We're here in Asheville, NC spending the week laying low and taking in the sights before Speedweek kicks off in Athens this Saturday. There has been some confusion about our whereabouts, since when you say "in Asheville" it sounds like "Nashville," but saying "Asheville North Carolina" is too many syllables and a little patronizing. So now you know.
I got lazy after the Sunny King weekend and never gave a race update. That's probably a good indication of how the weekend went... nothing really to report. I had a long long travel day Friday, starting at 3:50am and ending at 8pm, albeit free of drama. Saturday morning we had a lovely spin in the Alabama countryside, then hung out until the evening crit. The 90min race kicked off at dusk and was mostly in the dark. It always takes a bit of time to get used to the nighttime crits--figuring out where to look through the turns, learning to ignore the shadows, and trying to remember all the holes and cracks on the course.
I felt about the same at the start line as I did getting off the plane the day before, and took a while to move up. The race was pretty lazy, moves weren't really being forced, it was just constant reshuffling until the right combination came together. Menzies and Crane got away in a big group then the racing stopped until they lapped. Towards the end all six of us were together but a few wheels off the front, and couldn't quite get the timing right to jump in the final laps. It was a little too easy to move up on the downhill, so you either had to get in front of the swarm and take the front, or sit back and deal with the scrum. Karl came 5th in the sprint and wasn't too psyched about it, but so be it.
The road race on Sunday was maybe a bit better for us as a team but still not totally fulfilling. The course was a beautiful, 65mi lollipop with awesome roads, some short kickers, and a hint of wind. I had a nice water bottle attack early on, then Karl countered and got away solo. Small groups bridged across (one with Matt Crane in it) until the break was around ten riders, then I covered a move on a steep 1km climb and got a free ride into the group. I felt great all day, maybe the best legs yet this year, but after 10min in the group I flatted out and got rolling again only in time to rejoin the peloton. I covered another move almost immediately and got most of the way back across, but in the meantime Jake made his way up the road in a small group, so with three guys in the move and a few hitters sitting on my little group, I had to pull the plug.
We rode it in pretty easy, while at the front of the race Matt got into a group with Bazzana and Grajales and made it to the finish in third. Jake and Karl were up there in the sprint from the second group, and my attempt and leading out the main field turned into me riding in alone from about 500m out since no one got on my wheel. It was that kind of race.
But we got what we came for--a little prep to get the legs moving for Athens and its aftershocks and make a bit of money. The riding around Asheville has been really nice so far, and we have a great looking 4hr jaunt ahead of us tomorrow with a bit of time behind a motor later in the week. Today's been spent watching the radar without much luck... I guess Seattle isn't the only place it rains. This week is about recharging so that next week we can charge charge CHARGE it. Couch time is not my forte, so I've been introspecting and making some plans for the off season. This is probably tops. Maybe not this year, or ever, but sometime, something like this--it's calling my name.