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NCSU Race Weekend

Race Report by Joey Yacono

This weekend was my first trip traveling with the team to race. I'm glad I decided to go because it was a great time. The drive down was a rough 7.5-8hrs long but all went pretty smoothly. Tim and Brett drove down in Tim's car, and Josie, Neal, and myself went down in Josie's car, known as Pebbles. The weather wasn't super as we ended up driving thru rain for a good hour or two but other than that, the only other issue we ran into was foggy windows. We made one stop for a bathroom break and some fuel at a Wawa in Virginia. Brett and Tim were the first to run into the bathroom and that left me and Neal waiting in the short hallway. I glanced into the small window in the large refrigerated room and saw a single Bud Light can and shot Neal a confused look and joked about the employees drinking on the job. It was at that point in time the sandwich lady/manager ran over to yell at me for looking inside of her beer cooler. I was still confused as to why there was beer in this Wawa until it dawned upon me that they sell beer. This was the first time I saw this. The very same lady then made my ordered hoagie and it turned into a hoagie with a salad on top of it. I can't tell if she did it because she didn't like me or just wasn't the best at making sandwiches, either way, jokes on her, I love salads. Back on the road we went.

When got to Adam Lemen's house it was fairly late. We all hung out in his living room for a little while, and got to know him, his wife Michelle, and their dog Priscilla. After Brett and Tim did some catching up we all went to bed. Saturday morning we were up around 6:00am. Adam made some awesome coffee and we all ate breakfast and were out the door by 7:00 or so. The drive over wasn't long, but we got to enjoy the scenery surrounding Jordan Lake. It was pretty calming watching the sun go up over the trees surrounding the lake. Once in the parking lot, Brett, Josie and I headed over to the registration table and picked up our numbers. After signing up, Josie and I mustered up the courage to cope with the cold conditions and try to warm up once in gear. I rode around the parking lot and for the first time I didn't have any pre race jitters. I guess I was just that cold all I was focused on thinking about was being warm. Josie's race went off first. After her race went off the Men's D field slowly bunched up to start. I was talking with a few riders before the start, one from WCU and one from NCSU. They were telling me about some things that happened at this race last year, a crash in the neutral rolling start being one. Shortly after my race went off.

The Jordan Lake Road Race was two, ~11.5mi laps for mens D. For the duration of the rollout, I was up front to avoid any trouble, as was the NCSU rider I had befriended. When the starting line was passed, I went to pick the pace up a bit and the NCSU rider did the same. I pulled up front for about a half a mile and figured I'd see who else in this race would want to work, so I sat up and pulled off the front. I began to spin with little to no effort, maintaining a pretty slow speed, and nobody wanted to get up front to work. The race's speed continued to drop until another half mile or so in, a Duke rider jumped up front. A couple of riders or so jumped past me so I grabbed a wheel and was sitting about 5 back, on the wheel of the NCSU rider. He seemed to be pretty strong. By the end of the first lap, the four riders and myself had cycled thru taking turns pulling to keep the tempo up. At the start of the second lap, the pace picked up. The rider from NCSU was pulling 80% of the time at around 25mph. He broke away a couple of times, I tried breaking away with him but I ended up stringing out the front of the pack a bit and just chasing him, I could shake the three riders from Duke. After I chased him down, three riders passed of me before I fought myself in for a wheel. I was positioned fifth in the stream line up front and that's where it happened. the Duke rider sitting in third place overlapped his front wheel with the rear wheel of the rider in front of him and he went down. The Duke rider was sprawled out in front of me and the rider right in front of me also went down. I didn't have anywhere to go to avoid both riders and I ended up skidding to a stand still and my bike got tangled up in one of the other riders bikes. As I rode off I watched the Duke rider throw a temper tantrum and throw his bike into the grass and smash his helmet on the road, that was pretty comical. I ended up chasing the pack down for the rest of the race. There was maybe seven miles left in the race and I never managed to catch back up. Along the lonely journey I had to the finish line, I passed Josie and quite a few other women riders that were strung out from their race. Two navy girls ended up grabbing my wheel and drafting off of me for a little while. Just as I dropped them I came up to another crash. It looked like it was another crash from my race along with one female rider involved. After passing thru there, the Navy rider caught onto my wheel again as well as my one friend I made before the race. He was tangled up and chasing from the first crash too. We ended up working together and he ended up dropping me. I rode alone to the finish for a 15th place. That wasn't quite the standing I wanted, but I thought it was acceptable for getting taken out.

