Hanging out, ready to sing some Blues

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Louisville, KY: Act III: Foiled, Again

gunnar and I put up a good fight in the 70+ Mixed Tandumb race, but Cara and Andy were impressively strong and smooth and efficient. We finished second to them. Again. And were, again, the second overall mixed tandem.
We are getting better, but not quite at their level (yet!).
I gotta say I love racing and riding the tandem. gunnar does not feel quite as strongly (yet!). Thanks to Goose for his awesome pictures and for handing off bottles. And heckling. Always the heckling. And a humongous thanks to Dan for allowing us to sweat, drool, and blow copious amounts of snot all over his beautiful Cannodale tandem.

The race start was CHAOS. I thought it was over before we even got off the start line, as my bullhorn got jammed under Pete and Jane's front drop bar. We were stuck fast and it was amazing we didn't crash together.

Here we are stuck tight to the tandem to our left. Andy and Cara have left the viewing area already.

Once we got freed, we could see that Cara and Andy already had a HUGE gap and I thought we weren't even going to get to race with them. However, we and a dozen of our closest tandem friends flew down the first sketchy hill and all latched on their wheel.
gunnar and I were both surprised at how aggressive and chaotic it was. Soon enough, it was wheedled down to just 3 tandems in the front group, until the leading 90+ tandem went skittering across the road just in front of us. SCARY. The poor stoker was really beat-up, but to their credit, they rallied and still won (the 2nd place in that group also crashed, as did a couple other tandems. It was wet and slippery!!!).

I'll take the inside line, what could possibly go wrong... ?

Anyhow, gunnar will need to give his point of view about what happened shortly thereafter, but this is my POV. I was sitting back there, pedaling my little heart out, thinking we were doing really well and we might just win this, when I peered around gunnar's buttock on a hill and there was a little bitty gap between Cara and Andy and us (as in, they were ahead). CRAP! This was the ensuing conversation:

me: "gunnar, there's a gap, let's go!"
g: silence
me: after a pause, "gunnar, are you cracking?"
g: "yeah, I guess so."

Game over. Poor Nars. If the race was 35 miles instead of 50, we would have had a chance, I think. With a little better health leading up to the race and a bit more practice on the tandem, I think we could have had an exciting sprint finish. It was a darn good effort, though, and inspirational to watch Cara and Andy work together.

A hearty congratulations to Cara and Andy. Game on, for next year!

After the podium, we ate dinner with my dear Mom and Pop who had driven down to Louisville to watch us flog ourselves and to deliver our sweet little Jacqueline. THANKS for taking such good care of her, Mom and Dad!!!
Then it was off to Philippi, WV for a continuation of the stage race, the Barbour deTour, which unfortunately started in just 13 short hours...

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