Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Pepper Place Crit - Alabama State Criterium Championship Race

Cat 4 35+ - 2nd Place,  with a $170 payout too!

Forgot there was a time change going over to Alabama (2.5 hours west) so I was way early. But I did pass Talladega Speedway on the way. I don’t follow NASCAR but my wife does. All I could think about was Talladega Nights the movie and marvel at the terrible road surface.

The day was kind of a mess. Hot. Race started almost an hour late. There were Cat 4’s and Cat 4 35+ racing together with separate payouts (I picked the one with fewer riders when registering with hopes to get more money to find out later the straight cat 4 meant higher point rankings). 40+ racers. 45 min race got shortened to 35 min at the start line. Flat, 0.85 mile loop. SLOW – 24.3 mph avg speed. No announcement of laps to go just someone holding up a number (didn’t see this until after the race). They called a gamblers prime with 2 laps to go (assuming we know what that means). I overheard someone say this was it just before turn one on the last lap but we were only at 32 min into the race. I freaked, 2/3 of the way back into the pack asking everyone around me if it was the final lap. I sprinted into the top 8 or so by turn 3 and hit the gas just as we rounded turn 4. The fastest guy in the peleton (State Crit Champ in 3 states, Sammy Flores) had already gone. I finished 3rd. Perceived excursion for the day was easy BUT, max HR on the sprint was 206, that hurt.

Results posted but I’m not in them. Others are also missing. The people running the race didn’t want to hear about it. Sun coming into the finish line booth so you couldn’t see the monitors. 3 cameras but only one worked. It was blazing hot. They were behind schedule with a bunch of racers standing around whining. Big thanks to Jeff Blau and Adam Shumaker for jumping in to help with problems and bring in some good karma. The race numbers we were wearing were so small they could barely read them and I was mistaken for rider 400 (I was 488). Look for Colavita, there was only one. I could see it in real time on the video. After 3 hours of… impatiently waiting they found Jeff and rider 400 and others, divided everyone by age regardless of which race you registered for and posted the results as if they were 2 separate races (and payouts). I signed, they paid cash, awesome.

It was now 7:00pm from an original 2:15 start time. No food and flies are starting to swarm around me still stinking in my race kit. They called us for podium but then no one came over. Jip. Adam took a shot of Sammy and I on the podium and then he went over to race the Cat 3 (moved up so he could race that night). This secured Blau's Cat 4 National Crit Champion title for the year (based on points). Floyd Landis was loitering about as well. Almost asked him over to stand in the 3rd spot on the podium for an oh so believable photo op, with him in a polo shirt and jeans. Arrived home at midnight.

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