they make mini one time use pumps. Dad used to carry one in his pocket all the time.
After reading this, it is making me crave In-and-Out for lunch today, the joys of living in So Cal. I think cheeseburger, fries with grilled onions and cheese, and a chocolate shake will fill the crave.
Keep up the great work!! My dad would be so proud of you. Love you guys!!!!