This past weekend was a great success. Karel and I had a great time in Georgia, aside from the horrible traffic on friday evening. Saturday morning and saturday evening Karel and Shawn raced the two crits. It was a super hot day and each crit lasted an hour. The crits were on the same courses but with different finish lines. Shawn worked really hard and placed 4th in both races. Karel finished in the pack but just like all cycling races, when you race on a team there is always a strategy and everyone works together. Although the guys race for money, it is more about representing the team and end the end, when you work together as a team there is a good chance one or more of the team members will place in the money.
So, speaking of good places...sunday rolled around and after breakfast we checked out of our extended stay and headed to the race site. Jeff and Curtis flew in to Atlanta that morning and in addition to Ryan, who came for the sat races, the linder team had a 5 people at the sunday race. I was a little restless and totally exhausted as we waited around for 2 hours until the start so the head official asked if I wanted to ride on the motorcycle for the Women's race. I had never been on a motorcycle before and with my No-need for speed, I was a little nervous. But, it was a lot of fun and the best way to watch a race. Now if only I could take pictures and ride on the motorcycle like they do in the Tours.
So, Karel's race finally started and right from the start, quadzilla (aka- Curtis) broke away. 1 hour later, curtis and another Sweetbay rider had a 1:30 lead on the chase pack. Finally, the sprint to the finish and Curtis placed 2nd! Then comes karel for 7th place and the rest of the guys roll in soon after.
We moved hotels to be close to the Cumberland Mall for the US 10K/100K classic on mon morning. After checking into the Days Inn (which was incredibly nice, clean and roomie) I rested my very tired, spectator/picture-taking body while karel and the guys went to pick-up their packets for the race. I had picked up my packet for my 10K run on sat morning. I called the local Y in marietta for a guest pass and of course, the Y never turns down anyone. I warmed up on the treadmill on sat and took sunday off. However, the 3 days of traveling and watching Karel's race were really exhausting and I just wanted to lay in bed on sun. Karel and I had a good dinner at the cheesecake factory and went through a few baskets of bread. I ordered my favorite meal there, egg white omelet w/ spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes and it was SO good.
We finally went to bed on sunday evening around 10pm and we had an early morning wake-up at 5:30am. Shawn was staying with us on a cot in our room and with us all getting ready for our races, it was a rushed morning.
After a light breakfast of toast and PB (fridge and microwave in our room...of course) for me and oatmeal and 1/2 small bagel w/ cream cheese for Karel, we all headed to the parking lot of the hotel. Karel, being nice and thoughtful, drove me a mile up the road so that I would only have a 1/2 mile walk to the race start. The guys rode their bikes and we all met up at the race start. I decided to not hang out with the 15,000 runners and I went to the side of the road to be a cycling-groupie. Of course, I needed to kiss my fiance before his race and even to squeeze my way through 175 cyclists was a bit difficult...but well worth the usually pre-race kiss.
The guys went off at 7:15 and the runners were off at 7:45. Jordan Sparks, from American Idol, sang the National Anthem and then the race was ready to begin.
I am not sure if anyone has ever driven on Cobb Parkway, near the cumberland mall in Atlanta,GA but the road is rolling. Rolling so much that you can't see the down hills until you get to the top of the climb. The climbs take a few minutes to get up and once you descend for a few minutes, it is back up the next climb. I grabbed two cups of water, 1 at mile 3 and 1 at mile 5 and all I could think about was the IMKY athletes who suffered for an IM. Here I am, hurting like crazy on the hills of my 6 mile run and running with a red face. I finally reached the finish line in 46 min. and still waiting for the results (they will be posted tomorrow online), I think I placed well among the women.
So, after I cooled myself off I then waited an hour for the cyclists to finish. At this point, the clouds were covering the sky and I was getting the chills. But then, the real chils came when I see the 10 motorcycles and plenty of team cars coming to the finish. I knew the cyclists were coming and after witnessing the finish from last year, I was so nervous for the downhill finish.
The 100K race took the guys 2:26 (4 min. slower than last year) but the finish was SO fast. Karel ran out of gears and wished he had a 55 ring because he just couldn't spin his legs any faster. His speed to the finish was 53mph and with luck on his side...and lots of hard work, he made his way to a 14th place finish!!!
Karel ended up with a great great finish and he was so fast, I didn't even see him finish! I ran up the hill, past the finish and gave him a quick kiss and hug before I needed to run to the buses to get bused back to the race start (straight shot run). Karel said he didn't know what place but that he was close to the front.
Well, $400 later ($30,000 payout, 35 deep) Karel not only placed 14th but he made it onto velonews! (check far right, black and red helmet)