Monday, April 7, 2008

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery or...

If you can not beat them, try to join them.
That was the incredibly funny tribute from four young pro's to four older and old semi-pro's, this weekend at the 2008 US Open team relay championships. The four young guns decided to all dress up in VPA kit and memorialize their older and faster, at least on this day, heros.
The real team US Open relay team was set to defend their 2007 title. With a line-up of no less than three National Champions in Wes Schempf, Mike Yozell and Ryan Leech and yours truly we were ready to take all comers. The team goal was to win the lap race, and to defend the title against the handicapped teams.
This great event allows beginners, juniors, men and women to all race for the overall win. I can say first hand that the team races our guts out for 3:59:42, just so we could send out another rider for a last lap. That last lap was the lap that gave us the win.
With Wes leading off for we were afforded a lead just three minutes into the race, and never looked back. Mike Yozell stretched the lead and handed off to me as I stretched it a bit more. I handed off to Ryan Leech who held his own against his counterpart on the young guns who was riding the fastest laps of the event. As the first hour passed our very trusty Cannondale F1 29er bikes were working flawlessly. The big wheels were turning and helping us increase the lead through hour two and three. After three hours we realized that we had exactly 1 hour and thirty seconds to ride our last four laps. We needed to turn fourth laps faster than 90% of everyone else's fastest lap. With great laps fro Wes, Yozell and myself we gave Ryan exactly sixteen minutes to win the race for us. The lap race was won at that point, Ry just need to finish before 4:00 so Wes could do a lap of fun. I headed into the woods to see Ry and give encouragement. It would be close. Yozell and I figured we would have 10-15 seconds to spare. Ry killedit and we had 18 seconds to spare. The race was ours. After some celebrating Mike & I decided to ride the last half-lap with Wes, as a demonstration that teammates win races as a team.
The day was a huge success with around 70 teams. All kudos for race management need to go directly to team director/founder Mike Kuhn of High Speed Cycling. I heard so many great comments through the day, about the event.
I would like to thank for supporting the team. Cannondale bikes for supplying us with absolutely flawless machines. Ergon grips for the most comfy grips known to man. Rudy Project for the most comfy helmet I have worn in 20+ years of racing. SRAM for the absolute best shifting and brakes you can race with. I can not wait to use these products the rest of the year, as well as our other generous sponsor products from Suunto, Deuter, Northwave.
Thanks to all who attended the event.
Enjoy your season and remember to thank the promoters and teams that bring you these great events.

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