Manchester Revolution November 2008 Reprot:
I’ll start from the beginning…
November 12th – Aldo drops me at the Denver airport with all my stuff. I was rather pleased and proud of myself for what I thought was a rather masterful packing job. I had my double bike box with my road and track bike in it with a set of wheels to go with each. I also had the frames to my rollers in the bike box and I had everything calculated so the total weight was 69.5lbs…the limit as found on the website for Delta is 70lbs. Then I had a hard wheel case barrowed from my friend Cari (Thank You!), which contained my race wheels with bran new tubulars on them, the barrels to my rollers, my track tool bag and my toiletries bag. So those two Items would serve as my two checked bags. I then had my big messenger bag with all the clothes I needed and a rather large purse/bag with reading material, money, etc.
DON’T FLY DELTA!!!...
Especially if you have bikes! I got ripped off and I still need to call customer service and at least put up a fight even if I have little faith in their willingness to help me. After all my strategic packing an weighing and calculating I still got blasted by the folks at good old Delta airlines, who proceeded to charge me $300 for my bike ONE WAY…yep that’s right they did it both ways which brings my grand total just to get my bike back and forth for 4 days to $600….OUCH…I’ll be paying that one off the credit card for awhile…errrr. I was beyond pissed and upset but I guess what are you going to do. Apparently I didn’t look at the proper section of their website when I was checking my facts on sports equipment. You can bet I’ll be trying not to give Delta any more of my money anytime soon!!! Wish me luck in my struggle and argument with the idiots who came up with this idea.
Anyhow to move on to more positive experiences I did get this awesome gingerbread latte at the airport because it was clearly necessary to try and calm myself down from the urge to jump across the counter and strangle the manager at the Delta desk.
Oh and one more thing I thought was kinda funny…the guy tried to explain to me how difficult it is to fit a bike box on their trolley and how it is a hassle and has to be the last thing in right in front of the door because it doesn’t fit anywhere else and he knows all this because he used to do it. I was telling Guy and Austin about all this and Austin said exactly what I was thinking….if it is so difficult and always has to be the last thing loaded in the luggage area then why is it that is always seems to be the last thing to come out?...um!
Non the less I was on my way. One flight 3ish hours to Atlata and one 9ish hour flight to Manchester later I was greeted by a very nice woman from the track named Carol! It was clearly easy for her to pick me out lugging the huge bike case and wheel container. She helped me get all my stuff to the car, dropped me off at the hotel and then took all my bike stuff to the track to wait for me there. I checked in and just chilled out for a bit trying to get a bit of quality rest. It was now Thursday and in the afternoon I grabbed a taxi to the track, where I put both bikes together. The British National team was kind enough to let me get on the track during their training and I just worked around what they had going. It was no big deal of a day for me, just some easy spinning in a light gear. The track was smooth and beautiful. A very nice facility overall…with bathrooms inside for the athletes…imagine that! (for those of you who don’t understand why I say that…the one nice indoor track we have currently in the states in the on in LA and they have no athlete bathrooms…in a million dollar facility…they put porta potties outside when they have events…ok) Anyhow I then got in some time on the road bike and soon packed up to head back to the hotel. The weather when I got in was a bit damp and wet and it pretty much stayed that way most of the time I was there. We joked that the ground never actually got dry the whole time we where there but it wasn’t much of a joke because it was true. I road back to the hotel in the dark and in a light rain, but I didn’t mind much. Honestly if just felt good to be outside and moving my body. I did get a bit misdirected if you will. I pretty much knew where I was going but I thought at one point maybe I had gone too far and missed my turn. I stopped at a gas station to ask…um…let me just tell you the gas stations in the UK are not much different then the ones in the US. When you walk in if it looks like some family of foreigners are running the thing…their directions probably are not to be trusted (as is true in the states). I’m generally good at reading weather they know what they are talking about or not but this guy was pretty convincing and I road back in the wrong direction only to have to ride back by the same gas station to actually get to my hotel…go figure. Good thing I was in a mood of caring less and just enjoying my time on the bike.
