Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sleepless in Saint Louie...

Only sleepless because we had so dang much fun. Last weekend was Gateway cup and it was 10x more fun than the last time I went (2002). The weather was reasonable..temps in the 80s and sunny. I swore off going to that race years ago when the temps were consistently over 100.

there were a LOT of highlights from the trip. Me, Rachel and Nat cat taking on the regional riders and wound up taking 2nd overall in the Omnium (would of had first but Nat didn't get in until day 2). The racing was interesting and we had some really good leadout practice.

Racing in the dark on Friday night was ok. I didn't panic or die and while I still don't like nighttime racing, I'm less scrrrd of it. Rachel and I walked around the course and handed out bells to the spectators who were happy to have someone to cheer for. Nothing like hearing your name being called to make you feel at home! There were some elaborate sidewalk picnics going on and a LOT of adult beverage quaffing. I think St. Louis can compete with Philly for race fans.

We didn't get back to the hotel until 1am on Friday night. The diet coke I had to shake off the effects of a long drive kept me up most of the night so I wasn't able to finish the Saturday race but Rachel led out Nat who took 2nd to Kelly Benjamin in a long, uphill sprint.

Sunday's race was in the Italian neighborhood and we got ourselves a cheering section full of drunk guys. They were great and cheered every lap.
We aimed to keep the race together so we could lead out Nat so me and Rachel covered attacks. With less than 2 laps to go the three of us were together and I got to the front and starting bringing up the pace. We went past the start/finish all lined up and around the back. I made it until half way up the hill with Rachel shouting encouragement to me. She took over and got Nat around the corner but unfortunately for Eikes, some rider wiped out on the last turn, taking a few people with her. Eikes fell on the same side she'd hit a week earlier. She was a trooper though. A few more scrapes and soreness but she was taking it in stride. From the last turn Nat had a long downhill sprint and she was in the lead 50 feet from the finish. She was sprinting out of the saddle in the middle of the road and the other rider came over from the side and bodychecked Nat. We protested the finish but no official was at the finish line (nice, eh?). O well. That's racing. We knew we had a good finish so we celebrated anyway.

We stayed to thank our cheering section and then helped Troy break downt he cannondale tent. We are getting really good at breaking down the tent. Nat is the flag stripper, Eikes is the tent hugger and I'm the tent bagger. Im' not sure what was a harder workout--breaking down the tent or sprinting?? Either way, it was fantastic to have Troy's support. He kept our bikes running smoove.

We went back to the hotel where we had a lovely dinner and passed out about 10.

Monday we raced in U-City and we ran the same game plan; keep it together and set up for a field sprint. Me and Eikes were patrolling the front well and I knew Rachel was hurting but she was working hard anyway. The pack stayed together until two to go when a rider jumped off the front. I was mid pack, working to get a certain barnacle off of Nat's wheel when the rider went. I thought Kenda would chase and they didn't so I went after the rider. I wasn't sure if I could pull her in and still lead out Nat so I went with a moderately hard pull for longer distance to cover ground and keep Nat in position. Nat wound up sprinting from too far out and while the lone rider was within 5 feet of being caught, Nat got nipped on the line after a beautiful in the saddle sprint. She was on the podium and we continue to fine tune our teamwork. A great weekend. Wayyy too much fun and we wished that everyone else was there with us. Next year~


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