Carl's Report: My race was scheduled to start at 12:30, roughly 45 minutes after Kristal's race should end. Although Kristal had asked me to leave the pit during the last lap of her race to warm up, I had told her that if she was in the lead I'd stay in there the whole race. There was no way I was not going to be in there while she was still racing! When she was on the second lap and extending her lead, I turned to our friend Paul and said "my warmup is going to suck".
After she passed pit 2 on her final lap, I headed over to the finish line to greet her and celebrate. Soon enough, the UCI chaperone arrived and you read about that part in her posting. Shortly after that, I headed into the warmup tent to try to get in at least 30 minutes on the trainer. Lisa was in there already, getting my bike set, and when I couldn't find an available trainer, she tracked one down for me. I got on the trainer and started to spin to open up my legs. By this time, Kristal had headed off to anti-doping, and I soon realized she had taken my numbers with her. I called her cell phone to try to solve this problem, and meanwhile realized my helmet was still in the ProBike Express tent. After a plan was set to try to get my numbers back to me, I put in an additional 5 minutes on the trainer (bringing my total to 15 minutes, instead of the hour I usually try to do) and headed to the tent to get my helmet.
Upon arriving there, I discovered that Kristal's race wheels had not been moved to my A bike, but instead it was still hanging from a rack as a bare frame, while Kristal's bike was leaned against the rack, complete with wheels, covered with frozen mud. I had 10 minutes until race time. Right then, Susan and Dierdre asked if I needed any help, and I asked them to move the wheels over to my bike and meet me at staging. Meanwhile, I grabbed my helmet and hustled to the volunteer tent, hoping to get my numbers. They hadn't arrived yet, so I hung outside, hoping to see someone heading over with them. Eventually, a volunteer showed up with what I recognized as our number and pins bag. I now had 5 minutes until start and they were making the first call to staging.
I ran into the warmup tent, hoping to see someone I knew. Harold and Greg were just heading over to take their place in staging and were kind enough to hold off and pin me up. I headed to staging, still without a bike. They started to call riders up, and shortly before my number came, my bike arrived. Other than having very little warmup, I was now ready to race!
I lined up behind 3 other Colorado riders, flying on adrenaline. At the gun, I shot off the line and had my best start of the year! I launched past other riders and got up as far as 20th place. Soon, the lack of warmup started to catch up to me in the form of fatigue and dead legs. With my bike weighed down by clinging, freezing mud, I headed into the pit on lap 2, hoping I had a pit bike in there and someone to hand it to me! Sure enough, I saw our friends Bob and Bill waving me in and executed the change. Unfortunately, my rear wheel was crooked in my pit bike, so I only had one gear that wouldn't skip. With my bike loading up with mud, and only one gear, I tried to pit a half lap later, but there was no one there--my bike wasn't ready yet. I rode to the end of the lane, then stopped to put a foot down, as the rules mandate.
For the remainder of the race, I pitted once per lap, each time trading off a bike that probably weighed 40-50lbs for one that was maybe only 20-30lbs. Bob and Bill were desperately pulling fistfuls of mud off of my bikes, but it was a losing battle. As fatigue set in further, I got a little clumsy and had a number of crashes that cost me more spots. Eventually, I finished in 37th place, pulled with one lap to go. Not a great result, but realistically, my race was just icing on the cake after Kristal's victory! I was happy enough with how I rode, and happy now to end the season on a good note.
I am very motivated for next year, especially with Nationals in Boulder, since I know the fields will be large and everyone will bring their A game. It will be a great challenge, and an opportunity to have a truly satisfying ride.