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The Adventures of Nathan and Veronica: Redlands
 
By Staff
Date: 4/6/2003
The Adventures of Nathan and Veronica: Redlands
 

Veronica, of the Australian duo Veronica and Nathan, gives us the quintessential criterium report! Nathan's riding Redlands with Minute Maid/Dasani/La Grange on loan from Colavita Bolla.

Photos by Kraig Willett.

Welcome to the Redlands Criterium...
Saturday 5 April, Stage 4, 90 minutes.

Standing by the barriers, amongst the excited local crowd, I watch with anticipation, nerves and that Aussie feeling of pride. Chookman (that's Nathan Russell) riding with his La Grange team - Victor, Josh and Geoff. Soaking up the atmosphere - the weather is cloudy, sun still shining, cool breeze...and in the distance BIG BEAR Mountain is looking down on the peloton, snow capped...nature gonna give these riders stick....tail wind up the straight to the finish line, nice.

Just as popular as Pamela Anderson's breasts, team Saturn leads the strong field of 125 riders...once again too, the renegade master, Nathan OíNeill, is wearing the yellow jersey, the Tour leader from Australia who rides with the Saturn team. After 4 laps into the race, Saturn is in their dominating train, 5 or so riders steaming along in their bright team colours...the tempo is fast from the start...1 man break, Saturn, Prime Alliance...reel that rodent back in...bunch back together.


Saturn train

I try to find La Grange boys amongst the rainbow of blur...Victor holding strong in the front pack, Josh holding snug, Chook is way back in the pack...Iím thinkin' HEY baby, WHAT are you doing???? Maybe itís his new strategy, heís just fluffing his chicken wings??!! Behind Chook is Geoff, holding tight, all riders feeling the heat of the dangerous corners, pot holes, and the pace of FULL THROTTLE. Iím content sipping on my coffee, chowing down my honey BBQ protein bar. Mmmm yummy, I think...

6 laps down, the commentator gets the crowd geeíd up, I join the bangin' on the fence...I had to laugh out loud ...as I was by myself, going nuts...all I needed was a pom pom, a few fire-throwing midgets...and a transvestite on fan stilts...YERRR!!!! ROCK IT yer, rock it!!

Small break away, a Jelly Belly tooth pick breaks away...7 laps down...the rider is pulled back in the peloton. Eight laps...La Grange holding their own, keeping on their predator's wheel. As the whoosh of riders go by I notice the grimace of pain in their faces, jaws dropped, cheeks puffing...and this is ONLY the 8th lap..GEEZ Louise...WHAT THE...? The bunch is together. No one is letting anyone go, the field is strong and frightening. La Grange is scattered through out the pack, mixing it up. A few riders have blown chunks...the pace too heavy and hot to handle...tempo UP...

When the riders flash by me and I wait for the next bout of carnage, I hear the thumping fat bass of Paul Oakenfold...belting out those wicked house tunes...Where's my pink pair of fluffy pumps, sequin mini and podium??...Want to cut sick with some impressive dance moves...twirl...twirl, twist and twirl. Well...maybe. Ha!

Comforting to see a La Grange rider up the front, centre, covering ALL bases. The legs are pumped, faces are red, heart rate UP, like good sounds on Sunday disco...atmosphere is great.

Victor, Josh...30 riders from the front..WHERE'S Chookman??? Behind, holding comfortably in the pack with a Jelly Belly rider. Phew. Whipping past like a whirlwind I see a red Specialised helmet - Chook picking up the pace. Prime Alliance makes a counter attack. Chookman picking up the pedal stroke, getting closer to the main assault...

NO Josh in sight, Victor still in the pack..Geoff struggling to hold his own...the Tour has taken its toll. 7Up launching an attack...One rider away from the field ...this is brutal...ALL endurance. Soaking it up...suffering is contagious, spread throughout the field.

Healthnet, Saturn, Prime Alliance, Trek and Jelly Belly, La Grange mixing it together, top 40 riders. An Aussie attack, a force to be reckoned with. Roland Green, World Champion, pulls out....team saying heís sick ...coming down with the flu. BOO HOO! Chook up, Victor up...Josh and Geoff out the hoop, a 2 man ride - GO LA GRANGE. Rock the discotech. Iím thinking of a two piece feed at KFC. OH, give me some twisties or a tim tam - these race food bars are givin' me gas!!!

Oh, back to the race. My favourite song is playing in the back ground, wish all my friends were here, this song reminds me of Sandra...cutting sick at the disco... BRING THAT BEAT BACK!!! SHIT Iím proud of Nathan, heís up there, pushing those pedals with the best of these freaks. Chris Horner OFF the front...heís a threat. The boss...DON'T let him get away, CHOOK!


Horner flyer...

42 minutes left...tempo is higher. Chook is in the top 20 fangin' around the track...as he goes by he whips out this grin and makes this sexual face towards me...ha! Okay honey, if you can do that, then WORK HARDER!!!

Top effort by Victor and Chookman, holding the La Grange assault...Chris Horner from Saturn team flashes his wild coyote grin...thinkin heís the shit, racing past the post...donít get too cocky, son, here comes the cavalry...CAUGHT...another counter attack...36 minutes left. Schroeder Iron up the front. La Grange holding strong...This is more interesting than a YMCA meeting!!!


Clinger flyer

HAMMER TIME! The pace is UP temp...AGAIN. CRIKEY, someone give me a shot of Tequila. Nathan is up with the field - Victor is half way down, everything is tight. The Saturn freight train is pounding the pavement sitting in front...again!!!


Guns at the front

28 min remaining...Chook is moving up - I think I might pee myself...Arrh. Ahh, tail wind. 25 minutes to go...Chook is in the top 20 pack, Victor top 40 riders...Peloton getting spat out everywhere like bad wine!!! Saturn once again leading the field, showing their dominating stance. Jelly Belly clustered together. RABOBANK attack...OH, LEFT FIELD. What the...? Where did he come from, geez??

Chookman, the Aussie battler shovin', showing NO mercy, fangin' it down the straight 10 laps...riders getting tossed, HOOPED, like thereís no tomorrow. Positions are getting sorted, pushing, shoving, a good back hander wouldnít go astray!! 9 laps remaining...Chook is up there...top 15. Ok, I may be biased but heís on form. The excitement in my belly is like my first day at school (I slept in my uniform...before dawn I was up and waiting at the front door with Mickey Mouse bag in hand and ready to go..BRING IT ON, MUM!!!).

5 laps to go...Chook keeping his tempo. I see pain in his face (ha, maybe heíll know what giving birth will be like!).† 4 laps to go, Marty Nothstein, Gold Medal Champ...Nathan is holding his wheel, and what a good wheel to hold...ha! Victor off the back of the pack, Saturn at the front, Chook has dropped back by two riders...C'mon Aussie, C'MON!


Second to last corner...

1 lap to go...Ok, Iíve peed myself.....SNAP, BINGO...WHOOSH...Charles Dionne takes the race like a lilídemon. Chook finishes top 30ish...a wicked ride from the thunder from down under...and this is just the start of our journey!

Until we meet the road again - hereís to fast racers, hot sunshine, great friends. Seize the day, my fellow bike riders...

--Veronica (the naughty half of Chookman, Nathan Russell)

 
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The Adventures of Nathan and Veronica
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