Monday, May 10, 2010

Nationals - part two

I failed to mention in my previous post the awesome evening we had on Friday. My teammate, Ryan's family had all of us over for dinner. We drank beer and wine, ate lots of good food, including fresh Wisconsin cheese curds, and met many of Ryan's awesome family members. Totally refreshing after living off of peanut butter, bananas, and sandwiches!

Another thing that I meant to bring up earlier is the amazing support we had while at nationals. Former WWU rider, Joe and current B team rider Joey, aka "The Joes," drove Ben's van all the way to and from Madison! They missed school and work so they could drive a total of over 60 continuous hours in order to transport our bikes and gear. Totally amazing! This trip could not have happened without them!

Despite what the weather report had predicted, it was still cold, windy, and rainy on Saturday. We were pretty worried about our races because we knew the course had very slick pavement, with a lot of slippery white traffic lines. Luckily, however, by the time Courtenay raced at 3, the rain had subsided and the course had dried out. She had a great race, looked strong, and finished mid-pack.

The course itself was a four corner square surrounding the Wisconsin capitol building. One corner of the square was about 30 feet lower than the opposite corner and all the turns were fast and rounded. Not a technical course like I would prefer, but a very cool setting, nontheless!

In the men's race, I started and followed a few moves, but was always brought back. It was clear that nobody was going to let a break get away after what had happened in the road race. The fast, non-technical nature of the course may have also acted as a breakaway deterrent. With 5 laps to go, Mesa State took control of the front. Ian Crane and I sat just behind their leadout, but a lot of riders were fighting for the same position. After some sketchiness and near-wrecks on the last lap, the lead-out lost its organization and I lost my good spot coming out of turn 3. I fought hard, but the damage was done. 10th place for me. Ian had a slightly better finish, coming in 7th.

Saturday night we attended the awards banquet. Ian and I thought we may have been top-5 for the individual omnium, but it turns out we were 6th and 7th. He wasn't happy to see that I edged him out by only 1 point, which was from a prime in the crit. Better luck next year!

The next morning, we awoke to sunshine and warmer temps for the team time trial. The race was an 18 mile out-and-back starting and finishing at the Trek headquarters in Waterloo. Ben, Ryan, Steve, and I rode smoothly and efficiently to second place behind Mesa State. Whitman rode very well to 3rd, only 4 seconds behind us.

Afterwards, all the teams crowded into the Trek building for the second awards banquet. We ate Qdoba-hosted tacos and checked out Lance Armstrong's Tour-winning bikes. Pretty cool! We recieved our medals for the time trial and also for being 5th in the team omnium. Go Vikings!

To sum it up, I had a great time racing and experiencing a part of our country that i've never known a lot about. Despite the weather, Wisconsin was a really cool place. Good riding, food, and culture. I'll admit, not what I expected.

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