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Ryan Barrett Reports from the T-Mobile International
 
By Staff
Date: 9/16/2003
Ryan Barrett Reports from the T-Mobile International
 
Ryan Barrett & the Infamous TEETH!

We've all read the reports on the race, so I'll keep that to a minimum. The real story for me was getting into the race. At the beginning of this year, I came to the painful decision that I could no longer afford to make bike racing such a priority in my life. Although, I had offers to keep racing at the pro level, none were economically viable (i.e.- we all gotta eat, and I was pretty sick of living off my wife). Still, I really love bike racing. This year ended up being really hard for me because the economy was/is in the crapper, and I live in an area where if you ride at all, it's very hard to avoid the 12k dream. So, I was still not making enough money and not racing at the level I know I am capable of.

I ended up hooking up with the new Monex/Hotwheels team, but basically just doing a regional schedule. In the back of my head, I always had the idea of going back to San Francisco because it is my all-time favorite race, and I hated to think I'd never have another chance. I never ended up changing jobs, but instead added hours/responsibility to my Bike Safety Coordinator position of the last two years. So, I had more demands on my time, but I've done the race every year they've had it, and what can I say... It's just the coolest race ever, and I had to do it.

Anyway, as it is a UCI race, I had to be on a registered team to get a ride, and this was quite a process. I'd like to say thanks to everyone who helped me with this. Several people who don't even know me were willing to give up their own time to help me, so thanks to everyone, especially Frank Schroeder, who would eventually take me (back) on with Schroeder Iron for the day, and John Wordin and Chris Carabini from Monex/Hotwheels. Anyway, I drove up to San Fran with my wife, Kelly and her brother Andrew who are both making this race something of an annual tradition as well. They were both very helpful, as I was a complete stress case throughout the weekend. So, a big thanks to them as well. Some of you may remember that I rode for Schroeder last year, and you might think it would be weird, jumping back in with your old team for the last race of the year, and I had some reservations (that I kept quiet), but I fell right in line. Probably because I still race with the guys whenever they are home and we're still pretty tight. Anyway, it was actually really fun to ride with the old crew and get to know some of their newer guys better.

The race attracted a higher quality field this year, and it was crazy to line up with all the superstars. It started off hard and just got harder. My experience in the race helped as I knew going in it would be all about survival for me, and I basically just kept saying "make it over the hills one more time" in my head over and over. I was not at all aggressive. I hate to race like this, but this was my first real pro race all year, and the first race I've done beyond the 90 minute so cal crit scene since June. The crowd really helped me get through it. It is so intense racing in front of that many people. In the two previous editions, I never could pick out people cheering specifically for me, but this year I definitely heard "Go Crazy Legs!!" (one of many nicknames I have accumulated) and "LABOR!!" (if you have to ask, you just don't know) just about every lap, and even an occasional "Go Ryan" (imagine that).

In the end, as we all know Chris Horner of Saturn won without even knowing it, and I finished 26th, barely missing the last money spot to John Lieswyn. All things considered I was pretty happy. It was my best finish here and I really did just about all I could. As for the rest of the "Iron men," Miguel Meza crashed in the last corner due to an errant cone, which made Gordon MacCauley come to a near stop; Gordy would end up 17th, and Miguel 37th. The rest of the crew either flatted out or had mechanicals which was rather unfortunate.

Will I be back? I really hope so, but at this point, it's really hard to say. It is almost certain that I will be moving to Utah, buying a house, and basically undergoing some major life changes (wait, that sounds like menopause). Anyway, I'm glad to have had the opportunity to do the race a third time and if opportunity should knock again, I'll be back.


Ryan Barrett has been racing bikes of one kind or another since the age of four. He has ridden with the Schroeder Iron and NetZero pro teams, as well as the US National Team. Contact Ryan at breakawaycoaching@hotmail.com

 
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