John Forrest Tomlinson in a vintage Bell “Biker” lid and CRCA jersey. I’m guessing 83-84?

(originally posted on the long defunct CenturyCentral)

My first race was a CRCA club race in March of my last year of high school. It was a cold and rainy morning and few people showed up. Lou Maltese was running the race and combined everyone — and even then the field was small. Less than 20 riders.
We set off and the pace was pretty fast for me, but not too bad. I’d been commuting and messengering a lot, so I was in OK shape for a beginner. We went up the hill at the north end of the park quite fast and I started hurting, but I made it to the top in the group. I remember thinking “Good, now we can coast down the hill and have a rest” Not! (as people used to say in the 1980s.) I got dropped immediately and rode the rest of the race alone.
I ended up being the first C (or was it D) rider anyway so I “won.” And I was hooked.
A guy who I was later to learn was one of the club’s biggest hitter — Jonathan Massey — won the race overall. My race ended on an earlier lap, so I watched the finish and was impressed by Massey’s long, painful looking sprint, and by the big bunch of mucus hanging way, way down from his face. What a sport.