10 months ago,
in the luxury of a Silver Mercury Sable station wagon, Stephen Bedford, John Benenate and myself agreed to undergo a mission we decided to call "Car-talk."
"Car-talk" meant the decision to prepare to compete at the Elite National Track Championships in the Points Race.
At the time we did not fully understand the work and amount of time such a goal would demand.
"Car-talk" was all consuming. It was in my thoughts, my dream, my prayers and every breath of air I drew in. Stephen Bedford and I were dedicated to becoming the best bicyclists we could be for the day of the Points Race October 3rd.
Well, that Points Race saw us both DNF.
Back when we made the goal, we didn't really understand it would mean Points Races including qualifiers and one in The Omnium, Scratch Races that fit our "roleur" style, and the time trial "Pursuits" that got us there. The Omnium included a Flying Lap and The Kilo as well.
So the three days of racing before hand were full of plenty of successes.
And big misses.
Like "last place" in the flying lap with a time that was beat by 4 girls(world record holders) in the Womens Omnium.
But we both threw down 4:57 4k Individual Pursuit's that were Personal Bests for both of us. (I know John is most proud of these)
But certainly the heroism of Bedford's (after his first crash early in the race) blocking, sitting up with defending Scratch Race champ, Bobby Lea, allowing my last minute attack for 2nd place in the Scratch Race to Former National Champ Kit Karzen of Beverly Hills helped our spirits improve. As did the 6th place in the Kilo by Bedford whose 1:10 held up as fastest for most of the morning.
Bedford and myself got 13th and 12th respectively in the six events of the Omnium. It was a brutal two days of racing and we still had two more to go. Now just beginning to compete in single events for the National Champ Jersey.
We fought hard in the Scratch Race and Pursuit Qualifiers which were like National Caliber events in their own right- harder than anything we had ever competed in back home. I got 4th in my qualifier, and Bedford WON his. Then he was immedietly taken out from behind and fell thirty feet upside down adding more pain and wood slivers to an already damaged, bruised and bleeding body. Two times on the deck now for him. We couldn't believe how tough he really was.
On the night before the big events Bedford was moaning in his sleep, agonizing from the pain. John and I both became sick with pollution sickness, but I got a fever. When the big races finally came we were just not fast enough to beat guys like Jame Carney and Dan Harm. We were beyond "toast."
The points race on the final day was FAST. Bedford was heavily bandaged and I was spewing green gobs of gook from my nose every 30 seconds. We were both off the back in about 25 laps.
In hindsight, the whole week was a great experience and we met lots of nice people and saw lots of really fast bicycle racing. I am happy it is over though, a nice break from bicycle racing seems necessary, or I may never come back.
Of course I look forward to team rides and watching some people ride through the mud with wreckless abandon. I will be fired fresh soon enough, but thanks to Nationals 2010 and the path of "Car-Talk" I will never be same again.