Easily 35,000 people crammed the sidewalks of downtown Athens, Georgia to watch the race. It is like a giant street party in which a 90minute pro-criterium breaks out.
Tons of awesome.
This is a picture from the backside of the course. I spent the entire race on the homestretch with the 352 Racing peanut gallery. We made lots of noise and cheered on all of our friends and favorites. For those of you interested in the actual play by play of the race check out cyclingnews.
The Athens Twilight Criterium takes over the top spot above the Little 500 and the 2005 Track Cycling World Championships as my favorite cycling events I have ever attended. The racing was fast and furious, and the company over the weekend was fantastic.
I did a mountain bike race on Sunday at Ft. Yargo. The course was nice and smooth. Not very technical, but it did have a few long sustained climbs. I easily had my best mountain bike race ever as I felt like I was actually racing. Doing all I could to stay with faster guys and working hard to pass folks. This was a pleasant change from when I usually act like a traffic cone.
I ended up in eighth place out of ten racers. Normally I am in last or second to last place and quite a few minutes behind the winning group (9 or 10min back). Yesterday, I finished 6min down on the winners and only two minutes down on fifth place. I am stoked with this result.
What a great weekend.
That may be some of the nicest grass I have ever rested upon, ever.
When I was a courier in Minneapolis and routinely pulled up a piece of the couch at Blazing Saddles (not to be confused with this Blazing Saddles), above the original Buca, I would find myself listening to the near constant drone of the Team Leader discussing all things bike racing in the United States. It was usually a one sided conversation, but from time to time he would dole out advice for aspiring bike racers that were in awe of his near mythical status as a Cat1 roadie.*
(Lots of time spent in the office above this place.)
He told me that if I really wanted to see what bicycle racing was like in the United States I had to attend two events. The two events he mentioned were the US PRO Championships in Philly (no longer the US Championships, but still going strong) and Athens Twilight Criterium in Athens, Georgia. This weekend I head north with a few teammates to take in the Twilight, and if half of what the Team Leader says is true it will be one of the coolest bike events I have ever attended.
Will it be able to top the front row seats we had at the UCI Track World Championships in Los Angeles in 2005?
(Still can’t believe I tried to film the entire event, rather than just watching it live. I don’t make this mistake anymore. The Team Leader knew a lot about what was going on there. He may know what he is talking about).
(Rashaan Bahati and Rock Racing winning Athens in 2008.)
I am under the impression he may be right about Twilight.
*It was neither confirmed or denied if he ever reached the level of Cat 1. Some have said he never made it out of the Cat5s, but he sure did sound like he knew what he was talking about, so we let it ride.
Woke up at 4am this past Saturday to head out to St. Augustine, FL with my 352 Racing teammates for a cat3 criterium that had a $1200 payout. What? Who do I think I am? Did I step into a time machine and transport myself back to 2006 and the days of racing with xXx Racing with the Courteous Fellow and Luke?
I was a little amazed at my willingness to go on this adventure, but with the possibility of a lot of money, six teammates going, and a chance to visit the oldest European settlement in North American I jumped at the chance. The event was well run and my 352 Racing teammates slayed it with some amazing teamwork that secured a victory and a bunch of prize money. It was an awesome day for the team.
The team, that was all, the team. I had absolutely nothing to do with it. I was dropped within 10minutes of racing and never found the willpower to stay in the pack. I had a poor start and was hoping for the race to slow down for a lap or two, but relief never came. Instead, I found myself getting stuck behind a small crash on a tight corner and the gap started to grow after the fifth lap. That was only the start of my problems. I found myself braking into the corners and not carrying enough speed.
Ahhhhhh. It is like I am a cat5 in cornering. I have the fitness to be in the 3s and have the past ability to do well. I have to find it. I should probably do a few more criteriums, but I also need to get back to basics.
The following day was the Tom Petty Heartbreaker. It was a 55mile unsupported bike ‘race’ through rural Alachua County. It was full of dirt roads and had about 40 people at roll out. I felt strong in the beginning and found myself in the main chase group that sprouted the eventual winning break, but I flatted about half way through. I then cut the course to latch on to the final group as they counted down the miles and into the finish.
It was a great time and the second of these kind of races to be held here this season. The first being the Doc Hollywood Invitational out of Micanopy.
I did a time trial the other week. I didn’t get last. It was hard.
I am racing in a criterium on Saturday in downtown St. Augustine. A lot of my teammates are going to be there so it will be awesome. We have a bunch of tactics all planned out that will probably go straight out the window once the racing starts.
This past weekend was the 11th Annual Tour de Gainesville. I discussed it last year, but it is basically 70mi of in-town mountain bike trails. Straight up renegade style. Good times. 140 people took to the start.
352 Racing rolled deep in our pink kits.
After I was done with the TdG I decided to head down to Tampa to watch the national level Tampa Twilight Criterium. It was great seeing a bunch of pros race in the state and it was even better seeing form Minnesota superstar Pat Lemieux killing it out on the streets.