Wow, what a couple of weeks in racing! The rain has been quite a trip. I managed to get over to Athens for the Twilight festivities, and I have to say that Athens Twilight is one of the best racing events in the USA! Wow!!! The entire town is behind it, and they’ve transformed the University calendar to make sure it’s as strong and cool as possible. I tooled in from my conference in Atlanta in the late afternoon on Friday. After settling in at the very cool and very inexpensive Georgia Center, I dressed up to spin out my legs and pick up my race numbers at Party Central in downtown Athens. I was a bit lost, but there were plenty of enthusiastic fans with helpful directions. When a pool full of bikini-clad sorority girls rush up to give you directions, you know you are not just in a typical event. It is way better than the usual “fuck you, you goddamn faggot! Get out of our town!” which one normally experiences.
Unfortunately, the beautiful weather and scenery of Friday devolved into thunderstorms on Saturday…..As I made my way over, I seriously thought about bailing out, and I was certainly NOT going to use my Cat-3 number. My spirits were lifted a bit when I got back from a natural break and saw that Tom Gates and Robert Gregory from Nashville had parked next to me. They’re both total badasses and great guys, racing for Lynn Greer’s Gran Fondo squad. Nobody was really thrilled by the conditions, and the ledger had 33 starters in the 45+–not exactly a large turnout for an NRC race! I didn’t flinch, started on the front line, and made certain that the first lap was fast going up the big hill on the finish line. The qualifier races don’t use the flat downtown course familiar to spectators, and this year they put it on a really nice course near the riverfront. It suited me, and I was stoked after a few laps. A lot of guys tried to make breaks happen, and I bridged up to two of them in the early going–but nothing was going anywhere. There were no teams, and lots of strong guys. Coming into five laps to go I was thinking “holy shit, I could win this”, the lead pack was down to about 20 guys. But, with 2 to go, I started cramping a bit after chasing up to a late attempt. And, right after that someone took a flyer and held it for the win. I recovered and had a pretty good line in the sprint, but I slowed trying to follow Tom Gates, but didn’t have the kick to surge past him as the cramps kicked back in and my sprint didn’t. Ah, well. I finished a respectable 12th, and I was right up there in the end of an NRC race.
Great job by Justin, Darrell, and Mark Shea and all the rest who were up in STL racing the TDSTL!!! Lots of Heckawee and Carbondalians in action in that one as well! Diamond Dave Neis took 3rd overall and 2nd in Carondolet. Chief Reimbold finished the TT in Mikey Weiss’ van, after Mikey picked him up at the porta potty….I’m not sure what is up with that…..
FROM UNCLE GARY: