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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sunny King Criterium and Foothills Road Race.

Race number two in America was the Sunny King Criterium and Road Race in Alabama. We left Bartonville On Thursday morning, 14 hours later we arrived in Aniston, Alabama. Aniston reminded me of something in the movies, a very country town with people sitting on their rocking chairs on their deck watching the day pass (one lady down the road spent mostly the whole day on her deck chair). There were also dogs everywhere! I got chased by about 4 dogs, one being a very rough looking Doberman. Dobermans are probably my favourite breed of dog but when I don’t know them and they are chasing me down the road they are very frightening!

Rachel, me and Kate all packed up and ready to go!

We stayed with Jan, our host mum for the weekend. Jan was the mother in-law of one of the race organisers. She was very welcoming and lived in a cute little house out in the country of Aniston.

Our hosts house.

The first race was the Sunny King Criterium which is part of the NRC series (National Race Calendar). Some of the top riders were there including Colavita, Tibco and Kenda. Criteriums are not my strength and are one of the big things I am hoping to improve on while I am here. There were about 60 total starters. Colavita dominated most of the race with one of their riders going off the front at the start and then the rest of the team trying to slow us down so we couldn’t catch them. I felt more comfortable as the race went on. After about 15 minutes I felt good and spent a bit of time at the front trying to chase down the Colavita girl ahead. I got a few 2nd places in the primes (sprints throughout the race) which was not ideal as only 1st place gets the prime. We dropped about half of the field with about 24 of us left in the bunch at the finish. I had very average positioning coming into the last corner so only managed a 12th place. Kate finished 8th with Rachel 25th. Overall our team worked really well in the race considering there were only 3 of us!

On the front at the criterium.. going around one of the corners. Photo; B.D. Andrews from velonews.competitor.com.

The next day was the Foothills Classic Road Race in Piedmont, Alabama. Most of the riders from the criterium did this race to make it a good w.e of racing. It was a 92km rolling race, with basically no flat. Colavita did many attacks from the start, then the third time Cath (Cheatley) from Colavita attacked over one of the bigger hills. I managed to get on her wheel and so did another Colavita rider (Andrea). For the next 75 km’s us three worked hard together getting up to 5 minutes ahead with 20km’s to go. Cath attacked me on most of the hills, then, with 10kms to go we hit a pretty steep, long hill where she attacked again. The first time I got straight on her wheel, dropping Andrea. Then the second attack I had nothing so the three of us individual time trialled it to the finish. Overall I finished 2nd with Kate getting 7th. Another good day of training and racing completed!

They have these big hardware shops all around called Lowe's, we had to stop!! (to get cleaning products for the bikes).

After the race we headed back to our host house, showered, and were on the road by 2pm. The plan was to stop after about 9 hours of driving, stay at a hotel and then carry on the next day. Then we decided we may as well do the whole drive as we could be home by 2am and get to sleep in our own bed. Then coming into Dallas some lightening started, and then there was an emergency tornado warning on the radio. Thinking nothing of it we drove on. Next minute we were parked on the side of the road sitting in, what felt like, a small tornado. It was persisting down and the car was rocking, we couldn’t see a thing out the window. Was a great way to test the new roof racks!! After about ten minutes it calmed down a bit and we drove on, arriving home at 4am.

Next up is the Joe Martin Stage race in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Until then I will be getting in some solid training with a few club races now and then.

Thanks for reading!