Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Another Great Tuesday Night

Perfect temperature, no wind, fast racing and no crashes. Thats probably the best way to sum up last night in Matteson. I was surprised at how few people had showed up compared to the first week. The thing that really caught my attention was the xXx'ers. Or should I say the lack of them out of about 50 riders there were only two from xXx.
BB-VP had a great showing last night with three starters in the A's race and 5 in the B's. In all six races we had someone in the top 5, and at least two in the top ten. We tried out some tactics last night, some worked, some didn't. But we will have plenty of time to work on those as the summer progresses. Thats the great thing about Matteson, you have three chances a night to try and get things right. I won't talk too much more about tactics here as I don't want to give anything away. Racing is difficult enough as it is, without other teams knowing what you plan on doing.

1997 Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Want to learn how to lose a race? Watch Jalabert in the 1997 edition of L-B-L. Bartoli was outnumbered 2-1 all the way to the finish by JaJa and Zulle. Attack after attack after attack couldn't break Bartoli. Finally he broke Zulle with 2k to go then rode JaJa off his wheel. It seemed as if JaJa was more concerned with what was happening behind him than in front of him. Lesson learned, the race is in front of you. After 7 hours and 19 minutes JaJa was 1000 meters away from a huge victory. Instead he was too worried about a possible counter attack and let the lone threat simply rde away from him. I don't think of Jalabert as taking second that day, rather he was the first loser! Bravo Bartoli!

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.