USACRITS RACE #1: SpeedWeek

Crashes, lost bikes, call-ups and thirty thousand screams.

Three days of racing: Friday, Spartanburg; Saturday, Athens Twilight; Sunday, Commerce. Story from Georgia, 2018

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Are you here for “Twilight?”

For riders, the race is called “Athens”, the location, the specific streets that make it. But to those who live there, in Georgia, the race is known by it's time, “Twilight”—Perhaps, like "carnival" in Brazil, a telling acknowledgement to the illicit atmosphere of the day.  

It's bigger than just the race. Everyone knows it’s going on. Everyone knows you’re here from somewhere else to race it. For the weekend a city learns to spot the crit racer. The odd tan lines, the shaved legs, the funny small hats, the logo-ed shirt are all good tells to the barista, waitress, and police officer. “Yes. We’re here for Twilight.”

Hell yes, we are definitely here for Twilight.


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First, you must understand. Starting the series with Athens Twilight is like starting the NFL season with the Super Bowl. Founded in 1980 by Gene Dixon this race is considered the first twilight criterium in America, giving birth to the modern race form—something shorter, faster, louder, more dangerous and thrilling than Europe had ever even imagined with a bike. Gene’s visionary race was set not in the private of the wide open country, but instead set recklessly, insanely, right in the middle of downtown at night. The course wasn’t designed for safety or simplicity but for entertainment and challenge, with tight roads and sharp turns, beautiful buildings, and—importantly—nightlife not just near by, but on the course. It was a revelation instantly. It made the cityscape and the fans and the riders into one massive swarm of energy, super charging the experience. Now live music, play-by-play commentary, multi-lap prizes, motor sports influence, fan prizes became possible. It transformed everything about racing a bike and became the crit known around the world.

From the start, Athens Twilight drew in talent from all over the planet for those who wanted to understand what this style of racing was all about. Raw power and aggression and skill all became a premium, and a new genre of bike racer began to evolve: the crit dog. American sports hero, Jeff Pierce came to Athens, lapped the field and then went on just weeks later to be the first American to win on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. Gord Frasier, Davis Phinney, Hilton Clarke, and other exceptional speedmen have put their name on the winners list.

The race, for better or worse, creates an alchemy of suspended reality and lawlessness throughout the city that would make Spring Break blush. Through the years it’s gotten out of hand. The course has been lit on fire - actual flames - forcing racers to battle it out at 30 mph past buring hay bales stacked the corner typically for rider safety. Another year, the barriers gave way as a pitched fraternity party smashed on to the course mid-race. Fist-fights have broken out. There’s an endless stream of tales about phone numbers stuffed in riders jerseys and after party introductions made with short term intentions. It is youth and speed and beer and music and summer and glory and possibility pressed into a four corner, 1000 meter blender that will change your life if you have the guts to reach into the blades and grab a piece of the legend. It is a definitive experience in any crit racer’s lifespan that can separate everyone who ever gets on a bike into two distinct categories: those who have raced Athens and those who have not. 

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Athens Twilight is the signature race of SpeedWeek, a multi-day cumulative criterium stage race (Omnium) held every Spring for over a decade. Crit lovers will tell you it’s the true start of the race season. Athens itself is a prestigious title. But it is embedded in the larger drama of SpeedWeek even though it is the single day where points count toward the over all USACRITS season-long league battle. The league standings are our team focus.

SpeedWeek closing weekend features three amazing four-corner pure American style crits: Spartanburg, Athens, then Commerce. Although many of the courses of SpeedWeek change from year-to-year, a sister pairing of Spartanburg Friday and Athens Saturday has been the recent tradition. It creates an atmosphere of interrelated drama, where riders test out their form, team tactics, and nerve on Friday, clearly thinking about Saturday. Think: regular season and playoffs, back-to-back.


SPARTANBURG

Day 1: Friday


 Peter. Dialed into the flow.

Peter. Dialed into the flow.

 Shredding turn two. Eran Preble. 

Shredding turn two. Eran Preble. 

THE SCENE. 

