Saturday, April 19, 2008

Today, I am George Hincape.

If you think of Americans in the Classics races of early spring, one name comes to mind: George Hincape. The only American to make the podium at the Paris Roubaix, Big George is the man. Unfortunately, Big George has some bad luck, one year it was a broken fork, one year a broken wrist in a crash weeks prior to the race. The list goes on and on, The Paris Roubaix is Big Georges unicorn. This year George made the final selection, in the break with only a bit to go, he was well positioned for a dubbayou, then Georges wheel broke, the group attacked, Georges day was done.

Today was the Battenkill Roubaix. 55 miles, 8 miles of which is dirt. Started everything was ok. The first few hills were tough as the pace was high and my legs weren't feeling 100%. After about 20 miles I settled in and felt good. I took a look behind me and realized that somewhere along the way we had decimated the field. I was in the selection. At 26 miles or so you hit the toughest part of the race. Big dirt hill climb, dirt descent, then an even worse dirt climb. Rode up the first hill fine and the group stayed together. On the descent I hit something, I didn't see it, but I felt it... up through my fork, into my bars. I waited to hear the hissing sound of air making a mass exodus from my tires... nothing "I am in the clear" I thought. I climbed the rest of the road and as I reached the top... bounce bounce bounce, rim on the ground. Crap.
Luckily, luckily, the wheel truck was right behind me. Swapped my front wheel, lost maybe 45 seconds. I had a downhill and some more dirt to help me catch. I then proceeded to kill myself to regain contact with the group. This did not occur. I didn't realize it at the time, but found out talking to a rider in the group after the race, as soon as I flatted an attack occur ed. Bye Bye Mike... I rode at LT for what seemed like forever, into a headwind and the pack slowly slipped away. Apparently three members of the break took off and blew apart the group. I ended up catching two members who fell off before the finish and took 10th. I would have loved to have been in that group when it all went to hell though.

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