Sunday, August 3, 2008

Another Crossroads race and a super-smooth flight to Cali

Well, after the Mocksville race on Tuesday and a tough two rides on Wednesday with some VO2 and steady-state intervals, I was goaded into racing Thursday night! We sent most of the guys who wouldn't be racing in the big weekend races (Jon Hamblen, Tom Soladay, Andy Baker, Jackie Simes, David Duncan, and yours truly). I knew the legs were super tired, but I figured then I could take it really easy Friday and Saturday before packing up and flying out to Nationals in LA on Sunday morning.

The race was fast, but I really enjoy the figure-eight course and relatively smooth turns. I didn't enjoy the risks taken by many racers in such a "local" event, but I stayed safe and was able to go off the front and do some big efforts to help out Tom for the finish. Jon Hamblen was super active as usual, and our combined efforts meant that Tom only had to follow others in pursuit of us. He was in perfect position for the sprint, and had followed Lucca Damiani (Colavita rider who won the top-level CSC Invitational at the beginning of Philly Week this year) and they had even gapped Davide Fratini! Just as Tom was coming around Lucca in the final stretch (he said he wasn't even working that hard to come around!) Lucca swung him from the middle of the road over to the barriers. Tom unclipped and almost crashed, rolling in for third after Lucca won and Davide sprinted by.

FRUSTRATING! I felt really bad for Tom, as he hasn't had a win this season even though he has really had a breakout year in some of the biggest races on the calendar. I told him it would come, that he is lucky to be safe and going well for this weekend. I myself was very happy to get one final hard hour effort in and stay safe. I could tell that the legs are going to feel excellent after some serious recovery!

Now Andy Baker and I are chilling in a two-room suite at the Hampton Inn near Disneyland in LA. We drove to Pat Raines' house last night, then woke up at 3:45 AM EST to pack up into a cab, go to the Raleigh airport, and then fly to Charlotte and then LAX. The flights were quite nice and perfectly on time, not stressful at all, and they even checked my wheels for free after there was no coat storage on the plane! After landing in beautiful Cali, Andy and I took a friendly shuttle to the Advantage rental car agency, happily paid $830 for a week-long van rental (!!!), and then went and got some authentic Mexican at a local drive-thru! I love it here.

After we unpacked and built up our road and TT bikes, we rode the later for an hour and made sure everything worked and that our slightly modified positions were dialed in (Andy is on a completely new TT bike and has only raced a TT two other times in his life, while I just changed to the new ISM seat which I am absolutely IN LOVE with!). I think we might chill in the pool or watch the first Godfather before getting an early sleep and wrecking shop at the continental breakfast tomorrow morning (gotta get breakfast, lunch, AND dinner in the morning, after all!) and then heading out to ride the TT course and get in some good final efforts before the big morning on Wednesday.

PSYCHED FOR NATIONALS! Thanks for reading!

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