The first serious twilight race of the year, Spartanburg is a swooping four left-hand turn, 1mile course through downtown. It basically does laps around the Denny’s headquarters. Slight dips in the course make it fun and flowing for racers, dark, intimate and sexy for fans. The opening two turns are wide open, sweeping, and allow riders to jockey for position into the drag race back stretch, only to squeeze together into the far tighter final two turns of the lap, complete with a dip down, and rise up to the finish line. Indeed, there’s a lovely F1 sense of speed to it, a crit lover’s crit. For many riders, this is actually their favorite, most likeable race of the week. The titanic foreboding presence of Athens (happening the next day), has the effect of both taking the pressure off this race and simultaneously super-charging the riders with a sense of reckless freedom, anticipation, and dare I say, positivity (Christmas eve!) resulting in hot-on-the-pedals racing—much like a training race series, something done for the spirit of competition, without the extra stakes, and therefore twice the daring.

The race is held in conjunction with a jazz festival and carnival, a true small town celebration. Hello, America! Everyone comes out to watch. There are planning committees, town politics, children, pets, bikers, wine moms, and the lot. Race watching has a slight polo club formality in this well-off secluded part of the state. Vibes are slightly Newport in the summer, slightly Faulkner, and somehow Andy Griffith. Is that the south, capital South? The course is lined inside and around the perimeter with rented “VIP” party pens, where families and social clubs host catered parties, do some grilling, and in general declare war on their livers and tap into a cheerfulness toward the world. Warming-up on the course and after the races, everyone reaches over the barriers for a hand-slap from the riders. After the race, wearing a sweat soaked kit, all one has to do is walk up to one of these temporary stalls of joy, sit down on the inevitable white folding chair and someone will bring a plate of food. You’ll talk racing, travel, the lifestyle (“No we don’t make much money”…“yes, all over the country”…”around 28-30mph”…) eat their food, drink their beer, share their humanity, soak in the cool southern night, look for your teammates, glow in the fatigue, let your spine melt. It’s good.

1:00pm—Where’s my bike!?! Peter arrived at the airport 8 hours before the race. His bike did not. With race time looming, we texted alternative strategies. Rent a bike? Borrow? Have it shipped from the airport? Eventually, Pete arrived. 60min before the start, bike in the trunk. Like an F1 pit crew, teammates built the bike, others helped him dress (let’s not explain that much further), pin up, put on the timing chip, get him a helmet that fits. Enough time to warm up. Kind of.   

7:00pm—As a team, our possessions consumed a solid 30-foot radius, shit scattered all around our caravan of rented cars. Coolers were open, trunks flipped up, bikes leaning all over. We blasted party rap (Cardi B, Meek Mill, A$AP Mob, Asher Roth) from car speakers, we mingled with other teams as riders rolled by to borrow some pins, maybe some creams, share snacks and gels. Community. With 40 minutes to go ‘til showtime, Pete rolled off to finally warm up. Not ideal. The rest of the boys—Eran, Chris, Nick, Steve—had taken a long warm-up ride, 90-minutes-plus to get the “dead leg” from plane travel out of the system. Travel is part of racing. The art of traveling smoothly is part of competing well. Every time you watch top level sport keep in mind that no one out there feels 100% perfect, they’ve all dealt with airports, car drives, hotels, it adds up.

8:00pm—For Nick and Steve this would be the next level, a true pro twilight crit, and their silent demeanor heading to race staging said everything. We all knew friends and family were watching the live stream at home, throwing watch parties even, eating pizza, hoping for us. Some parents pray for our safety. The pressure and pride were equal. We had teammates, dozens of teammates, watching us at home, wanting us to set an example, live up to their expectations, represent them. We all thought of them. We all thought of ourselves. We all tried not to think too much.

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THE RACE. CONTROVERSY AND CHAOS.

60 minutes into the race, 10 minutes to go, just about 10 laps remaining, the boys were hanging tough. Actually better. Peter was giving a master class on pocket riding--floating near the front, invisible, efficient. He has a reputation as one of the smoothest riders in the bunch. He talks about it like a monk. “It’s about controlling the spaces around you…signal your intentions and change other riders ambitions...” It’s a little trippy. But even for Peter, in the mayhem of closing laps, position battles can strike. On the dark, down-slope Turn 4, a crash inside the free lap cards takes down the front of the field sending a significant number of the top riders in the race, and the majority of the Holowesko team, into the barriers. Dozens of riders re -mount bikes, sliding in cleats, yelling and banging against each other, hustling to get back into the field motoring away from them. And then officials neutralize the race, moments later they stop it.

