What a kick butt weekend. It was quick, but action packed. I flew from the small Manchester Airport (a haven for nose-to-the-grindstone TSA workers) to the significantly smaller Traverse City, MI airport on Friday afternoon. We stayed at our generous team sponsor Bob's house, which is picturesquely located on the sandy beach of northern Lake Michigan.
Side note: Morgan and I swam in the lake after the race on Saturday afternoon. I consider myself a close cousin of the polar bear, because I've recently braved the frigid waters of Nantucket and mid-coast Maine, but HOLY MOLY this water should have had iceburgs floating around in it! The day time high Saturday might have hit 57 degrees, but that's probably an overestimation. Now back to the story...
Saturday's race, the Tour of Leelanau, featured a whole slew of teams including: Jittery Joe's, Toyota, Kelly Benefits, JetFuel, the Mexican National Team, and others. Obviously a certain Tour of Missouri attracted some of the nation's top notch teams, but the UCI North American ProTour ranking given to Leelanau still brought some top talent. With only 6 riders per team allowed, the race turned into a game of numbers early on. We and Kelly had 4 guys in break which made for an even duel, but after some crafty racing, it was 4 vs 3, then 2 vs 3, then 2 vs 2, then 4 vs 2. In the end, we out foxed them with some impeccable tactical skills which allowed us to nab 3 of the top 5 places, including 1st. Garrett and Scott rode particularly heroically, taking 1st and 3rd, but the whole team rode like rock-stars. This may have been a result of our director telling us that we're all fired unless we win the race in front of our home-state sponsors. Hey, whatever works, right?!
After a memorable (or forgetful...) party that night, to celebrate the culmination of a successful year of racing, I flew home early Sunday morning. Sadly, it wasn't early enough to make it home to the Portsmouth Criterium. This race is close to my heart since a) it's my home race just 20 minutes away from where I sleep each night and b) the King brothers are two time reigning champions, with Robbie topping the podium in 2005 and me in 2006 (here's a sweet blast from the past!). Alas, last year's runner up, Mike Cody, dethroned the King brothers with Robbie just inches away in 2nd place. A heroic effort, or so I'm told, so congratulations Robbie on a bittersweet 2nd place.
The best thing that happened between about 7pm and 9pm on Sunday night was when I went to the afterparty and won a raffle for a pair of Oakley Radar glasses. They're HOT PINK! (click here to see them.) I either have to sell them to T-Mobile or scorch everyones' eyes who looks in my direction. They're so rad.
And that, my friends, is an epoch weekend.