*While we were getting ready, some kid came up and asked me to sign his card. I said of course, only his card was the official Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team promotional card. I didn't want to sign another pro team's card, so I asked him if I could sign his shirt instead. He said sure.
*I spied Jonny Sundt while waiting for the race to start, and rolled over to say hello. I hadn't seen Jonny in years, and as to be expected, the first words out of his mouth were extremely lewd. I wouldn't DREAM of repeating what he said on my blog, but just know they involved his recently severed (and re-attached) finger, and my mother. Nobody within earshot was surprised.
*It was the heat that got me, more than anything else. I just spent the last two weeks in Seattle, where it was so cold I didn't dare leave the house without my winter coat. I've done exactly one other race this year with temperatures over 85 degrees (Stage 1 of Redlands, back in March), and today was much hotter and MUCH more humid. When I got back to the van, every surface exposed to the sun was extremely hot to the touch (light-posts, the ground, and the van itself). I think today is what they call a real "slobberknocker."
*I'm glad Quinn made the breakaway instead of me. There's a Quinn's-eye-view account here.
*On the third lap, on the approach to Paris Mountain, I knew I was fucked. I wasn't going to make it over the next climb.
I came up behind Matt and asked him "hey Matt, are you having fun?"
"I don't know man"
"Yes, you're having fun -- this is fun, remember?"
"You're right Sam," he conceded, "this is fun."
It's easy to forget when we're suffering, and hot, and dehydrated, and (in Matt's case) crashed earlier in the race, but mostly, we do this for fun.
*I arrived at the top of Paris Mountain for the third time half an hour after the race leader. I reached the crest and got off my bike. Dozens of spectators, and at least six other blown racers milled about. Techno music blared from some pretty large speakers. Someone asked me if I wanted any water. "No thanks," I said, "but do you think I could sit on top of your cooler for a little while?" I didn't want to fall over, I felt like vomiting, and I certainly wasn't ready to pedal my bike any more. Sitting seemed wise. I sat on a cooler with a bunch of teenage cycling fans for twenty minutes, and talked about the race. We talked about racing, and talked about the beastly heat. Then I rinsed the grime off my legs, arms, and face, and got back on my bike.
*I found possibly the best video for this blog in the world:
*The sprint for the win was awesome! Busche came around the final corner sprinting, and Hincapie easily came around him. How he got himself on that wheel, and then how he summoned the energy to throw his bike at the line is totally beyond me. That kid totally outfoxed a fox!
*I hope I come back to this race. I like it.