Next, follows a thirty-minute delay while they figureout how to restart the field. Who goes where? How many laps? For all its laws and regulations, cycling, like most sports officiating, is still a judgment call, with rules open to interpretation. It was an eternity. Fans started packing up. Riders got off their bikes. There was yelling. Debating. Arm waving. The riders in the crash would be disqualified? What? No! Then they would be let back in. What? Yes! Then they would have to chase back in. It was a courtroom drama. In the following days much crap-talking and finger pointing consumed the social media spheres. The choices of the officials definitely effected race results. For the few riders serious about over all SpeedWeek points, it was a real matter. For most everyone else, it blew over by lunch.


Positive Signals.

Maybe we can do this. The team finished in the mix. Everyone safe. Maybe Athens won’t kill us. The uncertainty of wondering whether we could compete at this level was partially answered. Maybe.


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Rider Report: Peter
“As I sat on wheels of Myerson and Holloway in the closing laps, a field neutralizing crash happened. Although I didn't go down, I still found myself in the pits to start 12 seconds down, with 5 laps to go. Upon restart, I immediately followed Holloway as we chased back to the field. As we moved up, his craftiness got through places I couldn’t believe and I lost contact. It was at 3 to go, and yet ANOTHER crash happened. It was at this point I burned a critical match to move up as far as I could in a strung out field. No result, but at least I was safe.”
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11:30pm­—Post race, critical details.

The team has no place to sleep. Well technically, they do, but due to a communication mix up (first year team: check), the host house address was lost. So, for a few brief hours following the race, all the boys were homeless. The only answer was to head to Waffle House and sort it out. Sure as shit, we bumped into the Canadian hour record holder, Ed Veal, and his crew (Real Deal Racing). Over bacon, waffles, and eggs, we caught up on track-racing , crits, and tried not to think about the two hours of driving that lay ahead. Or the fact that ultimately, we really didn’t know where we would end up. All we really wanted was the clean fresh bed of a lovely host family and some silence. Ahhh, host families. Hosts are this amazing phenomenon, where people, locals, will put up visiting athletes for special events…for free. Free and with joy, and usually good coffee and snacks! Marathons, surfing and cycling events seem to rely heavily on this style of community generosity. This would’ve been awesome, but on this Friday night, no one on the team could actually find the host housing. So, at 2am, after driving an infinite stretch of Highway I-85 South, arriving in Athens, struggling to navigate through town with our phones out, too tired to be pissed-off, everyone settled on a Days Inn and dispersed into a budget-denting $79.99 of sleep.



Athens Twilight

Day 2—Saturday


 The women's pro-field readies for action in the golden hour before the men's race. 

The women's pro-field readies for action in the golden hour before the men's race. 

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 Queens: Erica Allar and Sam Schneider. The battle of this generation.

Queens: Erica Allar and Sam Schneider. The battle of this generation.

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Even before the race got started.

10:00 am—As of Saturday morning, racing Athens didn’t seem possible for Spencer. Just 72 hours before this, Spencer was in his first pro SpeedWeek race, Walterboro, and lapped the field with nine other riders—including some of the biggest names in crit racing—only to smash a curb and go airborne over the barriers in a collision with fellow U23 talent Mike Hernandez. His bike was totaled. Not only the race over and a huge result evaporated, but now the weekend is unclear. Major achievement. Major disaster. Back-to-back. Hitting the ground at 28mph carved up the flesh of his elbows and legs. Sleep would suck. The body would ache.

The following few days, all while studying for finals in the hotel, Spencer rode on a borrowed bike two sizes too small in an attempt to stay loose. He missed Spartanburg because he was too uncertain to race on a teammate’s borrowed bike. Neutral support denied him the use of a pit bike. The team couldn’t mail a frame out in time. Phone calls. Bike shops. Emails. No bike. No Athens. That morning, the team, facing the first points battle of USACRITS, just lost a man from its starting line up. Saturday morning Spencer fought back the tears.

