A bit of time has passed – oooh, about 72 hours for those with a stopwatch – since Memorial Day’s USA national championships race and I’m just now coming up for air after being unexpectedly overwhelmed with a torrent of messages after the race. Once again, I want to take the chance here to offer an extremely heartfelt thank you to everyone who sent along well wishes, congratulations, messages of all varieties, emails, texts, or who was maybe even there in Greenville in person despite the wretched 94 degree heat.
Like I’ve said at least once before, I used to believe that the only person truly happy at a national championship race is the victor. The champ’ers spray hides it, but that’s a smile on my face too.
A hundred-plus people line up at the start, presumably many or most will finish, but only the victor will finish satisfied. That was my incorrect assumption anyway. Turns out that’s not true. Look, sure I wanted to be on the top step of the podium. Just like the next style jockey out there, I want to see how a spiffy new red, white, and blue jersey would look flying proudly above a pair of Liquigas-Cannondale green and blue bib shorts. Furthermore, when some smack was laid down in the race and I then found myself in the race winning breakaway of four, I especially had the thought of winning on my mind. That all being said, I’m still extremely pleased with the race and to have finished on the podium.
I rarely use this site as an avenue to get all teary-eyed and emotional. In fact, it’s maybe only happened once. Let’s chalk up number two right here and now because Timmy and I were beside ourselves with the outpouring of support across the board that lead to our success this weekend. Going into a race with just two folks competing is one way to be outnumbered, literally and figuratively, right from the get go. Part of that, however, is that the past two years racing solo for Cervelo at nationals, I feel like I dumped too much effort into being ready and lining all my ducks up in a row only to see my race come crashing down (again, one time literally and another time figuratively). So I really wanted to go into 2011 with Timmy as relaxed as possible.
I feel badly in advance because for sure I’m forgetting names here, but more than a generic blanket thank you to our support crew, I want to offer explicit thanks where it’s due. This will resemble a year book throwing shout-outs to our homies. Oh well. Getting right down to it, thank you so much to Craig and Courtney for your BnB-like hospitality and making me feel at home. Again! Rich for your endless generosity, your car, your bottles, and patience replying to my oftentimes asinine emails, thanks. Carly and Matt, similarly thanks for your patience and unparalled level of support. Thanks for letting us rampage your house the day before the race too. To the youngin’s on the Hincapie devo team, you guys rocked out. Thanks and congrats on the win the SC state champs the day before! Randy, sorry for cursing in your general direction, but thanks for the successful feeds all the same. Debbie, your an allstar! Thanks so much for the support and superpro feedzone personnel’ing. MixMasterMechanic Dave I can’t thank you enough for the day before bike maintenance. I think we were mostly already dialed here in Greenville, but additional thanks (again) for all the help in CA too. Loren, you smoked it in the bottle preparation and cooler duty. Thanks also for kicking arse in the start/finish area along with Lindsay; I’m quite sure I heard you two distinctly while ripping through downtown Greenville. Steve and Kirk, superb car work in the caravan, gents; if you can hack it in a race caravan, maybe a career in rally car is in order. Jeremiah, I really appreciate the massages and especially making it easy for us by coming on down to la casa. Great convo’ too man! Thanks for that. Becky the maple syrup and socks are nothing shy of awesome. In fact, they’re worthy of a shot…
Congrats on the weekend to you too, Becky. @JTKatz, that is some well traveled speculoos. No lie, it’s still sealed, but that’s because I have some absurdly professional discipline. I reckon as soon as it’s open, I will finish it ohh, maybe an hour? To the folks who chalked up Paris Mountain, you all are champs (see below). I do apologize for missing the night before chalking party. Virtually any other time I would have swung by, but race meetings with Timmy and Co. sadly prohibited that. Product of circumstance. And to everyone else, please accept my apology for omitting your name here. Here is the aforementioned blanket thank you: still from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Timmy and I were floored and truly taken aback with the support all throughout Greenville for our two-man-Liquigas-Cannondale-hit-squad.
Okidoke, fast-forward now three days later and the temperature still hovers just shy of 100 degrees. It’s a far cry from just six months ago when I took in New Years in Greenville. This particular shot is of George navigating an unmaintained road that resembles an ice-rink I think on December 31. As a tried and true New Englander, I am powersliding my bike, one handed, while taking the photo and heckling George for his southern caution in the snow.
The photo above in the snow is about 10 meters beyond where this photo, below, was taken today. Mind you, it’s seriously 96 degrees when I took this one. Green and lush. And hot.
It’s so danged hot in fact that the air is palpable. I did a few efforts on some climbs and such and found at one particular point (and by “one” point I mean a variety of good, long 20 minute stretches) that my shins were sweating. MY SHINS WERE SWEATING! Seriously, every freakin’ pore on my body was spewing sweat. There’s no beating around the bush friends, 96 degrees is hot. A humid 96 degrees is just plain nutty.
Here’s the ride, since I know you want to see it, by the way.
Oooooh what else…? Ahh right, mid-ride I stopped by a little fruit stand and bought a fresh peach. I briefly considered doing the southern boiled peanuts bit, but then went for a refreshing fruit option instead. (some) Southerners are so jolly. This guy’s accent was thick like good southern biscuits and gravy. Yeah, that thick.
I capped off the ride by one last trip up Paris. By now the chalk is getting a bit light and worn over, but without rain it’s all still visible. And of course the crooks who used spray-paint have their tags permanently on the ol’ mountain.* I don’t endorse graffiti in general, but I do happen to love this one. It’s a good one because it’s so true.
And from the non-permanent-graffiti department, I’m partial to this number.
And on that note, I’m still exhausted from my sweaty shin ride today. I’m going to get horizontal for a bit.
Again, truly, sincerely, wholeheartedly, and genuinely THANK YOU. This has been an exceptional week in Greenville. And congratulations to Matt Busche on the win!
*I stand corrected. The graffiti artists used “spray chalk” which I think is amazing that the world created aerosol chalk and then sprayed it with hairspray to prevent smudging. So it’s a double whammy of good-for-the-environment!