After my race, I went back to the car to put on warm clothes. After getting dressed and eating a PB & nutella sandwich or two, I wandered back over to the course to watch Tim and Brett in the 1/2/3 race. I had a hard time finding them in the pack because I kept forgetting they weren't in Drexel kits. At some point in the race Brett yelled out to me and threw me an arm warmer and a glove. I was nervous that he had lost the other arm warmer and glove until after the race when he said he still had it. Some kid, I think his name was Jack, was talking to me and Josie during the 1/2/3. He was telling me about how he only does triathlons and was doing his first road race and went right to the Cs. He didn't seem nervous or even like he cared too much but he seemed like a cool kid. He asked for a few pointers so I said if he wasn't too found of bumping shoulders with a crowded pack to either stay to the outside of the pack or in the back.

Neal's race was the last to go off. He got to show off his sweet new white shoes for this race. Josie, Time, Brett and I watched him race from around the finish line. He was towards the back half of the pack when he passed us. On the last lap, Brett went down further to yell at him for the sprint to tell him to move up in the pack. I also was yelling at him to sprint faster. Neal had a solid show in the sprint considering his positioning for the beginning of it. After Neal met up with us, Brett and I were arguing over who helped him sprint faster. Neal confirmed that Brett helped more.

After this race, Josie, Tim and I rode our bikes back to the cars to pack up and head out. Brett had to walk back because he decided to walk up to watch Neal race. When we were leaving the parking lot to go pick up Brett, he was sitting along the side of the path that led up to the park entrance. He seemed rather exhausted for walking to little! Off to Adam's we went. The drive back was equally as beautiful around the lake. When we drove there, we got to watch the sun rise, when we were leaving, we got to watch the sun set. It was a great day. Once we got to Adam's we decided on whether or not we wanted to shower or eat first. Tim decided to get a shower while we finally decided to leave to try out "The Pig." The restaurant wasn't too far from Adam's house and he had nothing but great things to say about the food. When we got there, I was hypnotized by the plates of food they were bringing out to the tables. Everything looked great. I decided to go with the fried chicken. After everyone ordered we all sat and had a great dinner together. It was pretty fun listening to some stories from Tim, Brett, and Alan. While listening to conversation, I finished my chicken and went into a short depression. It was probably the best chicken I've ever eaten. I'm getting sad just thinking about it now. After we all finished stuffing our faces with food, we all headed back to hang out.

As people were taking turns showering upstairs, everyone was hanging out in the living room and we ended up watching some hilarious footage from Top Gear. Some episodes to name were the Reliant K, The Cheap Lorry Challenge, The Rally Car Challenge, and the Truck Driving Challenge. I haven't laughed that hard in awhile. After that great cap to the night, to bed we went again.

Sunday morning we were up around 6:15/6:30. Adam made some more of his magical coffee and we all ate breakfast. I was nervous my gear wouldn't have dried off from Saturday's races but they did dry off for the most part. After putting my gear on I went to eat my usual bagel for breakfast. We talked for a bit and then packed up and got ready to go. When throwing my bags in the car I noticed my bikes seat had frost on it. On the road we went. The drive to the Sandford Road Race wasn't as scenic, but it was still a nice trip.

