The Boise Twilight Crit

Posted: Jul 30, 2002

Boise twilight is the west coast`s version of the East Coast`s Harlem Skyscraper Classic. There is no national advertising or advertising at all for that matter, there is a solid prize list and some good guys show up to pad their pockets. I have heard about this race for years but I could never find out when it was. So finally this year I heard about it in time to get out there and get set up. Boise isn`t a stop on either the NRC or the Pro Tour so team 7 UP won`t pay for me to get there. I get my flight on United miles I`ve built up over the past couple of seasons and promoter Mike Cooley takes care of my hotel and entry fee. Thanks Mike! So from here out all I`ve got to pay for is food and the rest is pure profit. I arrive a day early as people trying to get to their destinations using United miles have booked all the seats on Friday`s flights. I come in late on Thursday night for a Saturday night race. That`s okay by me as a cross-country flight can take a lot out of you the day before a race and you need good legs to make good money. I sleep in Friday and head down to promoter Mike Cooley`s enormous `George`s Cycles` for race details and to find some routes out of town for a ride. I get a little lunch and them I`m out for a two-hour ride. It`s pretty hot in Boise in the summer and the temperature is in the low 90`s. Thankfully it`s a dry heat in the summer although I go through two bottles in the first hour and a half of the ride. I manage to do a few efforts to loosen up twenty minutes of `tempo` and then two quick 5 – 7 minutes of `AT` work. I start feeling pretty good toward the end but I`m totally dehydrated from the plane travel and ride. Friday night in the hotel room is boring. I`m alone in a strange place and I don`t know a soul. So it`s HBO movies and Chinese delivery, which might not have been the greatest idea. Saturday it`s breakfast at Denny`s and then a quick hour and a half ride on Boise`s bike trails. Afterwards I sit in bed for four hours have a little nap then head downtown for the evening`s race. By seven o`clock there`s a good crowd already in place for the other category`s races, which include a 4-5 race, and then a 3`s race. By the time our race starts it`s dark and a crowd five deep lines the course. The promoter has arranged for `clickers` to be handed out before the start of the race and now it`s dark and really noisy. This is a perfect background for a twilight event. I can remember the first twilight criterium I ever did was in Greenville, SC 1991. I was scared shitless. And I ate it really hard breaking my collarbone and causing myself a concussion. That was then and this is now. Now, I love twilight races. Athens scared me for years before I became comfortable and wound up on the podium there. Atlantic Cup had a very dark, noisy and well-attended twilight event one year, which I won. I`m not really sure why but good twilight events are something special for me. Boise twilight is 55 laps of a really short course. There are premes almost every lap. So the action starts early. Both Vogels and Wherry from Mercury are there as are several other pro`s all on their own for the evening. It`s going to be hard to impossible to win in a situation like this where Vogels and Wherry are in such good form. But I can`t rule out second and third should be the worst-case scenario. Wherry gets up the road on a solo flyer earlier in the race and after collecting $200 in premes he`s back in the field. There`s a flurry of activity before the break goes with about 25 to go. We get half a lap up pretty quickly. There are six guys in the break both Wherry and Henk are there. I`m in a bad spot for the win but if I play my cards right I think I can get second. Well I play my card wrong and wind up lucky to get on the podium. Henk puts in a soft attack after getting a preme and after the break doesn`t respond he quickly rides up the road solo. For me it`s better that Henk is up the road, rather than Wherry, as he`s very quick in the sprint. The rest of us are forced to tow Wherry the last 11 laps. Actually it`s only 9 ½ laps as the break disintegrates with a bunch of attacks and a huge counter by Wherry. I initially go for his wheel but pull back the reins, as I`m uncertain of my abilities. There are only three of us left. The finish straight is pretty short. You could either lead it out from the last corner or come from second position depending on whom you`re with. My group contains three guys from the final move. I`m second wheel going into the last turn. Remi McManis comes underneath in the final turn and I quickly get on his wheel. The local guy who had been leading it out shuts the door on me coming out of the turn. I get his pedal in my front wheel manage to keep us both upright and I`m two bike lengths behind Remi with only two hundred meters to go. I slam it into overdrive throw my bike and wind up third by a wheel. The crowd is huge and just like at the end of any twilight event no one seems to care who won, but rather they cheer generally thankful for the `show.` I`ve got to say that being on the podium with these two was probably one of the best podiums I`ve ever been on. Afterwards I hit the pubs with the boys. It`s a good night to kick back a little bit and Boise is a great place for kicking back. Local 7UP sponsor Wobble Naught position guru is in a generous mood. He buys my dinner and a few drinks. Henk is also in a real generous mood and he`s buying rounds for everyone with typically Aussie swagger, `here`s a beer for ya, git it in ya.` If I can find out when this race is again I`m definitely coming back. Next on the schedule for me is the Manhattan Invitational.