2002 Gateway Cup St. Louis, MO
This weekend we traveled to the gateway of the west for a long weekend of
racing. One of our sponsors, THF Realty, is based in the St. Louis area, so that
was the extra incentive we had to travel to the Midwest. This way we could meet
the sponsors, bring them to the races and show them what we are capable of (and
what their dollars look like at 30mph).
Lafayette Square Crit:
The race series began with a 9pm Friday night criterium. The course was not
very good; with it being a flat 4-corner race it was ridiculously easy to sit in
and almost impossible to get a breakaway established. Our team should have just
sat back and enjoyed the ride but we were super aggressive, burned through a
bunch of matches and screwed up the finish but we still managed to get 5th
place. We had the talent to win the race but made a few bad calls and paid the
price for it. We should have set up the sprint for Dan but we thought it would
look better if Kevin won while wearing the stars-and-stripes jersey. I tried to
lead it out from 1¼ laps out but I could not maintain 35mph for that long and we
were swarmed with two turns to go.
After saying hey to a few people, picking up our primes and waiting for the
results to get posted we managed to not get back into the team van until almost
midnight. Our Endorphins were still kicking and we were a bit perturbed about
not winning so we decided that a cocktail would settle our nerves down. At the
time this made perfect sense so we went out on the town and proceeded to have
more fun than we should have had. John and I were going drink-for-drink and we
kept calling Kevin (our new USPRO Crit Champ) a primadonna for not staying with
our two-man lead group. I am not sure that will be able to drink heavily for a
while after his post-Downers Grove celebration. Dan "XXX" is crazy enough
without drinking and doesn’t drink anyway which is nice because then we always
have a designated driver.
After trying to scare some of the co-eds from Washington University we
finally called it a night sometime around 3am. We had lost John (aka J-Lo)
somewhere along the line but finally found him locked away safe inside the belly
of our van. After some aggressive knocking on the windows we finally got him to
let us in as well and we called it a night.
Greentree Park Crit:
We all slept way too late and were rushed to get to the start of today’s
1:30pm race. I know that John, Mono (Kevin) and I were all dehydrated so we were
all pounding liquids like it was going out of style but none of us were in too
bad of shape considering how late we were up.
This was a better race for us, it had a long gradual climb to the
start/finish line and it would be much more difficult just to sit in and then
try and contest the final sprint.
We were still angry about not riding up to our potential on Monday so we
decided to race aggressively and make everyone hurt. From the gun we were
attacking and John eventually got away with Friday's winner Jason Wadell; Jason
did not take one pull and still John eventually dropped him and lapped the field
solo - he was on fire! Kevin and I both got caught behind a crash about 200
meters from the line but John had the win in the bag so it was not that big of a
deal although Mono still managed to get 8th.
Giro della Montagna:
This is fun race, not so much because of the course, but more for the fact of
that it is located in the Italian District of town called ‘The Hill’. There
whole community comes out to watch the race, the have special t-shirts made up
and one house even had Italian opera blaring from their decorated front porch.
We were all aggressive all race, so was Danny Pate (Prime Alliance) as well as
the boys from USPS. Everyone was looking to be in the winning move today.
John and Kevin eventually made it into a nice little break. Kevin attacked it
with five laps to go and then John stormed across to it solo. The two of them
held off the rest of the break and got first and second for the day.
This was a race is near Washington University in an area called "The Loop,"
it is packed with restaurants, record stores and tattoo parlors. There were a
ton of spectators and the course was technical, difficult and fast. Once again
we rode on the offensive and I made it into a good 5-man break that had some
potential to stick. My plan was to roll through but not drive it until at least
one of my teammates bridged across.
That was when the guy right in front of me rolled his tubular on a fast right
hand corner and I had no choice but to run right into him. I landed on the
curb/in the snow fencing and damn did it hurt!
I did finally get to my feet and made my way dizzily to the wheel pit for a
new wheel and a free lap.
John had seen me lying on the ground and immediately jumped across to the
break and I was put back in to the field. I should have been put back into the
break but since John had made it across they considered it a new break.
Anyway, John eventually attacked the break and once again lapped the field
solo. Once he reached the tail end of the pack I dropped to the back and brought
him back up front. We immediately pushed the pace so the group that was chasing
John would not be able to catch back on and with one to go there were only 30
guys left in the race and the front of the field had shattered to a small group
of about 10 of us. We were all still in the race and therefore finished in the
money and John scored his third win of the weekend and secured his first place
in the overall GC.
The people from THF Realty were happy, we were happy, our director was
happy; what more can you ask for from a weekend of racing? I also have to say
that John’s riding this weekend was awesome. I have seen him do some huge
efforts on the bike this year and I know that he has the ability to suffer more
than anyone I know but he was absolutely flying this weekend. There most be
something in the water in Iowa.