OK, so 2006 cyclo-cross nationals have come and gone, here's how it (mostly) went:
Most everyone got in reasonably well Thursday night. Ben and Daimo were already there with a truck and a van, so we all got picked up and headed down to Providence with a dinner stop at the Whole Foods (Hingham, MA) food bar en route.
The Bear missed his flight in Durango so he had to take the red eye, and then the bus to Providence. Stu got in super late, but our East Coast Mechanic Alex was able to swing by Logan to bring him down. Thanks Alex! Next time you'll get electricity in your room! Peter came late Friday and Ben went to get him.
We stayed at a sweet B&B that Ben rented out for us. We had the whole place to ourselves, so Jason was able to use the kitchen and cook all our meals, once again saving us from the food, waiting, and expense of going out to eat every night.
Friday was pretty relaxing I raced the 40-44, but everyone else just spent the day looking at the course and mostly relaxing, except for Tejay Van Wristbroken who took his last opportunity with us to crash me in warmup. Extended team member Brandon stayed with us for most of the weekend, and took a nice 4th in the 35-39 race as well. Rob had a good ride going in the 35-39, although he wasn't quiteable to finish it off as he would have liked.
Despite being short our usual equipment, the machanics Nick, Daimo and Alex kept everyone's gear working, and no one was ever short a bike. No mechanicals for the weekend, you can't ask for better than that. Special thanks to Alex and Pedros for hooking us up with tents, workstands, tables...everything we needed. Also, IBC took care of us with 6 nice CycleOps trainers for warmup.
Saturday was the big day, with everyone doign a championship race. Bowl-Cut was the first to go, racing the 15-16 juniors he had a solid ride to take 4th. Very consistent with what he's been doing all year, and really good for someone who basically ran cross country until November!
Next race up for us was the junior 17-18 race. No surprises there, as Danny rode his normal dominant race to take the repeat win, with a sweet one handed wheelie accross the line. Taylor showed he's figured out how this 'cross stuff works, taking a very calm, well-ridden 3rd place! Great ride by Ethan Gilmour picking up second, and doing all he could to really race Danny in the first part of the race. Jim took lucky 13th, but he's got a few weeksof racing left to do in Europe...and then hopefully worlds (along with Danny, for whom that's the real goal).
A short break for lunch (for everyone except Danny, who had a USADA appointment), and our 4 U23's took the line. Clif Bar's Jesse Anthony scored a nice win, with strong rides from the real Joey T, Bjorn, and Jamey Driscoll. Our guys rolled in places 11th - 14th, but for a bunch of guys all 18, all in college, they rode well.
Finally, the elite race. Troy had recovered from his calc final and late flight, but unfortunately just missed the lead group after the start. Then he got stepped on halfway through the race, resulting in a badly bruised heel...eventually taking 27th. Troy's also going to Europe, so his season isn't over yet. Stu had the 'cross race of his life, and likely his last bike race as a professional, taking an incredible 18th place. Thanks for all the help this year Stu! Assistant Manager Smith rounded out the group at 59th place.
Saturday night was smooth. Danny's parents joined us for dinner, while the Barkers stayed with us at the Inn for the full weekend. Jason did a great job feeding us again, and the U23 crew did as good a job on dishes as the juniors did Friday night.
Sunday was a lower key day for everyone. Alex V and Daimo raced the U35 B race in the AM, Rob raced the 35+ B right afterwards. Brady, Troy, and Peter raced Collegiate at 11:30. Troy made the lead group and rode really strongly for his FLC Skyhawk teammate Joey T, eventually finishing 3rd. Reed was able to tape Troy's heel up well enough for him to race. FLC lost the overall in a tie breaker to Lee McRae's college, on account of Snyder. Peter picked up a nice top 10, and our man from the Mines BK was happy to end his season.
Finally, the "Strawberry Cup" race pitted all the national champions from the weekend (except women) against everyone who wanted to enter. New Boulder resident Tim J took the V, after Danny got the hole shot, eventually finishing 35th. Tejay and Bryan also took the start, both of them are heading for new teams in '07, so it was nice to see them out there one last time with us.
Another Whole Foods dinner Sunday night, and I managed not to kill anyone with the van. A great final 2006 race weekend for the team, and don't forget Danny, Jim and Troy are off to Belgium for the next two weeks on Geoff Proctor's Euro Camp 4 (is it 4 already?), and then at least Danny riding worlds in Belgium in late January. You can help them out here if you're interested.
Big thanks to all the sponsors, parents, supporters, fans (Nate & Curtis especially!), staff and riders for a great 2006 season!