Monday, September 04, 2006

My day...

I just wrapped up a trip to St. Louis, MO, to race the Gateway Cup. It's been a helluva weekend but it finished off nicely. I barely made it to Saturday's race at 6PM because I was late getting into St. Louis (2:30PM). Then I catch the shuttle to Budget Rental Cars and they don't have any cars (now it's 3PM). So, I catch the shuttle back to the airport and catch a cab to my hotel. I get to the hotel at 3:30-3:45PM, get checked in, and get up to my room. Then it was a race to pull my bike out of it's bag, reassemble it, get dressed, and ride my bike to the race. I go to air up the tires and I can't. Air just keeps leaking out and none is going in. Ugggh! So I let it go and get going. I make it to the race with plenty of time to spare. I couldn't believe it.

The race itself was a nightmare. I couldn't figure out what the hell was going on because they were running the Cat 4 women with the Pro women so I could never tell whose lap cards and announcements were for who. I was riding well but at all the wrong times because I would think it was 2 laps to go. I exhausted myself and came in a lousy 17th place. Yuck!

Sunday I woke up and called Budget who told me to call Priceline. So hopefully I got the car canceled and the charges reversed...we'll see. After that I went for a recovery/tune-up ride. I rode out towards the race course...the Giro Del Montanya...and back to the hotel. I went through some colorful neighborhoods and down some streets I had no business riding on, but oh well...I survived. But then it happened. Four lousy blocks from my hotel I get a nail through my back tire. It went in one side and out the other. Shit! There goes a brand new $70 freakin' tubie. So I have to catch a cab to the race. Thankfully I was able to borrow a wheel from the SRAM guys in the pit. They also offered to give me a ride back to my hotel that night. That was really cool!

The Sunday race went better for me. Now I kinda understood what was going on with my race versus the Cat 4 race. I was riding well...in a decent position but then someone jumped for the 2nd to the last corner and all hell broke loose. We get through that corner in one piece but then a huge crash happens in the last corner. My teammate and I both got caught in it! Damn! I didn't even get to finish the race. Not only that but I trashed the front wheel...the one good wheel I still had. So now I was down to no wheels...one has a spoke pulled out of the carbon rim and one is flatted. No good. I hung out with the SRAM guys and we had a drink with Harry, the owner of the service station on the race course. He was funny. This was an Italian neighborhood and he was clearly one of the better known of the residents. He had lots of cycling questions and that made it fun for us. We got to talk racing to him and he was so impressed he thought he might even drive down to University City to see the racing on Monday. On the way back to my hotel, my driver offered to lend me a set of wheels so I could at least ride to the race the next day. That was really really nice. I feel like I always manage to get out of these tight places. I just try to keep my cool and it all works out.

Today I got up, had some coffee, went down for breakfast and was pleasantly surprised to see my teammates parents having breaky as well. I had a nice breakfast with some good chit-chat and was off to my room. I had a comfortable amount of time to get ready and set off for today's race course at 11AM. It was a great easy little ride down there and I had more than enough time to roll around and get fully warmed up. The race course was clockwise, which for some reason feels really uncomfortable to me. Most of our crits are counterclockwise and I'm used to that. So there's that and the first corner was a little tight. But I got over it. My teammate and I really worked hard to get something going and at long last we did.

These races have all been very aggressive and today was no exception, except that today was the day for Team Joy Rides to heat it up. Daniele and I had been attacking and counter attacking until I was bleeding from the nose. Then, with about 6 laps to go in the race, I attacked and I stuck it! It hurt so bad but it felt so good. It was my first real win in a real long time. I was out there soloing around and in the end I had enough space and time to put my hands over my head and everything. It was awesome. Me and my teammate finally felt vindicated for the last 2-3 crummy days of racing and we did it with just two of us. I personally felt vindicated for this season of consistent 2nd places. Today was our day and it felt good.

After the race the promoter had a podium ceremony of sorts where they awarded medals and all. That was fun. I watched the finish of the men's race where Dave Wenger stuck it out in his own 3- and then 2-person break for a solid second place (they lapped the field and won a tidy little prize for doing so!). So all in all, it was a good day for Austinites! After all the racing was done I met a nice racer name Carrie Cash who very kindly offered to drive me back to my hotel since I had no transportation. The owner of one of the local bike shops lives on todays course and he was throwing a big kegger in his front yard. Carrie took me over to the party and introduced me to her friends and we just had a good ole time yuckin' it up about the race and racing in general and who knows who. It was a blast. Good times, I say. This is what it is all about!!!

So in the end, the weekend was worth it. My team had a great race and I made a lot of new friends. And I now have a place to stay for next year, even. That's just super...the folks in this sport can be so cool! I love it and hope to stay in it as long as I can.

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