My third big road trip of the year is underway, with a group drive down to Virginia from Vermont. Mayo’s birthday on May 30th was a blast – Robbie and I were at her family’s house in VT, so given that we had the day off the bikes, we went to the Fujii’s gallery in hoppin’ downtown Weston in the morning to cash in on the internet and espresso. Next, we returned to the Fujii’s and set up the badminton net (or in Mayo’s case, the full on badminton court; she brought out the tape measure to make sure it was legal), which was followed by a trip to their pond, which was freshly stocked with trout. Even though it was just late May, the water was surprisingly warm and downright manageable for a nice long swim!
Family, Mayo’s friends, and Mayo’s family’s friends were at the party that night, which was highlighted by Annie and Nobu’s phenomenal dinner. We had a deliciously fresh potato salad, a very tasty coleslaw, and amazingly succulent pork ribs. Yum.
Wednesday was filled with a long drive south, with Mom’s sweet Honda Odyssey packed and rolling by 8:30am. A mere 10 hours later we arrived in Richmond, VA for the CapTech classic. We were greeted at our host house by the indescribably enthusiastic brothers, Spencer (2 years old) and Hayden (4 years old). Our host parents, Nelson and Nicole, showed us around the house before we grabbed dinner and went to bed, with a big day of racing to follow.
Our team was spread about Richmond at 4 of 5 host houses, which is really a great experience and way to meet the people in the different parts of the country. Furthermore, one of our hosts was Matt Marchal, who is CapTech’s overall host house coordinator (that is, he had something like 90 cyclists for which he had to find housing!). We went on a group ride with him the morning of the race and he’s an amazing guy; in addition to being the head of housing, he’s also an MD and is the medical director of the race! Talk about a busy guy. This made for some media recognition for Priority Health in the local paper: check this out.
The best way to describe CapTech is hard. Or wicked hard. Perhaps stupid hard. The race is 52 laps of 1.2 miles each. What makes the race so danged hard is that the pitch is either up or down and hardly ever just flat. After the start, you sprint hard into the first 90 degree right turn, then there’s a steep climb for one block, 90 degrees left and up three blocks, then 90 degree right for a flattish block. Then you bomb down to the start finish with four more 90 degree turns. Moreover, the pavement looks like a minefield, which makes for some sketchy racing. Priority Health had a great showing in the early part of the race, as we sat comfortably at the front of the field, and with Brent Bookwalter taking honors with the first KOM. However, as the race wore on, we slapped on our suffer face. Robbie was our sole finisher, garnering a bit of respect for PH by placing 32nd. The other seven of us who didn’t finish were plenty bummed with our result, but remained in good company: there were only 36 finishers out of a large 150 starters!
We’ll hit the road Friday and drive north to Arlington for the CSC Invitational. This race is always a doozey because it’s only 1km and therefore flippin’ fast. Plus when the ProTour teams are racing (like the namesake CSC), the pace has no where to go but up.