Chris Winn: Ramblings From The Road


15 September 2009

Univest Sufferfest: The Final Race of 2009

Go East. Quite the opposite of the Pet Shop Boys tune, but last weekend was the furthest east I have travelled here in the US and A for my last race of the season. Philly to be exact, just under an hour north of the city to be even more precise. Univest GP was the last hurrah for season 2009 (and what a long one it's been) and once again I was able to don the red and black colours of Rio with a guest spot. It was also very cool to have a couple more Oceanic madmen as team-mates, with Sean Sullivan and Heath Blackgrove also guest riding. All of a sudden more of my jokes made sense and cricket wasn't a dirty word.

The race itself was a UCI ranked 2.2, meaning I had to scramble and some international licence upgrades done but in the end the postman came through and it was all happy days. We had three days of lycra pinning, the first being a TTT, the main 100mile RR Saturday and then a criterium on the Sunday to finish it off.

Arriving at the race site it was clear it was going to be a wet chamois day for sure with cold temps, hurricane winds and rain. Retreating in an underground parking lot seemed to be the logical option. Actually the morning didn't start out too bad after Collier an I went on an adventure to find a bathroom, only to charm our way into some corporate warm office building (with great facilities btw) and offered hot coffee and some refuge outta the cold. Trying not to get too comfortable it was goodbye to the credit union people and time to check out the 6km course in which we would have 2 laps. No doubt it was slick and a challenge to ride with the winds and heavy rain. Ah well, you get that on the big jobs. We drew the short straw and were first team off the block. Unfortunately for us the conditions did get better as the day progress but we still posted a solid 13th/30 teams. I have no doubt we would have been well into the top ten with drier roads.

This was it. My final road race for the year and I was pretty pumped, despite the continuing crappy conditions. Okay, horrible conditions to be exact. The format was a large 100km loop then dropping back into town for 10 X 6km circuit We had a strong team on paper and we were all looking forward to getting to the loops and seeing what we could do. Rolling out of the start we had 3km of neutral to warm the bones until a massive pile up (claiming Collier and Krug - not seriously) and we waited 15mins or so for a restart. Once rolling again the race was intense. High speeds, plenty of attacking early, crappy vision and no brakes. I tried to keep it at the front as much as possible, and with Amore E Vita doing a pretty good job of keeping things intact we made it too the finish circuits where all hell broke loose. I liked the circuits, a mid lap climb, technical corners and a whole lot of sliding around. To be honest I can't really recall to many details other than just fighting the whole time to stay up the front and not get caught out in splits. When the fat lady had sung, I ended up 23rd. Happy dayz.

To be honest I was pretty darn spent coming into the final day of racing. The legs weren't too responsive in the warm up, and with a tricky little course my primary aim was just to finish and take it from there. And that was pretty much all I did, finishing in the 40's and running on empty pretty much the whole race. Cool circuit, but when you're fried, you're fried. Race season done.

The above photos are the from the super cool host family house we were staying at. Built in 1820 it was pretty amazing place full of old world charm and traditional low ceilings (folks just weren't as big in those days....)

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