Karel didn't expect anything for this race except for to finish and to assess his training. Last weekend he did a road race and after 2 of 7 loops, there was a big crash and Karel was caught in the mix (as was his bike). Because his bike was on the bottom of a pile of bikes, lots of the guys didn't finish. So, this weekend, in Gainseville, was just to loosen out the legs and to have the team race together.
After my cold, 8 mile morning run + 2 campy miles and 45 min easy spin on the trainer, I put on the compression socks, prepared our food for the trip (PB, J and apples anyone??), grabbed Campy's sweater and at 1pm we were off.
The race started at 4pm (60 min crit) and we arrived just before 3pm.
Karel warmed up on the trainer and Campy explored downtown Gainseville (very cute area). Campy said hello to all the little dogs and showed his "small dog syndrome" to the big ones.
During his warm-up, Karel was greeted by a young Czech cyclist, which was the cutest thing ever. I guess Karel knows his older brother and when Karel was talking to the older Czech cyclist, the young czech kid was super excited that someone could talk Czech with him. I couldn't understand a thing but Karel told me that the little kid told him all about his race and how he got started with cycling. Very cute.
The race course was very spectator friendly with the HOT corner on a cobblestone section of the course. Crit's are less than 1 mile in distance (typically a loop but some can have more than 4 corners) so they are very fun to watch...scary at times, but fun. They just go so fast.
There was a 1 man breakaway and the 2nd chase pack (when there was one) never held on. The group of 50-60 riders got smaller and smaller as the race went on and I think there was only 1 crash w/ only 1 rider. Karel looked really good and just played around in the group moving from the front, to chasing people down to moving to the back. All of the guys worked really well together and it was great to see them all out there.
Karel's strength is sprinting and I knew he had it in him for a great finish. He has been training super hard in the gym w/ his plyometrics and weights and he really works hard on the bike. I have no idea how he does it all but if his training is any indication of how passionate he is about bikes, he is just amazing when it comes to being the general manager of the Trek Store. I'd like to say that he is fueled by Marni's creations but I have a feeling I can't take full credit for his dedication and hard work :)
Well, the finish wasn't what he expected. Bummer. Karel and the other Pro 1,2 riders were racing for 2nd place and as he started springing up hill towards the finish, his chain slipped completely off the chain ring. He has no idea how is happened because he didn't even shift gears. I guess he just had too much power :)
Karel ended up 13th and based on how hard he worked out this morning, he is really hoping that race #3 this weekend in Dade City (RR on sat and crit on Sun) will be a good race.
Bike racing isn't like other sports. I've learned a lot since meeting Karel in 2006 and after watching lots of races (and racing in a few RR's) I can say that I've seen everything in a cycling race. It just comes with the sport, I guess. Some days you finish, some days you don't. Karel joked at the end of the race that he is going to fire his bike mechanic (hehe-Is that possible to fire yourself?) and with a smile on his face and his other teammates around, I think they were all happy with how things turned out.
Enjoy the pics!