This was pretty much what the weather was like the entire time I was there
Friday morning rolled around and I came down to breakfast where I found the other US boys who had just gotten in. They are based in Belgium at the moment so it was only about an hour flight for them and not much time change. Austin Caroll and Guy East are the characters I’m referring to and I was quite glad to have them around to hang out with and such! We ate breakfast and chatted a bit and then everyone just relaxed until we headed to the track for workout around 2. We jumped in on the Brit National team workouts again and got in some good time on the track. During this workout is when I put on my race wheels to try out the new tires and just get some time on them…or that was the plan. I rolled through the first corners of the banking and heard a squeeking noise and was a bit squirly…what the heck I thought. At the same time the boys were below me doing moto work and I was worried about the tires handling on the track. I backed off enough on the straight to be sure the moto and all the boys had gotten under me before I picked the pace back up for the banking. Unfortunately the squeaking only got louder and the sliding more drastic than before. I kept the bike upright as I was sliding and headed for the apron right away to put my training wheels back on. So I had traveled across the world and would now be racing on training wheels and tires, not to mention I hauled the race wheels with me and would not even be about to put them to use. I was not too thrilled about this situation but it is just one of those things you have to deal with. After a long taxi ride back to the hotel and some showers we caught a double decker us to center city Manchester and had some food and spent a bit of time sipping on coffee at starbucks…yeah there was surely more than one starbucks there! We didn’t have time or energy to see too much but we stopped in a few shops that were open and then grabbed a taxi back for a good night sleep.
Bike storage area...tons of nice bikes there!
Saturday was pretty uneventful until event time. We were picked up at 3 and brought straight to the track where they checked us in, gave us wrist bands, programs and numbers. We were directed to the café and told to eat whatever we wanted, it would all be taken care of. They also let us know our bikes were already in the infield for us and ready to go!...they had us sold. We were there really early but it was kinda cool to see everything come together from a completely empty house to a sold out crowd. When the evening started they did introductions and we (the US riders) were the first to be introduced and take a lap around the apron.
Bikes ready and waiting
Points Race – I had asked around a bit about the kind of gears the women would use on the track and had an idea they would be pretty light compared to what I have been riding lately. I went with a medium gear but as it turned out I still felt like I was a bit over geared for efficient recovery. I sat in on the first sprint and may have picked up one point. I drilled it for the second sprint and held others off for the 5 points and I’m not sure of my exact placing in the other two. I turned out 3rd overall.
Scratch Race – I left on the same gear assuming the finish would be quick and I would want the larger gear on. I chased down a few Brit attacks and made sure things stayed together. I had the opportunity to attack with a little less than 2 laps to go and I took it, but I didn’t quite have it in my legs to keep the gear going really well all the way through and I got passed by 3 riders in the last 15meters or so and turned up 4th.
Devils Scratch (this was a miss-n-out for the first 10 laps with the last rider to cross the line being pulled and then the remaining 10 laps turned into a straight up scratch race) – I started a bit far back but quickly worked my way up into a safe position…as I told myself I certainly didn’t fly across the world to get out in the first 10 laps of this race. I had geared down for the race to try it out and see how I felt. The gear did feel better but I still didn’t pull off a win. It was about 1.5laps to go and I was in a position to get through a gap and attack or risk getting blocked in. I just went for it and was doing a good job of holding them off until about the last 10meters and that is when the two girls who beat me got their wheels in front of mine. So I got 3rd in that race as well.
Looking back on the races there are certainly things I could have done differently or would have liked to have done. I think the biggest thing I learned is that I need to get my confidence back in my spinning and my ability to hit top end on a smaller gear. So you can bet I’ll be getting on that issue.
Durny bike used for moto pacing
After the races...the US kids
For the long flight home I got an exit seat! Sometimes short legs are rather convenient...
Thanks to everyone for all the support. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have all of you helping me out and behind me 110%!!! It means a lot to me! THANK YOU!