Once we pulled up and parked, I went over to the registration table to grab the forms and to make sure we were using the same numbers. After confirming the numbers had to be switched sides, I jumped back into the warm car to repin my number. After finishing that, I went to go warm up and do some laps around the parking lot and up to the start area. Shortly after I rode past the car, Tim flagged me down to let me know I had to switch where my number was pinned. He pinned it for me and I went back to warming up and ran into one of my friends from the previous day, the one other rider who was caught up in the wreck. He seemed pretty excited for the race. We both headed over to the starting line and waited for a bit.

(The Sanford Road Race was 3, 7.something mile long laps for mens D.) It was at this point my toes went numb, so I was stoked for that. This race also had a neutral roll out to the starting line. I stayed up front with the duke rider who crashed out (he was wearing his broken helmet he smashed on the ground) and the other kid I befriended. After the starting line, there was no increase in speed. Nobody seemed to really want to race. I figured if I went off the front, some might go with me, or somebody might reel me back in and we'd be back into race mode. No, it was just me, they let me go, so I just rode at a comfortable pace until they caught up to me. It was nice to warm up like that, although the cold and numbness in my toes was pretty bad. After they caught up to me things seemed to be moving pretty well. The first half lap was mostly uphill (if I remember correctly), and the second half was more so downhill with a little bit of climbing mixed in. It was a pretty nice loop. Things were moving pretty quickly, the second lap we went up the climbing section faster than I anticipated, so I had to fight to keep up at one point. I managed to maintain holding onto a wheel and I was sitting about 10 riders back in a paceline. On a downhill on the last half of the second lap, my friend broke away at the front and held a pretty solid distance from us. Going into lap three, on the uphill section about halfway thru the lap, a rider from Appalachian State overlapped wheels and went down. I didn't have anywhere to avoid the wreck or anytime to react and I ended up running over his front wheel. I heard a tire pop and looked down to make sure mine were okay, they were. I ended up picking back up with two other riders that were slowed down by this and we were picking up ground to the chase group we were in. Coming out of one of the four/five turns on the course, my front skewer opened up on me. I didn't want to see if that would last so i quickly stopped, tightened it back up, and was on my way. I didn't catch up to the couple of riders I was with and I ended up solo-ing to the finish line again. I placed 12th.

Shortly after I finished, I met up with Brett, Josie, and Tim. Brett and Josie were a little further towards the bottom of the hill for the sprint. We walked up to watch some of the racing by the finish. My feet were frozen at this point so I warmed up in Tim's car and then rode down to Josie's to put on some warm clothes. By the time I had finished getting dressed, everyone had driven down so we could bring both cars up and just leave from the finish. We watched Neal's race from about the 100m to go point. There was one other race going on at the same time as Neal's race. Tim went on a ride during some of Neal's race and Brett, Josie and I sat on the soft mushy Earth. We held out a bottle for Neal on his last three laps but he didn't need one, because water is for the weak. There was another group of people in the feed zone and they were trying to hand out donuts. One rider managed to grab his donut and he ended up sharing it with the rider who was dropped with him. It was a heart warming moment. Most of the riders just drooled at the donuts as they went by. Anywho, at the finish of Neal's sprint, we were yelling at him to go faster. He went faster, but he looked to have been a bit blocked by some of the riders around him. Overall, he had a strong race. After Neal's race, we watched the finish of the last race that was going on, and we took off. We stopped at a Qdoba for some dinner and we were on our way back home. Driving thru Virginia, we passed several State Police officers. There was one point when Josie, Neal and I passed two officers on the side of the road with their flashing lights on, the one officer, pulled away, and two minutes later he looked to be on the hunt again with his lights. The trip home wasn't too bad but it was pretty damn cold when we got back.

Thank you Adam and Michelle for hosting us all!

TL;DR 1)Jordan Lake Road Race -- 15th place after getting stuck behind a crash 2)Sanford Road Race-Sunday -- 12th place after running a wheel over and having to stop for a mechanical

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Page last modified on April 01, 2013, at 05:39 PM