After two days of driving, I arrived in T-Town yesterday afternoon. Butterworth (the 6-day promoter responsible for me coming out here) was out of town, along with the keys for the dorm I'm supposed to stay in. So I stop at the track, met Marty Northstein and Erin Hartwell, heard that they have an apartment in Kutztown for riders to stay in, got a set of keys, and moved on. They told me there were a few sprinters living there now, but that there should be open rooms.
Now, the term "apartment" is a generous way to describe this building. You walk in the front door, past the broken TV in the corner, up the first flight of stairs leaning conspicuously to the left (so much so that they've pulled away from the wall on the right side), across the second similarly uneven floor, up a second set of questionable stairs, down the hall to the left, and into apartment 301. The apartment itself is a long, lumpy hallway with rooms on either side, a barren kitchen and a living room at the end. It could be diplomatically called "spartan." I found my new housemates in the kitchen, and filled them in on the situation. They seemed utterly unphased by my walking in, helped me find a room that had a bed, and offered to help me bring in my things.
There are 4 of us living there now. The other 3 are all sprinters, 2 from Trinidad (Jonathan and Hassim) and on from New Zealand (Nathan). Jon and Hassim are really friendly, with perhaps the biggest, loudest laughs I've ever heard. Never mind that I can't understand half of what they're saying, even though it's some version of English. I haven't really talked much with Nathan, but he says most of the New Zealand track team is living a floor below us. I got some dinner with the guys from Trinidad, Pete Fitzpatrick (Australia), and Ryan Nelman. There isn't a terrible lot to do in Kutztown, and it shows, as they're all well known at the local brewery/restaurant. Hassim is going back to Trinidad on Monday, which will make things less entertaining, but Jon will be here for about 2 more weeks, and I think Nathan will to, so at least not everyone is leaving.
I went and trained on the track this morning. If there is anywhere in the US that has a thriving track scene, this is it. 10:30 on a Thursday morning, and there are 3 motors out pacing separate groups. The sprinters are doing flying 200 motor drops, some enduro guys are doing long, high pace efforts, and I was in with 3 others doing madison work. The caliber of riders is unbelievable too. There's the New Zealand squad, Trinidad, Nelman, Barczewski, Lakatosh (both of them), Wiswell, and yesterday I saw a group of riders from Colavita/Sutter Home riding through Kutztown. This should make racing tomorrow an awesome experience.
Unfortunately, I had yet another run in with the pavement this morning. After a sprint in our madison work, I was right behind Jack Simes III, crossed the line, glanced at my partner (Taylor Brown), who waved off the exchange as expected, and looked ahead again to see Simes shutting it down and swinging up, straight though my front wheel. Maybe the right side of my body was jealous of all the attention the left side has gotten lately. In any case, it deposited some skin on the pavement, and shattered my helmet in the process. So now I'm back to the familiarity of bandages. The plan for the remainder of today is to rest up, work on my road bike, and maybe make my way to track tonight to sit in during the crit across the street and loosen up for racing Friday night.