Athens Twilight Crit was amazing. One of the most exciting races I have ever seen..and the most packed!
I don't have the pics up yet, but here are youtube videos I found;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKk_LcrcfkI (Crash right infront of me!)
Our hotel was a few blocks from the course so I headed up to the race to watch the $1000 mile run and the women's Pro race. I ended up qualifying for the $1000 mile run due to my top 15 women's finish in the 5K but after about 30 minutes of thinking I could run with these 16 year old xc girls who weigh about 30 lbs less than me, I decided to pass on it. Also, after my 50K bike in the rollers of GA (which I LOVED!) I was ready to relax the rest of the day. However, it was really excited to watch the guys and girls run all out. Some of them were dressed in funny outfits and it was great to see people having fun out there. I will post pics later from that race.
It was around 7pm when the streets started to get packed and I knew I had to claim my spot early. I wanted to be right at a corner cause that is where the action is at (and the crashes...err). So, I stood right at the barricade at corner 2 for over 2 hours to keep my spot and it was worth it! I was able to watch the womens race and when the Men's pro race started at 9:30 I was so happy to have a close spot.
Karel didn't finish the race. He is bummed. Cycling is much different from tri's because you either stay on a wheel (you can take the pain) or you can't (you can't suffer any longer). But life goes on and he has moved on. Although he still thinks about the what if's...like being stuck behind the big crash on the FIRST loop and barely dodging the bikes as a bunch of people fell to the ground and then getting behind another crash later in the race, I guess this is just one of those races were you just get lucky. Karel was really happy to have number 74 because out of 150 riders he was able to get near the middle for the start. The guys who race this race are just abnormal. So fast, without nerves and full of risks. It was unbelievable to see how the front of the pack takes the corners and then for the back of the back (eventually that was Karel) it was nearly impossible to catch up when people start dropping out.
Karel looked at his power and did over 25 sprints of 1000+ watts. There was a slight incline on every loop right after corner 2 which was just brutal on the races.
When Karel watched the end of the race with me I think he was still upset about his crash and just not feeling 100% for his most important race of the year. But, after a good nights sleep he was ready for Sunday. I'm super proud of Karel and I was so happy to have my hubby in that race. I had people asking me if I knew anyone in the race and it was great to see the reaction of people when I say my husband is racing. Karel I still think you are awesome and I love that you love what you do!
Although Karel didn't finish the Athens twilight crit, along with many other Pro riders, Karel did place 2nd in the Masters 30+ crit on sat morning, which Karel did as a warm-up. :) Yay Karel!
After a 45 min run and then an easy spin on the rolling hills of Athens w/ Karel we packed up the car and headed to Rosewell, GA. It was only a 75 min. drive so that wasn't too bad.
The town was super cute and thankfully, not as many people were there compared to Athens. I heard they expected over 30,000 people at Athens???
The roads were still lined with people in Rosewell and the field was enormous! 170 Pro riders!!
Karel needed this finish to boost him up for next week (races on Fri, sat and sun in SC, NC and GA) and with a few chats to God during the race, he finished. Karel said he had a moment with about 20 min. to go where he just couldn't take it any more. He was playing games with himself, just one more lap. Humm, sounds familiar. I say that during most of my running races..."just one more mile then you can quit."
Karel finished around 50-55th place and I am so proud of him. After a 6 hour drive home, we finally made it back to our place at 2am. I picked up Campy first thing this morning (I even set my alarm so I could get Campy as soon as possible...who needs sleep?) and to no suprise, Campy is proud of Karel no matter what :)
Enjoy the pics.