Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Geriatric nationals day 3: USAC shits the bed, several times...

Today was a low down dirty dirty shame. With championship jerseys on the line race organization should be top notch, but today was a mess. There were several events that took place that directly affected the outcome of two races.

In the 35-39 race there was a group of 5-6 off the front. A crash took out two or three riders and in the fray, The break sat up a bit to try to figure out what to do, but one rider decided to keep the hammer down and rolled away. He was solo for a few laps. He was at least a minute up on the field when he flatted. He pulled over toy get a wheel from Shimano neutral support, but they just drove right by. Apparently they though he was a dropped rider. Would he have stayed away? probably not, but if nothing else he would have gotten back in the field and had a chance at the win.

In the 40-44 race the officials screwed big time. The race had 100 starters, and it was on from the gun so people were shelled left a right. lap traffic was a problem. with 2 laps to go a group of four had a 40 sec lead over the main pack, and there was chase of 5 or so in between. With one lap to go the lead had shuffled a bit with 2 riders leading the chase group of 7-8 and the field charging hard. Apparently the moto refs and the lap counters can't keep track of the leaders the two leaders did not get the bell lap. It is not clear what the chase group had been told, but i think they got the bell. Coming into the finish, the two leaders were about 5 seconds up on the chasers, that is within sight.

The course was a bit strange with the finish line not being part of the main loop so that you had to go straight/right at the top of the hill instead of making a left to continue on the course. The lead moto took the two leaders left for an extra lap, and a few of the chasers followed. Some on the chasers were paying attention and went right/straight to the line. One of these smart men won. Rick put in a huge solo bridge and managed to close the gap to a few seconds by the finishing climb and ended up in 5th passing some of the people that made the wrong turn.

After the debacle that took place at U-23 nationals last year I've pretty much lost all faith in the blue shirts. Officiating is a difficult and thankless job, but today the officials stole something from a few riders, and cheapened the national champion jersey that was awarded in the 40-44 Road Race.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Geriatric nationals day 2: Road Race flail, epic flail...

Ugghhhh, That pretty much sums it up.

Todd and I lined up for the 30-34 age category road race today. Weather was pretty much perfect, and we had 13 (lucky) laps of a 5 mile course that was pretty much like every roller-coaster ride i've ever been on. Slow grinds going up, stupid fast descents, and corners that make you hold on for dear life. Also, I felt as if I might vomit a few times. This course would be a blast to do a group ride on.

It was a bit of a reunion as I ran into Luke Seemann from CBR before the race and then I lined up next to Tom Burke (former West Mich. Coast Rider). Cycling is such a tight community that It you're bound to run into several people you know at just about any race you attend.

The race started off quickly with DC velo sending Josh Frick from the gun. The gap quickly grew to 40 seconds and then the bridge attempts started. It was pretty much a bar fight from this point on. I chased a dangerous attack through the feed zone on the 4th or 5th lap which damn near killed me. I finally recovered only to have another dangerous group roll off. Todd had been really active and I thought that I needed to pitch in as the field seemed content to let it go. I kept the group in striking distance until we hit the base of the major climb. The group went ballistic up the climb, and I got shelled. I chased through the chaff that was shed on the next climb, and ended up in a three man chase group for most of the day. Todd continued to battle, and just missed getting across to the winning move. BIg ups to Rick and Nima for getting me bottles, it was a warm day and every ounce of liquid was needed.

I'm not one to call people out over the internet, but today something happened that stuck in my craw. On the last lap, our group of three started picking up riders, none of them even attempted to contribute to getting to the line as quickly as possible. Let me make this very clear, I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH PEOPLE SITTING ON IN THIS SITUATION. We've all be shelled and just want to get things over with; some times sucking wheels is the only option. What I do have a problem with is when some ass, Jacob McGahey, decides to sprint for the line. I made my displeasure known to the folks around the finish line by sitting up and pointing at Jacob McGahey as we crossed the line and shouted something to the degree "That dude is awesome, he just got 15th place after sitting on for an entire lap". I was hoping that Dave Towle would publicly chastise him over the PA, but no suck luck. More so than any other the race, at National Championships the only place that really matters is first. I truly hope that the 16th place finisher, Jacob McGahey, will be remembered for being a feckless weenie

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Geriatric nationals day 1: Travel and the assisted living races...

Todd and I (not "the Todd") packed up and left for our tour of the eastern half of the U.S.A. We are going to the old peoples bicycle racing national championships, and then to New England to race Fitchburg against the youngsters.

I'm excited to be going to nationals, but more excited to not be peeing out of my butt every hour on the hour like old faithful. Last weekend goes down in history of the worst weekend of racing...ever. Two mechanicals, riding 55 of 65 miles of a RR solo with two gears was a bad start. Then my TT bike "ate" my rear derailleur while warming up 5 miles from the start. Needless to say I got my second DNS ever. At this point I didn't think it could get much worse, but tuesday I came down with a 102F fever and the runs. I didn't eat a "normal" meal until saturday night. Just about everyone in our race picked up an intestinal bug from the cow poo laden run-off water that resulted from the massive downpour during the first hour of our race. But enough whining, I could have swine flu like Bloomer.

Anyhoo, on to the task at hand. We're at masters nats chasing jerseys, not like the the "jersey chasers" at superweek, rather we are actually trying to win a bike race or six, and get a fancy red white and blue jersey (or six) for our hard work.

Todd pulled the long haul and drove the ~10 hour leg from B-more to L-ville.

Forty miles outside of Louisville. I call Rick for a status update on the tandem RR. call goes as follows (sorta):
Rick: Hello?
Jamie: Rick, It's Jamie.
R: We got our first national championship jerseys.
J: Sweet.
Todd: Awesome.
RN: Gotta go mack on podium bitches.

Here is the photographic evidence:

Rick is the on the left, and note that this is the first time I've ever seen him smile after a race.