I’ve arrived back in the deep South of Austin, TX after spending most of the month of April on the road for a couple of major cycling events, first being racing over in California. I was back in Austin for a couple of days before going down to San Antonio for one day of the Usana Regional Convention. I flew out of the San Antonio airport with my bike packed away nicely in the new Sci’Con bike bag (still had to pay bike fees of $94!). Arrived in Atlanta on Saturday 25th April, jumped into a shuttle for Athens. I arrived in Athens with about 2hrs to spare before the start of the PRO mens twilight criterium. Since I had not done the “qualifier” my starting position was near the back of the field of 140 riders. I clipped in perfectly when the gun went off in front of 40,000 spectators, but unfortunately I was stuck behind several slow starters and I had no where to go but wait for them to speed up, I was like “what the…” because by the time I reached the first corner, I was already very close to the back and it was strung out immediatley down the back side. I was holding fine in single file but was panicking a little by trying to sprint to move up at every opportunity and then on second lap on second turn there was a pile up in mid-bunch. I still have not programmed it in my head that I need to stop and take the free lap when this happens, as the effort of trying to bridge back the gap is just too much when you are already riding at break-neck speeds. So, after a mere 13 minutes, my race was over and I was confined to watching the race action un-fold from the side-lines. My worse performance in a criterium race in two years of racing, my last shocking performance (s) was the BC Superweek in 06 when I had just started riding. At least now, I cannot blame my fitness for letting me down.
I also happened to be the “official” reporter for the USA Speedweek series, so I interviewed the podium place getters from the Mens and womens PRO races and wrote articles for Cyclingnews.com, Daily Peloton, Spoke News and various other prominent cycling websites. This proved to be a fun and interesting experience, plus it helped improved my writing abilities and get my name out there in the Cycling world.
The second day of Speedweek racing was held at Roswell and this was a much better criterium for me, however I still did not go the distance as I got pulled with 8 laps left to go. The third day was at Beaufort and I was really looking forward to doing the super technical fast course at the seaside quaint little town, but my loaned 303 Zip front carbon wheel flatted on me on the back straight just before the third turn. As I tried to stop safely, I went through the corner and the front wheel just wiped out from under me and I almost saved myself from falling by dragging my left foot (wearing my cleats down) but I landed heavily on my back. This caused excrutiating pain in my hip/tail-bone area so that I was paraylsed on the middle of the road. I then realized that if I did not get off the road, they would have to stop the race so I used my arms to try and wriggle off the roadside and then struggled to my feet. Had to sit down for a few moments to re-collect my thoughts and stop the pain. I told the official that I wanted to get back in, so I limped back to the Sram pit and then was put back into the race, but I could only go for another 15minutes before I was gapped out the back.
This crash practically ruined the rest of my week, although I did start all the races and did manage to finish Spartanburg despite coming behind massive pile-ups. My consolation for this week was the reporting I did for the series and getting to interview all the top place-getters. It is going to take a while for my injury to heal up and this week I have have not touched my bike. I plan on getting back on it this weekend for some easy spins and getting back into it. Have a Texas Premier Cup next weekend at the Houston Grand Prix. So, at least I need to get the legs turning again so I wont be completely out of touch despite a really sore butt!!