Chris Winn: Ramblings From The Road


04 September 2008

The Season Sign Off.

Once again I have woken up late today and still feel like I have been hit by the number 21 bus to fatigue-ville. Four days of crit racing madness in Missouri was on the cards for what would be the final race for the US season. Perhaps being so conditioned now to travelling in the team van (or maybe it was the four new tires) the 11.5hr drive didn’t seem to take its toll as much long hauls normally have. Although running completely dry on gas and scamming a gallon from the local car wreckers kept things entertaining. As for the racing side of things there was no doubt it was going to be fast. Friday night saw a late start to the already scheduled late crit of 9:30pm. Yep it was time to bust out the clear V-Ti lenses and a little caffeine to stay awake for some night time racing action. The team also decided to keep things visually interesting for the crowd by having small coloured flashing lights attached to our valve stems. Not sure how the other racers felt about the disco on wheels but it was sure easy to spot your team-mate. At the end of the madness I kept my skin and rode semi-okay, but was looking forward to the next few days on courses that would suit me better.

Day two and we were downtown with a sweet figure eight loop and some newly laid chip-seal on the back drag climb. Once again the field was huge, tickling full capacity of 150 I heard. The racing was full on from the gun, and it took me a few laps to settle in the front half, all the while we were shelling guys ever lap. Closing 20m gaps felt like 100m as the climb felt longer each lap. Soon enough I found myself in a good break of around 20 guys. It was an odd break to say the least, but you know you're in a good one when Vogels is in there. The last few laps were tough, a lot of surging and attacking and I was conscious not to pull people back to the front, but as I said closing small gaps was super hard. I battled as hard as I could and held on for 13th and probably one of my best finishes this year.

Day three had plenty of hype surrounding it. "The Hill", everyone's talking bout "The Hill"! Basically the course was smack-bang in the middle of the Italian district, with red, green and white flags painted everywhere. And yes, the course had a massive long hill in it and plenty of atmosphere to boot! Four corners and nothing to technical, but the heat and humidity was oppressive. It was rad however to have one of those cooling sprinklers you could ride through hanging over the course like they did in the Olympic RR. Once again the field was huge and I battled like hell for the first 20mins to move forward. The hill kept getting longer and longer each lap, and soon enough fatigue set in hard and a top 30 finish was all I had in the tank.

Well this was it, day four was the last race of the season and once again the weather was unbelievably hot and humid. It was definitely an important day not to cook the goose early and I must thank Qdoba Mexican Grill for housing a lycra clad Aussie in their air-conditioned store till we had to line up. I must admit I had pretty crappy legs early, and found it nice just to sit in mid to back pack and just chill out. Maybe it was the lack of warm-up that it took me awhile to get going, but as the race wore on I was able to sneak to the pointy end. With the announcement of a $100 prime for the next lap, figured I didn't have the greatest legs for the win in 30 or so laps time, but maybe had some poke for a little fuel money. I followed the tail of a small move that went on the back straight, threw the smack down on the climb and held it to the line before almost seeing breakfast a second time round. The rest of the race I had to hide and save the legs, and with 4 to go I was still up at the pointy end, sneaking home another top 20 result with a 17th.

Never mind the socks and sandals get up, Joby prepares his new TCR Advanced SL before the night crit. Those things are another level...

Spidey appears in St Louis!

...along with his longtime buddy of Gotham City...Batman!

Unfortunately their super powers only qualified them to be in the Cat. 4 race...and they only lasted three laps before being called away with the Joker robbing a bank downtown..

Spidey comtemplates a life of crime fighting or bicycle riding....either way he's still go the lycra thing down..

Took this cool shot of the wolf-dog of the host's we were staying with. Scared the hell outta me although it wouldn't come near anyone. Something about the fact it has a shock collar made me a little uncomfortable...

And that folks signals the end of my US season for 2008. It was a big change this year but one I have enjoyed every second of, and look forward to more good times ahead in the future. A massive shout of thanks to those involved with the RMCEF Racing Team, my team-mates and associated sponsors who have made things happen this year and kept it fun. A big thanks also to my fantastic girl Kat and of course my family for all the support for this little dream of mine.

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