For Spencer, Athens loomed over the entire winter, a beacon that started burning for him in the cold of January showing the way forward through the winter miles that must be ridden. Starting in September 2017, balancing top-level studies in Material Science at Duke, Spencer adopted a kung fu monk lifestyle. Six hour rides in the the 43-degree rain. Indoor workouts on the rollers so hard he would lose vision. An existence honed to essentials. His body reduced to bone, muscle and will. Piles of salads. Cans of tuna. No caffeine. No alcohol. No girls. No late nights. No. No. No. Ride. Study. Repeat. Le métier. For a "vacation" he went to Florida and rode five hours a day in the sunshine, never happier. Preseason races showed good signs. Podiums. Long, hard break-aways, testing the will, hardening resolve. Then a win so impressive, people tweeted about it for a week. His mind, body, and you could say soul, were aligned. He was forging himself into a bike racer. Every choice of every day optimized for one thing: speed. Always though, he thought of Athens.

2:00pm—With six hours before race start time, the weight of the dream was too great, and he acquiesced to Steve Cullen's (and the team's) request he race his bike. Steve would sit out, to give the team and Spencer a better chance. Spencer, for reasons unknown, took convincing. It took each member of the team talking to him, telling him it was okay, we wanted it. He should do it, take the bike. Race. It’s what you are supposed to do. With the choice made, he grabbed a kit and hopped on bike, rolling off for a two-hour ride to get used to the fit and make adjustments. Okay, we thought, that’s a major player back on the field for us. But could he deliver the points after everything he’s been though? Like running a marathon in borrowed shoes, not ideal, but maybe the mountain of work he put in through the winter and sheer passion would see him through. (We all knew Spencer is no stranger to competition or heroics. As a national level youth swimmer, he once dislocated both shoulders during a swim meet and while underwater self-reset one arm and rescued himself.) Our doubts were gone the moment we watched him pedal out of the parking lot, the vision of perfect agility, fluid and relaxed like nothing wrong ever happened to him in his whole life, ever. Pure talent.  

8:00pm—In front of thirty thousand people waiting for the race, waiting to see the spectacle, already drunk, screaming, whistling, ready for something to yell at, a reason to let loose and be too much, the event MC, Chad Andrews, introduces the important riders to the crowd. These riders get to move to the start of the race, the front row. It’s called a “call-up.” It’s an honor. It’s hard to get. A racer has to earn a call-up through reputation and performance. Ask most crit racers what’s the one race of the year they would want a “call-up” and 99.9% would say Athens Twilight. In his first Twilight, riding on a bike that was not his, fresh wounds on his body, Spencer hears his name. A call-up.

 Front row. Where real estate prices are through the roof. 

Front row. Where real estate prices are through the roof. 

THE RACE

A quarter of the athletes don’t last the opening 20 minutes of tonight’s race. They crash in the tight turns, they are left behind unable to hold pace through the relentless drives up Washington Street and down through the home straight. Touch the breaks too much, you go back. Miss a gear, you go back. Back off a moment too soon, you go back. Strong riders, top notch athletes, tough characters are just simply beaten up and spit out by the race. Race membership declined. Control, alt, delete. One-by-one the dropped riders stand on the sidewalk breathing in heaves and unsure if there is anything to say. Then Holowesko goes to work.

Holowesko is the heavy artillery in the fight. A Pro-Conti team with last year’s defending champion, “Big” John Murphy, looming in the field. They have resources, a team bus, an international race schedule, a squad full of riders with lots of “Ws” on their resumes. They are personally backed by George Hincapie, but he might as well be Darth Vader. They are the dark and shadowy Imperial Force with unfair advantage and bristling firepower. They don’t mingle with other teams. They don’t post funny Instagrams. They are never at the after party. They come to dominate, rack wins, and move on. They are in unequal parts feared, respected, admired and hated. In personal judgment that a team like this inevitably sparks in competitors, one might leave the window open that all of them could be really nice guys at heart. But you never even suspect for a second that you have much in common. They are making the race. Most everyone else is just riding in it.

Holowesko attacks bomb off the front, one after the other, forcing extreme chase efforts, each move a race winning threat. Each move draining energy. The aggression is so severe that Clif Bar sacrifices riders to the DNF graveyard in a desperate attempt to keep control of the racing. But it’s merely ordered chaos, like a full frontal bugle charge from a superior cavalry, and finally after 14 laps of action, two riders slip away. Holowesko’s Bryan Gomez and local hero, EDS’s Frank Travieso, are gone, up the road, rear view mirror unnecessary. It’s then the chant started on the backstretch, at the top of the Washington street rise, under the jumbotron.

 

Frank. The. Tank.

