Taylor Phinney has finally found time in his extremely busy schedule to write his share of the blog.
The jaunt to the great northwest was my first cyclocross oriented trip with the team and I have to say that i definitely had a blast. Not only being able to race these extremely well organized races but being with the team (by team i mean riders but most of all staff) was so awesome.
After the long plane ride to seattle we finally were able to look out of the window and see the glistening city below. Seattle is a super cool looking place from above (at least at night). We arrived, got our bags no problem, and jumped in the team vans to head to where we were staying in tacoma.
We safely arrived at the hotel where Bryan Smith (practically my best friend) had made the team a splendiferous dinner. Bryan Smith was a cook for the norwegian alpine army for about ten years before he got transfered to TIAA CREF (hes actually a quite successful bicycle rider)...the team replenished, shared some war stories, and soon went to bed. I, luckily was rooming with Danny Summerhill, who unfortunately for me doesn't sleep. However we got by and all was good. Danny has become a really good friend of mine, I try to be his wing man at least during cross season but we'll see about that during road season...
Anywho, we woke up, ate, and went to the race. Unfortunately i believe i may have left my pants at the hotel...how one does that i do not know. So we got to the race and checked the course out. In all honesty, it was a B*tch, solely because of this 80 meter run up that was extremely steep, but besides that i liked it. Our warm up wasnt so great but we got to the line on time and we started no worries. Toast (danny) took the lead right off the bat and i lied in third. I was able to stay in third for the whole first lap, BUT being not so experianced at cross I started dying, mainly due to these back problems i've been having.
I finished 8th or so and Toast killed everybody gaining the white leaders jersey. After cool down, awards, and recovery we (all the Juniors) peaced out and along with Bryan Smith and Reed McCalvin headed towards Portland. NORMALLY that drive is supposed to be extremely mind numbing, but due to the fact that we had Reed in the car teaching us new ways to express profanity, in combination with Bryan's excellent driving, it went by pretty fast. There was only one moment of tension when we thought we had gone the wrong way and crossed the Canadian border, but we soon realized that there was a Vancouver in Oregon.
Bryan rallied our minivan into the parking lot and we were there. It took Reed about an hour and a half to get things sorted out with the lovely receptionist, and Toast and i set off in search of new friends. We never found any.
All the juniors recieved rub downs from Reed which were much appreciated. Bryan cooked some fabulous organic fajitas and the night went by pretty fast. The others arrived later and Toast and i watched almost four episodes of "Dexter" (there was a marathon on Showtime).
We awoke to the percussions of Mr John Verheul's knuckles on our door and hurried to breakfast. Outside it was raining and we got dressed and ready but were delayed by Jim who has a particular addiction to taking showers. To bad all those showers dont rid him of his natural stench.
We got to the course, it was wet, muddy and just overall gnarly. This race was to be cross race number eight.
Toast and i rode the course once, washed off our bikes and got in a great warm up. After a slight delay we were off. Toast took off from the gun, never to be seen again, and i hung in second for about a lap. I faded as usual and just had fun with the mud. Again i finished in 8th (i think), good enough to finish tenth in the series. Toast won the race and the series, and Jim got third therefore putting him in third in the series. I finished muddy as all hell and went to wash off. After about 15 minutes the juniors were in the minivan and off to the hotel. It was somewhat hectic getting out of dodge but we made it and even made some friends on the way home.
All things considered it was awesome trip, I can't relay my feelings of thanks more towards all the staff and riders who were all there. THANKS!!!!!!!!!
until next time