Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Speedweek: Part 1

We've been on the road since Thursday evening.

I'm staring out into a murky marsh with a a salt water river just a little further out in sight. You can see the downtown waterfront across the river with the church steeple peaking through the moss trees. An ingrid just plucked a fish from the marsh grass.

We'll be finishing up our third race of the Speedweek series in about twelve hours from now in Beaufort, SC downtown. It's a very peaceful morning and I'm still trying to take in the view from our host house. I've been up for a few hours now while my other teammates catch up on sleep. The locals tell me the river I see is one of the most shark infested rivers in the country. In fact, they often find fossils of Megladon teeth to this day. I am not getting into any body of water that has animals that sound like transformers with teeth the size of my palm, even if they are extinct. But possibly we will get to visit the beach while we're here!

Thursday & Friday - (April 28th,29th)

Russ, Brown, and I left the Buzas Bungalow at around 7PM. We made it until Durham, NC and found a Red Roof Inn to rest. We ate at IHOP and finished the long trip to Athens, GA. Grid qualifiers for the Athens Twilight Criterium were at 3:45PM for us Friday, and we all had a lot of trouble putting in a good effort with blocked legs and blocked sinuses. I was at the peak of my sinus infection and my head almost exploded during the seven and half minute effort. Just for showing up we were all granted starting positions within the first third of the race field and Russ a call-up.

Athens Twilight Criterium - (Athens, GA - April 30th)

This video pretty much sums up everything but "The Crash". About 30 laps into the 80 lap race I found myself in a split caused by United-Healthcare's train catching a two-man break. I also found myself behind a UHC rider that lost control into turn one while they were doing their notorious snake-swiping-sweep move. I tried to counter steer heading into the fastest corner upwards of 30mph, but my bike jerked me right into the fence barrier.

If you've seen my facebook page, you've seen the damage to my arm. Nothing broken, but a torn bicep and a hematoma that has since drifted from my upper arm down to my lower arm, has made riding hard.

I took a free lap following the crash. My bike was in one piece. And I was granted my spot back in the split so I knew I had to try to continue racing. The split widdled down as Karl Menzies, Johnny Sundt, and myself took to the front and eventually created about a fourteen man breakaway. Sometime after the halfway point and after many unsuccessful attempts to get away with various moves, the winning move of 4-riders left me behind with a group of content riders that set tempo until the field eventually caught us with 15 laps to go. I went straight to the paramedic when the field caught. My race was over.

Roswell Twilight Criterium (Roswell, GA - May 1st)

I had spent the previous night in the ER making sure my arm wasn't broken. I didn't get to sleep until some time after 4AM. I didn't come here to watch racing, so I figured I'd keep my sling on until the race, get my points for starting, and pull out shortly after. Adrenaline kicked in.

Russ, Jared, and I all found opportunities to get off the front in this one, but the multitude of crashes and even a late-race restart, killed the momentum we were driving. I found myself behind a crash with 5 laps to go, realized their were no longer freelaps at this point, and suffered chasing back on and then charging my way through the field in vein to finish 55th. Jared and Russ managed to avoid a final turn pile-up to make it into the money at 21st and 16th respectively.

Their were many times I had to let out audible grunts from the impact of potholes and having to sprint out of the saddle, but I felt like things went pretty well all things considered.

Rest Day and Beyond

That brings us back full-circle to our enormous pink-flamingo colored host house on an intracoastal waterway in tranquil South Carolina. The Kessells are showing us some real southern hospitality and we are all very excited to show them what we got tonight at the Beaufort Criterium. We're here for two more days with races in Walterboro, SC and Spartanburg, SC before we travel again. For some travel photos check out what Brown has got going over at East Brown and Down.

(Recovery Ride)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I can't imagine having to turn around to go back and get your arm and still working almost the entire race in the break. That's brutal....at least that's how I'm re-telling the story from now on.