I was still sick yesterday, which I knew when I woke up, but denied it to myself. The race began at 6pm and my plan was to attack right away and make sure to get in the winning break. Right before we started, the officials changed the starting line and I lost my spot at the front. As a arrived at the new start line, where there were already 100 people lined up, I cut to the front again—only one row from the front. But the idiot in front of me didn’t sprint right away, which meant I was boxed in as thirty people passed us on the left. I made my way back to the front over the next half lap, but a break had already gone. I went hard and began bridging the gap with a couple other guys. We caught up a half lap latter, but by then the peloton was on us. As the other 100 something riders passed our group, I felt tired and weak. I knew something was wrong, and that it was a stupid idea for me to be racing if I felt this bad. But I kept going for about 40 minutes, arguing with myself over whether I should stop or continue. I was near the back when I finally made up my mind, and I had the perfect place to do it. On one of the corners, the road widened from ten feet across to forty as the small road we were on merged with a big double lane road. This was the most difficult part of the course, because it required slowing down, sprinting, and then pushing 500 or 600 watts for half a kilometer of pot-holed road once you catch the wheel in front of you. The pace was pushed up to 40 miles an hour during this section and once a gap formed, you were doomed. It wasn’t the nicest thing for me to do, but these guys don’t play nice. So I slowed down on this corner and let a gap form, which screwed everyone behind me, but helped my teammates—who at this point were all in front of me.
I got off the bike at our feed zone to let Giora, our feed guy, know that I was done. As I lifted up my bike to lean on the side of our van, my rear wheel fell off. The quick release had come undone. That would have been a nasty crash. And it would have happened too, because there were a lot of obstacles to jump over on the course.
To get over this cold, I have to take four or five days easy. Is it too much to ask to be healthy for at least a month at a time?
After racing, I cooled down and myself and Tony (who had been dropped on the second lap) got some burgers and fries. We ate them in secret, pounding down the most substantial meal we’ve had in weeks as fast as possible. We then watched the rest of the race and passed out bottles to what was left of our team.
The race ended and we packed up, but before we could go we had to check in with the drug test guys and make sure that none of us were to be the day’s randomly checked racers. Eliad was. By the time we were done with that, it was dark, and a huge crowd of thousands of people had gathered at the racecourse’s downtown section. Most of these races have festivals with carnival rides, food, and music surrounding the course. This one had all that, plus a huge fireworks show. The drunken crowd cheered as the explosions lit up the sky, and I have to say that it was a pretty good firework show. Once the fireworks ended, we stepped inside and ate in an incredibly hot little Egyptian restaurant. We ordered these chicken burrito type things that were HUGE. I was full after eating just one. ME. Just ONE. That’s a lot of food, especially for just 5 euros. They were made with two giant tortillas, barbequed chicken, vegetables and a ton of sauce. The key was the two tortillas wrapped together, making the thing about a foot long. Two tortillas…it’s so simple it’s genius!!! Every burrito I eat from this day forth shall be made with two tortillas. As you can see, this even made quite an impression on me. It was quite a night, even though I couldn’t race.
We got home at 1am, and unfortunately Tony and I didn’t wake up in time the next morning to say goodbye the five guys who left for Israel, Switzerland, and Spain. They should have woken us, but if things go as planned, we’ll see them soon enough. We’re planning on having them come race with us next spring in the States.