Monday, September 14, 2009
This past weekend was the Chappell Hill road race, an 86 mile race that has rolling hills almost the entire time. In the past, this has always been one of the hardest races of the year, but I've always had a good time at this amazing race put on by Northwest Cycling Club, one of the nation's top cycling clubs. Due to an early start at 7:30 and my parents volunteering at registration, I was unwillingly forced to wake up at 4:30 in the morning so that we could get there by 6:30. I then proceeded to fall asleep in the car, and when we got there my parents decided that they would let me rest for a couple more minutes while they were working. It wasn't until my dad yanked open the door at 7:13 and yelling at me to wake up or I would just go ahead and sleep through the race. Nonetheless, I was able to suit up, pin on my numbers, and get my bike ready in record time to get down to the start line with about five minutes to spare. The course goes out about 15 miles before we started on five 12 mile loops before heading back to town.All up until the start of the race it had been raining, so when we got out on the course the pavement was pretty slick. The race was pretty calm for about the first 30 miles, with Alan Ting and I shooting each other the "What Up?!" sign, until a group of five got up the road and quickly built up a lead of about two and a half minutes. For the next 20 miles or so there were a few attacks from the pack, but none were given any lee-way. With about a lap and a half to go a group of three got up the road and quickly got about 45 seconds. With one and a quarter lap to go, I put in an attack and brought Cody Foster with me. The both of us got a decent gap and we worked really well together until we caught the group of three ahead of us. We all then worked together and were able to bridge the rest of the gap to the five leaders with about half a lap to go. Once we caught the leaders the break became extremely disorganized with only about four of us actually working. When we got off of the laps there was an attack by one of the Mexicans that had come up to race. No one really wanted to chase him down, but with the many attacks from the group we caught him with about six miles to go. Immediately, his teammate countered that move and got a pretty big gap. He was dangling right off the front of the group and it wasn't until I put in an attack with about one kilometer to go that he was caught. I stayed away until about 500 meters to go, but I knew that I was going to die on the 150 meter wall with about 300 meters to go so I kept on the front. About half way up the hill the sprint started with one of the Mexicans taking the "win" with Steven "Underpants" Wheeler (Super Squadra) taking second place over Scott Henry (AT&T) and I was able to hold onto fifth place. After the race, both of the Mexicans were disqualified due to illegal feeding and littering, so this moved everyone up a place which put me in 4th. Next on the schedule is the Bermuda Gran Prix. I leave for Bermuda Thursday morning for racing on Saturday and Sunday. The races include a crit, a time trial, and a 75 mile road race on 2.5 mile circuits.