Chasing A Dream Articles: The "Big Time" Crits

By: ryan_pinkham@hotmail.com
Posted: May 8, 2002

I`ve always known it, and the past few weeks have definitely confirmed it. `It` being my lack of ability in fast criteriums. Athens Twilight was one of the most unbelievable experiences of my cycling career, but it may have been my only attempt at this crazy race. My coach, teammate and good friend Adam Myerson agreed to take me to the big criteriums of the past few weeks. We were to go down to Seaford, DE and race in the omnium April 13-14. From there we would go to Raleigh, NC for a few days, then to check out Asheville, NC for a few more days. That weekend we were to race in Shelby on Saturday, and Roswell, GA on Sunday. Well everything went downhill when we got to Asheville. Both of us got VIOLENT food poisoning and didn`t eat for an entire day. I couldn`t race Shelby, Adam did. Sunday we both `raced` Roswell. I sat at the back all day trying to keep my pre-race meal where it belonged in my stomach, and not on the side of the road. Adam was doing well until he went into turn 1 way too fast and had to lay it down. Ouch. He couldn`t sit down for the rest of the week. One fast crit down, two to go. From Roswell, we drove to the `ATL`, that`s Atlanta for you Hip-Hop deprived. We stayed with Angie Vargas for the week. It was really nice; we did easy rides every day to Stone Mountain, home of the 1996 Summer Olympics. Saturday was the day I have looked forward to for a long time. Athens Twilight is one of those races that every bike racer wants to take part of. Everyone has heard the stories coming from this race….huge crowds, bars, beer, and most important hot college girls. We got to Athens in the morning, with enough time to take a nap, and cruise downtown to pick up numbers and check out the scene. The race is a pretty big deal to all these college kids; it gives them a great reason to drink from morning until night, well actually until the next morning. The race was to start at 8:30, but inevitably it was delayed and didn`t start until almost 10. I found myself in a great starting position once we all lined up and the big names got their call-ups. I was a jittery on the line, maybe it was nerves, but more likely it was the 4 shots of espresso I drank just prior to the start. Once we got rolling I calmed down. The race was FAST. The first few laps were done at probably 35mph. I was sitting comfortably midpack, passing people on the outside of almost every corner. Everything was going swell until about ¾ of the way through the bike race. At this point I started falling back, my legs were definitely tiring from jumping out of every corner. And that`s how it continued until I finally popped. Only maybe 40 finished, so I was pleased with the way I raced. Post race – WOW. That`s all I have to say. Sunday was the best day of all, a few less pros, but nonetheless a very fast race. Adam set me up for a prime, and I would have won it if I hadn`t come around Adam on the wrong side, oops. I finished 21st out of maybe 35. Not great, but $50 was ok with me. After the race we packed up the car and were on out way home at 4pm. I arrived home in MarshVegas (Marshfield, MA) at 2pm; 22 hours of car time is a long time. Now I`m home for a while, getting ready for Housatonic in a few weeks. Long rides every day, solo. Makes for long day, but I feel good, and am hoping for a good result at Housatonic, Hincapie better watch out. Thanks for reading; this is my first entry in hopefully many. Let me know if you want to hear about anything. I am trying to give all the readers a different perspective from the normal `Pro`s` diary entry. I am trying to show you all what its like being a struggling amateur bike racer. You can reach me at the email address below. See you.

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