The ominous feelings began last Friday. I was headed to Albany, GA for the first stage race of the year. I got online to check start times for the time trial on Saturday morning. I printed out the start list and highlighted all the start times of my teamates. Then I noticed it. My race number for the weekend was #13. That can't be good. Everyone told me to not worry, that was lucky. I figured I'd do the traditional thing and run the number upside down and I'd be fine. Besides, it was my 32nd birthday this weekend so nothing bad could happen. If it was my 31st -I'd have stayed home.
Anyways, we loaded up the megavan and trailer to capacity with Liza, my team, and myself and headed to Albany. The trip was long but we watched movies the whole way so it was not bad. Checked into roach motel and tried to get some sleep.
I couldn't run my number upside down. That didn't bode well. Good course for me, 3.2K with 16 turns. About 80 guys were in the Pro race andd some were straight from the Tour of California. No problem- I get the countdown and blast off up the street, around turn one and head to head with an oncoming vehicle at 30 mph. Volunteers were running everywhere, the truck didn't know what to do and I didn't have any time to react. I squeezed around in the gutter on the far side of the street costing me valuable seconds and most importantly messing with my oxygen starved brain. Blew another corner further in for some more lost time and rolled in to finish 40th. Nathan had a good ride finishing12th for our highest GC position.
Nothing exciting here. 8 corner, 30mph Avg crit. I felt pretty good and was having fun with all the corners. I rolled in 23rd for our highest placing. We all moved up to top 20 in the GC with Nathan in 10th now.
I was looking forward to this one. Rolling 96 miles should be a good day. Got things started quick with a break on the 1st lap. Cleve and I rolled up the road about 5 miles in. Got joined by a super strong guy a couple of miles later and we rolled out. I wasn't wanting to stay out all day, the intention was that when I was caught, Nathan would counter-attack. Cleve broke a derailleur cable and was gone, we were now low on horsepower after 15 miles or so it came back togather. After a flurry of activity, a break went again, this time with Nathan in it. One other guy in the top ten was present and no one else had a strong enough team to bring it back. If the break stays, we win. A good situation. Starting the last lap the break had over 4 minutes. Done deal. We roll into the feedzone waayy too fast on the last lap, a break is forming and the feild is chasing. I know we are too fast and try to slow so I can grab our feed bag as we are all out of water. I see Jay and the bag, grab it, and I'm on the ground at 30 mph. Got hung up and dragged down, lots of guys crashing now. I'm curled up and getting run over and slammed into for an eternity. I'm starting to wonder if the everyone looped around and they are crashing into me again. Anyways, It's over and there are guys scattered all over the road, one guy is not moving and leaves by ambulance. Everyone else is dazed and bleeding all over. I'm not too bad off, alot of abrasions on the right side but OK. Crunched a carbon wheel too. Liza and Nathan help me out of the road. That's right- Nathan who is suppose to be 4 mins. up the road. I inquire abou this and he had the same thing happen to him. Feedbag- ground correlation. So we managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Had the race locked up and now nothing. Happy Birthday sucker! Long ride home an lots of sticking to the sheets now. Later- DH