 

Hundreds of heads turned to look down the hill, into Turn 2, to hope for what would come from the darkness. A pause as the field passes. The race is on the other side of the course, and eyes shift back to the jumbotron to watch the action, then down the hill, to the turn. Thousands of fans are somehow more quite than before.

From the darkness comes the green kit of Frank Travieso. The yells fill the sky. Frank is away, riding fluidly with Gomez still. They have a solid gap. It is, it feels like, a race winning move. The chant, now with many dozens more: Frank. The. Tank.

He rides, gripping the bars hunched in aero profile with an expression showing pain and effort. The duo power over the Washington rise. The field is just moments away but not gaining. The gap grows quickly. The chant, now hundreds strong. The sound of hope. The sound of love. The sound, too, for sure, of reckless joy and beer and summer release. This night, he is all of it, for all the city. Frank, away up the road, pedals with a thousand legs, a thousand hearts. 

When it comes to bike racing, Spanish-speaking, 13-year transplant, Travieso, is the adopted son of Georgia and Athens Twilight is his homecoming (he’s even married to the race manager, Ashley, for chrissake). Athletically built, as much shaped like a halfback, or middleweight boxer, he seems to overpower his machine with muscle unsuited for the demands of bike racing. His sprint is feared, but it’s not his only weapon. Frank is the new generation of the old generation of riders who defy age and smash watts. Though perhaps it’s unfair to age Frank too much. He’s more grown-ass-man than old-ass-man. But let’s be clear, fast at 38 is real. And even though it seems like the sport is all kids, the winners are always men, and the veteran men are very hard to kill. They know just what it take to win and never take themselves out of a fight.

 

Frank. The. Tank.

 F.T.T. 2018

F.T.T. 2018

Riders, spent and hurting, are either out of position from the speed or just physically incapable of doing anything about the two men riding away. It takes a special athlete to have hope in these moments. In a last ditch effort from the USACrits over all hopefuls Team Clif Bar, Kevin Mullervy sets out after Frank and Bryan. Now or never. Hungry to defend his title John Murphy instantly drafts in on his wheel betting on a reduced effort tow up to his teammate. It’s Holowesko in control of all aspects. Clinical.

Kevin gives everything, refusing to downshift or sacrifice an ounce of power, lap-by-lap, meter-by-meter, he crosses the infinite darkness of road and wind between himself and the two riders ahead, all with his worst nightmare riding behind him. Within a few minutes it is clear Mulurvy and Murphy will link up with Traviesos and Gomez resetting the race with the two most powerful teams in control. Kevin has made a desperate choice. Taking Murphy across to the break gives Holowesko an advantage in numbers, but also puts Kevin’s team, Clif Bar in the best move of the day. There’s a down side even worse than taking on the uneven breakaway: Kevin is now versus three intimidating sprinters and thus virtually assures Team Clif Bar two things: 1. They’ll lap the field and earn valuable series points, and 2. They will lose the race.

With nearly all hope of victory gone for those not in this move, Texas Road House captain Dan Holloway gets on the front, grinding the bike forward encouraging a chase, putting up a resistance to the death grip of Holowesko. A past winner of Athens, and perhaps the most winning crit racer on the circuit, he sees it slipping away and pours himself into the effort. Teammates join him but it doesn’t matter. The four will lap the field. Places five through twenty will still be up for glory and teams will resume racing as if it were all anew. Series battle is still on. The final ten laps will be what they always are. The lap cards in single digits will breath life back into men nearly dead on the saddle. When the bell rings 1 to go, the top ten places will already be decided. The speeds will top 40mph. Instinct and courage will be the only currency left.  

 Turn 1: The Old Georgia Theater has hosted jazz and alt rock ledgends for over half a century.

Turn 1: The Old Georgia Theater has hosted jazz and alt rock ledgends for over half a century.


Our boys in the thick.

Peter, Spencer, Eran, Chris, Nick and Steven. Heading into the final 10 laps it was clear we would be capable of putting four riders into top 50 scoring positions. 8 to go. The biggest points are for top 20 and Peter and Spencer were there. 5 to go. The race is single file, one long dragon tail with little chance to move up even if the legs were strong. 2 to go. A crowd rushes to the finish line. All eyes turn to the massive screens above. The live DJ music is deafening. Chad Andrews voice can bearly form cohesive words. 1 to go. A lot can still happen in the closing minutes of this race. C’mon boys. Ride, ride, ride.  


