Musings (continued)

Sunday - US Pro Road Race Championships. But first, Josh and I were selected to "support" the Stars and Stripe Challenge Ride. This was a charity ride sponsored by Palmetto Peloton Project, a local non-profit organization that raises money for cancer advocacy and research. They had a turn out of about 500 riders. This meant we had to get up early to get our car ready and get to the course for a 7:30 am rollout. This, while everyone else was still snug in their beds. Oh well, that's the breaks. We snuck back to the hotel after parading the riders around for one lap of the course. We joined the rest of the Mavic crew and got the other cars and the motos ready for the big show.

If you ever get the chance to ride in the race caravan at a pro race, DO IT. NASCAR has nothing on the pro caravan. Screaming along, inches from the car in front of you. You've got cars on the left moving up, cars on the right moving back, and don't forget about the motos. Every time you turn around, there's another moto making your life interesting. They buzz about like you just through a rock at a bee hive.

We supported this race "euro" style, which meant Mavic 2 and 3 (the cars) and Mavic moto 2 actually started in front of the peloton. Once a break got off the front, Mavic moto 2 would drop behind them until the gap was sufficient for a car to drop in. Then, if a chase group developed, the same thing would happen. Moto drop back, then a car, with the other car dropping behind the break. Confused yet? I was initially. But since I wasn't driving I just focused on jumping.

The course consisted of a small circuit and a large loop. The total race consisted of 3 small circuits, 4 big loops, and 3 more small circuits. The first circuits were supposed to be somewhat parade laps. WRONG!!! About a half-mile into the race, the racers decided it was game on and hit full gas. The front of the caravan was still pretty compacted at this point. So, everyone was pushing hard to make room for the race. Nothing like starting the race flat out. That is why one of the TV motos dumped it on the first lap.

Once we got to the bigger circuits, things calmed down a bit. Then we hit Paris Mountain and it did it's job. A group of 12 got off the front. We dropped in behind them (after screaming down the back side of the mountain). Each time up the mountain, the break would shed some people and the group would close. The last time up the climb, those that were left pretty much regrouped. With this, we were pushed to the front and stayed there for the remainder of the race. We were diverted off course before the finish, so I didn't get to see it. But if you take a look at the finish line photo, you'll see Mark (driving the moto) and Collin (peeking over Mark's shoulder) had a front row seat and managed to get the Mavic moto front and center in the money shot.

It was an uneventful race for me as I didn't exit the car. I did see Collin pull a mussette bag out of a chainring from the back of the moto. However, the ride itself was anything but boring. Josh was pushing the Saab 9-3 Aero Sportcombi to its limits to hold our position. That, and he had a goal of making one of the VIP's that rode with us car sick. He didn't succeed in that, but I was sliding around like crazy trying to hang on to my seat and a set of wheels. Fun times!!!!

It's a good thing I have skinny legs.

Now, off to Missouri...

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