Madison of the Americas Race Report

Despite dour predictions for the weather, racing got started without a hitch last night. It was so humid it was hard to breathe, but the moisture stayed in the air, and rain held off. I kitted up in a Mike Fraysse Racing skinsuit, and had the assistance of Fraysse himself. All I can say is that he's an odd fellow, doing little more than talking trash about the other teams and riders throughout the night. Maybe it's his form of a motivational speech. Beats me...

In the first race of the night, we got off to a bit of a rough start. I think we missed two exchanges, but fortunately they came at times when the pace was more reasonable, and didn't hurt us. Along with racing together for the first time, both Barry and I had trouble picking one another out in the pack, as there were three other teams with red, white, blue, and black kits. Not good. We did manage to get better as the night went on, though. The first race saw no one successfully gain a lap, but a couple teams went down laps, and we managed to pick up a few points, but rode conservatively. After all, we still had two more 50 lap madisons to race that night. No one crashed, we had some points, we were still on lap with the leaders, and the race ended without incident.

During the second race I started to feel great. My legs opened up, my speed was good, and our exchanges were smooth. Unfortunately, Barry was starting to feel the wear of the racing, and suffered a bit, but still rode well. I took a few more points in the sprints, bridged some gaps to various attacks, and hit my top speed for the night, at 64 km/h. Some more teams went down laps, and the points we gained moved us up a few places in the standings.

I wanted to attack in the third race. I felt awesome in second race, and felt that if I could put in a strong attack and get one of the Argentinian teams to come with me, that we had a solid chance of getting away. But Barry was blown. In his own words, he could hold the pace in the pack, but things got rough when he had to make them happen on his own. So we decided to have him try to position for the sprints, and then I would make the dash for the line. It worked once or twice, but then we started getting boxed in, and would need to try to make up 20-30 meters to the leaders in order to score points. I succeeded in that game once, but it took a lot out of me, and afterwards we settled for just taking scrap points when we could get them. Somewhere around 25 laps to go, the Colavita team went on the attack. There were three Argentinian teams in the race, Colavita, Rite Aid, and a composite team with Pete Fitzpatrick of Australia. From the start, it was clear that they were working together, and true to form, when Colavita went off the front in search of a lap, none of the other Argentinian teams, (who ultimately took the top three spots) went after them. So with nine laps to go, Barry threw me in, and I went on the attack. No one went with us, and at one point we had almost a full straight on the field. The charge came on the last lap though, and the pack swept me up in the sprint. So much for that effort. It was fun to see what I could against these guys, and really make myself suffer for a few laps. When it was all said and done, we finished sixth on the night. Not too bad, with 12 teams taking to the rail. For my first ever Friday (or Saturday, in this case) night race at T-Town, I'm not at all disappointed to finished behind four pro teams and a local powerhouse. My form is where I want it to be, and I feel like I'm just getting faster. And we made $150. Score!

Perhaps the most impressive thing about racing out here is how well T-Town takes care of it's riders. There's more than prize money that attracts top level riders out here. In my case alone, they've given me a place to live with some other riders, don't appear to be charging me any sort of rent, set me up with a group to train with, motorpaced me, gave us dinner after the rain out on Friday, and then an even better dinner after racing last night. It's a pretty awesome place to be. And while the racers all take it very seriously, they aren't nearly the nefarious, plotting, criminals that Lucy made them out to be when I came here for junior nationals a few years ago. In fact, they're pretty nice.

This morning I came out to Bethlehem and did a circuit race against my better judgement. I was tired and blown from all the madisons last night, and to top it off, it was pouring rain. But I started it up anyways, just to get some training in and do something different. The course was nothing particularly interesting, but I put in a ton of attacks. There was one team in particular that overwhelmed with numbers, but I chased down a handful of their attacks, spent plenty of time off the front, attacked on the last lap, was caught, recovered briefly, and still managed to take a top 10 finish. Not too bad, and I stayed upright in the rain. As seems to be the standard out here, they also gave me lunch after the race. Minnesota should really take up that trend.

Now it's time for some well earned rest and recovery. Maybe a movie and nap are in order. Next on the racing schedule is the Detroit 3-day. It would seem that they liked the way Luke and I rode last year, because when they changed the schedule, and I told them we wouldn't be able to make it, they said that they would give us host housing, give me travel money to drive out from T-Town, and fly Luke in from North Carolina. Awesome. Hopefully we can put on a good show again. I know I'm feeling much stronger than last year, and from what I hear, Luke is going well too. This should be fun.

Our home in Kutztown. It looks pretty nice from here...

Things are a little different inside. This picture is level. The stairs, considerably less so.

The window and a colorful sarong from Kate are pretty much the highlights of my room. There is a cable for hooking up a TV strung from corner to corner in the room, apparently for drying laundry on.

This large rodent (muskrat, probably) lives under the building, and is only scared of people to the extent that it's more convenient to not need to deal with us.

The view from one of the fire escapes, along with the creek that the building is apparently falling into.

Something is generally askew in Kutztown...

Yeah, nice try Kutztown. I'm onto you...