11 April, 2011

A Crit, Some Grit and a Snit.....

I thought I was well prepared for yesterday's crit:
Got the bikes ready on Saturday afternoon and packed the car with all of the gear so I could head out bright and early yesterday morning.
I packed the small esky/cooler with water/soft drinks/powerade for sale at the race venue (nothing like a nice cold drink at the end of the race, right?)
Made up the drink bottles for Dee and I and put them in the fridge.

Sunday morning I was out of bed by about 4:00- had a bite to eat, read the online news and a few blogs and then got my kit on. I grabbed the drinks from the fridge and put them in the carry bag. I gave Dee hers since she was riding to the venue while I was going to stop and pick up ice for the drinks in the cooler.

Right- stop at the servo down the road and grab a bag of ice and off to the V8 track for the crit. Arrive- get set up, put on shoes, gloves and helmet- grab drink bottles and......NO drink bottles. They were sitting comfortably back in the kitchen by the sink.

By the last few laps, I was enjoying the crit even less than usual. No water makes BoaB an unhappy rider.

So I hung around after our race for the A and B graders' race, then lugged everything back to the car and went home where we spent most of the afternoon in the garden. After a trip to a local nursery, Dee planted some tomatoes and eggplant, mulched the veggie beds and I went off and got some woodchip mulch for some of the larger beds in the backyard.

We were waiting for the start of Paris-Roubaix. Online broadcast started around 8:30 last night with live TV coverage starting at 10:30. The online coverage was ordinary to say the least- the video was very sporadic and would freeze for long periods while the audio would continue without a hitch. We ended up running two laptops with a video stream from a Belgian channel on one and audio from the Cycling TV mob on the other.

Not the best but at least we got to see quite a bit of the race before they entered the Forest d'Arenberg. When we switched to the TV coverage, it was considerably better and the amount of dust and grit in the air became more apparent. The dry, warm conditions meant the dust in the cobble sections was kicked up in great clouds by the motorcycles preceding/accompanying/annoying the riders.

Many of the riders looked like they had spent time in a mine by the end of the race- caked in dust and grime with pale masks where their sunglasses afforded some protection. Some with teeth caked in grit, others using the "farmer's hankie" to blow dust cake out of their noses and others summoning forth a bit of saliva to be spat out with some of the offending dirt.

We managed to stay awake for the whole of the race and it made for interesting watching as Cancellara showed some emotion at facing the all-too-real prospect of having to chase down the lead group all on his own. The other riders in his group were not about to come to the front to help him out- particularly Hushovd with his team mate Van Summeren off the front. Cancellara spoke his mind during the race both to his fellow riders and their team cars to voice his displeasure in their race tactics. I guess his victory earlier and performance in Ronde van Vlaandern had him as a marked man. Bit unfortunate Leopard Trek couldn't summon forth some support for him.

I did find it interesting that Hushovd decided not to go (or perhaps couldn't go) with Cancellara over the last few km's. After hanging off his wheel like a lamprey for a good part of the race, when Cancellara rode away in chase of his spot on the podium, Thor must have resigned himself to not wanting a Garvelo one-two finish.

Only 364 days to go....