Crit Nationals

After bragging to Ian about how I’d stolen some of Marcel’s granola and coconut milk the day before, Ian infromed me that that granola and milk I’d stolen wasn’t Marcel’s, but his.  Uh oh.  I knew Ian would be looking for revenge in the crit, and kept a watchful eye out.  And low and behold, true to his evil spirit, Ian took his revenge.  Aproximately 2/3rds of the way through the race Ian snaked across the front of the peloton trying to put me in the fence, but caused a huge pile up of 50 riders instead, crashing out Horndog Brocal instead of me and destroying his bike in half.  After the race Alan had to drive 700 miles to Atlanta that night to pick up a new frame at Blue’s head quarters (Blue is our bike sponsor FYI).  Nah, just kidding.  That didn’t happen–the part about Ian causing the crash.  Everything else did.

Here’s a NASTY Vimeo clip of Jon’s crash.  Beware, there’s lots of blood and guts.  It’s worth a watch.

It was hot and muggy as we sat in the parking lot waiting for our race to start.  We’d set up camp in a mini blacktop Bayou.  A thick stench of septic water and urine wafted into our nostrils and eyes as we packed our backs and groins full of ice socks, trying to keep cool and our socks dry.  Alan had provided us with all the necessary tools to keep cool and hydrated for the race.  We had 80 bottles of water, six extra gallons, four or five coolers, gels, bars, all the normal powders plus a few extra kinds specifically for the heat (extra salt), enduralytes, ice socks, cold towels, and even a few liters of special prescription saline solution with 900mg of sodium per 100ml serving.  I added about 130ml in my bottles for the race.  First sip I tried to take, 15 minutes in, I squirt directly into my face by accident.  Good thing I have an extremely high pain tolerance (way higher than anyone else in the world) and I didn’t feel any discomfort as the salt water bleached my eyes.

When the race started, Ian took two laps to clip in.  I was stuck behind him the entire time.  Somehow he ended up getting to the front and attacking with Gabe and Jon, while I drifted far into the depths of the pack foder.  Danny and Steve, who’s birthday it was yesterday, were racing the U23 race after us, so we only had four guys in the race.  We just needed one more guy…

So while Gabe covered EVERY single move for the first 45 minutes of the race (and just about all of them after that too), I drove my bike like I hadn’t raced a big crit in two months, which I hadn’t.  Luckily the race was a long one at 80km, so I had enough time to re-learn crit bike racing and get to the front and attack.  I ended up towing another guy with me to two others up the road.  Our four-person break turned to 10 before long and we quickly put 20 seconds on the field.  We were off for a while but it became apparent we wouldn’t stay away, since only five of us were working.  With 13 laps and the organization completely going to shit, I attacked and got away by myself.  I spent the next few laps futily attempting to hold the pack off for the next half hour (long laps).  I did not.

Gabe attacked.  Ian attacked. Jon was in the medical tent.  His bike was in two pieces.  I got up to the front and sat there as Gabe’s last move was slowly reeled in.  I followed an attack and pulled through, dropping the guy who’d just attacked by accident because he forgot to keep pedaling.  I was half way between the peloton and Gabe’s two-man move now, with just 2.5 laps to go.  I didn’t quite make it.  I was absorbed by the field with 2 laps remaining.  Gabe and his breakmate were caught a half lap later.  Ian found himself on the very front with a lap to go and drilled it with a tiny gap.  He was caught.  All our cards were used up…except for our sprinter, who’d been sitting and resting in the field all day for the inevitable pack sprint.  NOT.

We went into the race with the plan of attacking the S outa that S and we did, knowing that we most likely would not win in the field sprint since there were two or three guys in the pack that pretty much had that wrapped up.  Our efforts were valiant but we didn’t win.  At least we entertained David in the process:

After the crit we rode home, showered, and ate Top Ramen to re-hydrate.  Then we drove back to the race course to watch the U23 race, where Danny, Steve, and Marcel suffered in the heat while Logan, who got 6th in the 17-18 crit, ate yogurt with a snicker’s bar.  He was DRIPPING with sweat.

Here he’s blowing a long stream of snot out his nose.

This is “Pat,” the guy our team cheered on throughout the race.  We were convinced Pat was going to CRUSH the sprint, since he conserved at the very back of the pack the entire day, but then he got dropped.

Danny after the race.  He got 10th!

This is the most unflattering picture of Danny I could take.  Upward angle.

Marcel and Steve.  Steve was an absolute animal like Gabe had been and spent the majority of the race smashing fools’ legs as he bridged gaps and drove it off the front.

After the race, Gabe, Jon, Logan and I went out to eat with a couple nice Southern girls.  Logan was only 17 and Jon has a girlfriend…so logically both those guys ended up sitting right next to our company while Gabe and I sat at the far end of the table.  Jon spent half the night on his phone and Logan spent half his time making pools of salt on the table with a salt shaker.  I couldn’t hear a damn thing the whole time since it was really loud and I was so far away, but nodded and laughed along with unheard stories going on at the other end of the table.  I’m not sure, but I may have laughed and smiled after the tale was told of someone’s dead aunt.  Gabe and I shook our heads in disgust with our seating arrangements while we all grew hungrier and hungrier.  Two hours later our food came.  Today we rest.  Tomorrow we do the real race.  Heads will roll.  As will eyes.

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