Gee, Road Season ended with a Bang at Gateway Cup. I went up solo planning on staying with my friends Alfred and Sunita and then racing Saturday and calling it a road season. Tileman Gary Meredith was really jonesing to do the Monday race, and his plan was to out and back Lafayette Square, then do the same on Monday. Big Tom and Molteni weren’t into the 100+ degree forecast for the 4-5 race and pulled out, so Gary and I were both alone in separate vehicles, but I saw him as he was warming up, and he knew that I was set up in my usual turn 2 position to warm up on the trainer. Gary was really rocking in the race! He tends to do better in races like Lafayette, but this year he was hanging midpack no problem. No yo-yo and no getting dropped. He was in the pack lapping people. I was yelling at him and riding the trainer and talking with Walker, the course marshal,on turn 2 (which wound up being a really good thing). It was probably only 5 to go or so when Darrell Bratton came by and said Uncle Gary had black armbands for us in memory of Randy Gillespie, so we headed to the other side of the course, but it didn’t take long to grab the bands and get back to do the final warm up (the Women’s 3-4 was in between Tileman’s race and the old guy race). By the time I got back to my trainer on turn 2, Gary’s bike was sitting next to it, then Walker ran up and said “is that your buddy Gary? His hip isn’t good.” I looked up and there was Gary on a plank on a Gator with a couple of STLFD people driving him up over the curb (that probably hurt….). By the time I found Medical (turn 4, not turn 1) Gary was hauled off in an ambulance. Frankly, I thought I’d pick him up later and take him back to his truck….
The race was very good in the Masters. Lots of really fast guys, and Gateway is regaining its prominence for Masters. Glad to see a full slate of races, because I’m sure those fast guys from Colorado and Oregon and Utah and such would be unlikely to come to STL to do one or two races. Team Mack had a good crew on the line, with Uncle Gary, Robert Kron, Sam, Mike Oz, and Darrell on the line. Great to see the usual suspects from STL, and pretty much everyone was there. On the line Dodd Slawson played weather supermodel to announce that it was 101.9 on the start line (his Garmin registered over 107 the next day, as I hazily recall). I can’t much remember what happended, but Robert did ok in that one, and Gary and Darrell were quite active. I saw a picture of me pulling off the front, so I guess I was there.
Afterwards I loaded up, flagged the STLFD guys and asked for directions to SLU (straight down Park, about 2 miles….) and headed over to see Gary. He was in good spirits, but a lot of pain, and still in the ER (though they had already done x-rays). At least he managed to remember his number so they called Sarah, and I got her number and his car key number in case I could help get his truck back. I was still a bit hopeful that maybe they’d do a more advanced scan and he’d be released…but the head person in the ER said “no way” as they took him off for catscans. So, with Sara on the way, I headed to Alfred and Sunita’s for a wonderful dinner and great times. I still thought I’d be taking Gary to his truck after the race on Saturday. But, Saturday morning I had a note from Chief Reimbold saying that Gary’s catscan didn’t turn out so well–something about metal rods and biting on towels, and maybe surgery next Thursday? So, I skipped out early on Saturday and schmoozed in before visiting hours at the Trauma ICU, where Gary had a rod through his femur with some chains pulling it away from his hip socket. Traction. The main surgeon for this, literally the MAN for hips, was out of town, so it wasn’t clear when they’d be able to operate. But, Gary was in good spirits, as always. I told him about Steve Driscoll and Uncle Gary’s hip surgeries, and I think it helped a bit to know that people do come back. They got the surgery done on Tuesday after his crash, and he made it home pretty quickly on Friday. But, he’s got a long haul ahead. Drop him a line when you can! He’ll be back, this is just the end of the Road Season….
Saturday I felt better in the race, in spite of the heat. I managed to get off the front for the better part of a lap, and I felt ok. But, I just don’t have enough racing for finishing off a pack sprint. Uncle Gary did make a counter move off of my dig (which was spurred by Uncle Gary shouting “go, go, go…”), but he didn’t have the right people on his wheel, and that fizzled him out for the finish. Robert was up there somewhere, and both Robert and Uncle Gary finished in the top 10 on Monday. Given the competition, it was good to see guys like Chris Harre and David Cummings finishing well–it wasn’t a local yokel affair. And, it was good to finally see a few guys from the Chicago area-though if you takeaway Kron, I think Coloradans still outnumbered Chicagoans….
My week was buoyed by the arrival of my new acquisition, a Gary Fisher Ferrous 29r. I did a Cedar Lake loop yesterday, and it’s mostly dialed in. The tires suck for around here, so I have some new ones coming. Cedar’s fire trails (the doubletracky ones) are completely overgrown, which cuts off the “Molteni Variation”. But, it was good to do more single track, anyway. By the end, I was finally clearing stuff that I knew I hadn’t cleared, even though it was raining a bit and starting to get sticky.
Next up, Gateway Cross Cup!!!