Friday, November 09, 2007

Summerhill's report from Louisville

As i wrapped up my first grand prix weekend as a u-23 i have to say that as hard as it was i still had a lot of fun, and definitely learned a lot.

My trip started out at 6:00 Thursday morning when i had to still pack my bag - the night before i had actually fallen asleep on top of all the clothes I was supposed to be packing. Thankfully my mom came to wake me up early which gave me just enough time to
finish packing and get all the last minute things taken care of.

The next thing I know i am sitting on the runway finally on Kentucky soil. As our bags were unloaded every other persons’ bag managed to make it off of the flight except for mine. So, without any riding clothes, toothbrush or fresh pair of boxers, we met up with Jim Hale, one of our friends at Pedro’s. Jim picked us up in one of the coolest Sprinter vans i have ever seen, the Pedro’s Love Tour Van. From there we drove to the course where i got to see one of the coolest features i have ever seen in an American cyclo-cross race…the giant hulking beast called the Green Monster was a genuine European fly over!

The next day i woke up around 9, ate breakfast and went back down to the course where i got to be a part of my first USGP Media Day, where i got to do a photo shoot and was interviewed with people like Tim, Lyne, Jeremy, Jessie, and Katie. Later in the afternoon I coached the CLIF BAR kids clinic, along with Ben and Troy Wells from TEAM CLIF BAR and US National Team coach Geoff Proctor. We had 25 kids from the local junior team Red Zone practice their mounts and dismounts and carrying their little bikes over the barriers, and practiced riding the sand pits.

24 hours later i found myself on the start line shoulder to shoulder with people I’ve grown up watching race, like Mark McCormack and Ryan Trebon. The gun goes off and i switch in to gear. As the laps count down i am now sitting in second U23 position, about 10 seconds off of Jamie Driscoll’s wheel when the next thing i know Chris Horner is coming up on my left hand side going really fast. Thankfully Chris doesn't have nearly the bike handling skills as he does power on the straightaways so i was able to stay with him as he pulled me back up to Jamie's wheel.

As the last lap bell rang i new that no other U23 was going to catch us and either Jamie or myself would wear the USGP leaders’ jersey at the end of the day. As we entered the finishing stretch, i attacked to try to distance myself from Jamie, and thankfully i managed to hold that small gap all the way to the finish line.

The next day’s race went just about the same except with Jamie crashing out early it gave Chance N and Nick W the open door to take the lead with me. It was fun and really hard racing in the group with those two, with lots of attacking. i basically jumped the same place i had the day before and thankfully it worked again and i ended up taking the win with a sprint both days and the USGP leaders’ jersey.

I know that without the help of a whole crew of people this solid weekend for both the team and myself wouldn't be possible. A ton of thanks goes out to Nick, Alex, John, Josh, Jim, Ben and our amazing host families in Louisville.

I’m already looking forward to the next USGP weekend in New Jersey!

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