Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Whitnall Park Criterium

This Saturday will host another running of the Whitnall Park Criterium. This race holds a special place in my memory for a few reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it is a great race. I first did this race way back in '96 or '97 I can't remember which now, but a few years back to say the least. It was to be my first crit after only my first road race which was the Rock Cut State Park RR in Rockford. I can remember distinctly that the weather was finally getting warm enough to ride without any extra layers, which was a welcome relief to what seemed like a very long winter.
This was to be a day of firsts for me, yet I hadn't quite expected the first one that was about to take place. As my teammates and I began preparing ourselves and our bikes for the race, there was one preparation making the rounds that in retrospective was probably a sign of the times, performancing enhancing drugs. Yep, you read it right, drugs. It was the late 90's after all and as we now know everyone seemed to be doing them. My teammates drug of choice you ask, ephedra. While they all sipped their sports drinks and popped their pills, I politely declined and applied some embrocation to my pale legs.
While our race was rather uneventful, I finished 11th out of about 30 I do remember some kid that showed up wearing a full Team Saturn kit and had a Team Saturn bike as well. I checked out the sticker on the top tube and it read VandeVelde. I had heard the name before at the Velodrome, and wondered how nice it would be to have a full carbon fiber bike and a team mechanic to keep it running.
I wonder what ever happened to that VandeVelde kid? Oh wait... I know, he has since gone on to ride in some other bike races I have heard of, namely the Tour de France for one. Christian ended up winning the Pro 1/2 race that day and has since gone on to lead the life we all dream of. Who knows maybe some kid will show up on Saturday and change his life forever too. I'll have to keep an eye on the results I guess.

No comments: