Time to catch up. Things have been crazy the last few days.
Day 5 at Forest City started to pick up the pace in the madison, and had attacks being thrown left and right in the madisons. In the end, the status quo was maintained, and the leader board didn't shift much: Ontario held onto their lead, and Garnett and I widened our gap on Quebec by a few points.
Day 6 was where the shake ups happened. In the first madison, after the first príme sprint, we attacked the gapped Quebec team. A little bit of conservation in the sprint paid off, as Garnett and I drove the attack all the way around, and while we had to pull Ontario with us, we cracked Quebec, putting them down a lap. After the intermediate sprints, we did it again. They were done. We passed the 100 point barrier, putting them down another lap. By the time the first madison was finished, we suddenly had a 3 lap lead on third place, and they were needing to start fighting off challenges from Delhi, who had been trying to take back the laps they lost earlier, and a complacent field had let them, not feeling threatened. Suddenly the found themselves on even footing with Quebec.
Things were pretty standard in the miss-and-out, and I took second to Daniele (again!). Life got exciting again in the final madison, when with about 5 minutes left to race, I threw Garnett into the race, and the tire rolled off my rear wheel. It rotated around, and since it didn't blow out, jammed between the side of the rim and my right chainstay. This locked up my rear wheel, and sent me skidding from the finish line on the homestretch all the way through turn 1. Fishtailing like crazy, I somehow managed to keep it upright through the 50 degree banking before coming to a rest on the apron and tipping over rather gently. All in all, about a 40 meter skid, from 40 km/h to 0. I took a little of the blue band with on my rim, and left a nice track of rubber on the track. Kind of like my way of saying "Brian was here.'
Rob gave me his bike to get back into the race, but it was a bit too small, with a small gear, and I was terrified to ride it, so after doing one tenuous pull, told Garnett to finish off on his own. We managed to not lose a lap, and finished off the 6-day in second overall. I was pretty pleased.
That night I tore down my bikes, packed things up, glued a tire onto my Zipp, slept briefly, glued a tire onto my Cane Creek wheel, and headed off to the airport in Buffalo. Flew to Chicago, met up with Adrian, flew to Amsterdam, got picked up by Butterworth, and learned at breakfast that he had signed us up for a race that night. Awesome, Adrian and I both felt like death, and now we had to build our bikes, try to rest and rehydrate, and then jump into a race.
We headed to the Alkmaar velodrome, loosened up a bit, got lunch, checked into a hostel, and went back for the race. Suffice to day, I was happy with my not-quite-last place in the first couple of races, as was Adrian in his early races, and we were mercifully placed in the "B" madison at the end of the night. At this point we were coming around a little, and scraped together a second place finish among 10 teams (the lowest 10 placed teams after the initial individual races, but we won't linger on that). We came away pretty satisfied, for our first ride together, and considering the circumstances, it wasn't too shabby.
Time to go back to the track. Happy Halloween!