Monday, July 21, 2008
I'm back!! After an exhausting ten hour plane trip, I am finally at my own house sitting in front of my own computer writing my blog without five other kids looking over my own shoulder. Only sleeping a few hours at the airport after staying up all night after the 64 kilometer cobbled race, I was tired enough to fall asleep standing up. The race course was only like 3.3 kilometers with literally only 200 meters of paved road on the whole course. The race was a bigger race than the day before, there were a few more racers and the prize list was a lot bigger. The race had ten euros to the first rider across the line and five to the second...every lap....all twenty laps. This was a great oppurtunity to earn a few bucks, I mean euros, before the trip home. The race started out extremely fast due to both Alex and Anders getting on the front and pushing the pace for the whole first lap. By the time that we had finished the first lap the people in contention for the win had gone down from around fifty to about ten people with three Americans, Alex, Anders, and me, in the group. After the second lap, where the pace wasn't nearly as high as the first, and a few guys had caught up with the lead group, I decided to try an attack. When I looked back I saw that only one other person had reacted. He was a pretty small dude with some awesome looking gold handlebar tape, who will be referred to as "Goldie". The two of us worked pretty evenly for another lap or so until I looked back to see Alex bridging up to us. When he had caught us we immediatly started to try and work Goldie over. Whenever Alex was on the front and I was on his wheel I would start to sit up and let Alex get a pretty big gap until Goldie would jump around me to bridge back up to Alex and then make him chase all the way back to Alex. After about eight or nine laps of this (about 9 or 10 laps to go), where Alex and I tried to get 1-2 in all the primes, Alex and I went on a flurry of attacks. Alex attack first, and when Goldie bridged up to Alex I attacked. When Goldie had caught back up to me on the worst cobbles of the whole course Alex went on another attack that immediatly did it for me. I couldn't accelerate on the cobbles and lost contact with Alex and Goldie. The good thing was that the gap was so large to the next rider that it took another five laps just to be caught by the single rider chasing. When I was passed I tried hard to try and jump on his wheel, but we were on the bad cobbles again and I didn't have anything at all left in the tank. I then sat back down and tried to get back into my own rhythym as I watched my podium spot ride away from me. After another lap I saw another rider closing the gap to me, but I knew right away that the cobbles had taken it all out of me and that it was no hope for me to jump on his wheel. Riding the rest of the race by myself, just waiting to be swallowed up and spit out the back of the field, I was pulled by the officials. Confused that they had thought I was off the back I quickly found out that they had pulled everyone except Alex and Goldie and I had ended up in fifth. I then sat and watched the finish as Alex took his second in two days by attacking Goldie with about 500 meters to the finish. It looks like this trip ended with success for the 15-16 National Team.