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Rider Report | Peter Olejniczak
 

“Athens Twilight Criterium, is one of the oldest, and certainly most legendary criteriums in the country. Speed is important, so in preparation of this race, I made sure I had good snap. I trained through a lot of Tabata intervals on the trainer…Money for Crit Racing. The 4 corner course, had a small 6-8% pitch on the back side, with long and wide open downhill, around the final 2 corners, pitches back up to a false flat, and then into a small decline that brought racers back up to speed. With the inadvertent help of the riders ahead of me, I was able to slingshot around people and move up on the declines without pedaling, often times not having to put power down between the final corners. The key to this is to recognize when the field is compressing or bunching up, if it’s strung out, you won’t make up much ground. Throughout the race, especially toward the end, teammates Spencer and Eran were well positioned.
I find the best tactic is to use each other as reference points, jockeying for position to push each other forward, and of course communicate word of encouragement. As the race picked up, it turned single file and I was able to ride confidently, tucked in top 20 knowing my fitness was dialed in, that Spencer up there with me to share the wind, but also to utilize the "respect" dynamic and ride next to each other uninterrupted. Ended up with a very solid result.”

Rider Report | Eran Preble

“Crit racing in the US is, for lack of a better word, diverse. When I had to explain to a friend that last weekend I was in Georgia racing a crit, in a downtown area, at night, in front of a crowd of thousands with a large purse on the line, it didn't make much sense to them. 
People come to watch you race? Why would you race at night that sounds dangerous? I thought you just went in circles around a parking lot and the winner got some new tires. 
Athens is in every sense of the word the paramount of crit racing in the US. I've spent years dipping my toes in the big races. USACRITS, PRT, UCI and NCC races all across the Northeast peppered my race resume but I'd never made the journey south to the big one. I thought West Chester was as big and boozy as a bike race got and I'm so thankful to say I was mistaken.
By 8pm we were jostling to win the race before the race, staging in a 150 person field on a 1km crit course is critical. At 8:40pm Spencer got called to the front row and 5 minutes later we were underway. Initially, I didn't understood the design of the team kit but flying around in camo with white bellies on Vie13 speedsuits, looking like a panda bear on a weekend hunting trip, it was clear we stood out. 
For 40 minutes things were pinned down, Spencer near the top 20, Pete close behind, myself and Chris floating 50-60 spots back from there. We were starting to get in the groove: try not to brake in Turn 1 and 2, smash it up the hill , super tuck into turn 3 and run it wide and sprint out of 4. At 25 to go something strange happened, for the first time in 2 nights, nearly 2hrs of racing, the field lulled. Spencer sat on the front of the field, a Cat 2 on a borrowed bike, Pete and I swarmed to the top 10. For a moment there my DMs blew up, screenshots of the Bad News Panda Bears sitting on the front of the Athens field. For 5 laps we raced aggressively, rolled with some attacks and showed the colors. 
Around 15laps to go the big guns took over. Holowesko started to wind it up and we did our best to hold position and get ready for a field sprint and a chance to place well. Prize money and USAcrits points were on the line as the field sped up and things began to string out and explode. I gave it full effort from 10 to go following a couple of Seasucker riders in an attempt to move to the top 20. By 3 to go it was clear I had over extended, things turned blurry and I started to slip back. In the end 42nd and a measly sprint was all I could muster.
Chugging beers with fans, collapsing on the pavement and staring into space not sure which way is up followed. Pizza, beer and cycling nerd banter finished off our night…what occurred and what could have been. I had finished my first Athens twilight and I was already thinking about next year.”

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Athens was the event I first heard about when a fellow rider was trying to sell me on racing bikes. Five years later, on the start line, with thousands of drunk fans screaming and spilling beer, I definitely had a moment - it sure as hell lived up to the hype.
— nick Bruskewitz

Rider report | Chris "Go-Go" Gougen

"My experience to race in the elite field this year was incredible. The first big battle was getting a good staging spot with all 140 eager pro riders. Started off super well in a top 30 spot on the first 10 laps. As things settled down, I figured tail gunning would be the best spot. I learned a lot about efficiently tail gunning durning SpeedWeek. Finished the whole race and placed a top 50 in the crazy field full of watts. It was very humbling to race in front of thousands of spectators under the lights. It sure was a big jump up from cat 2 racing back in 2017. This event now has a big place in my heart."  

11:00 p.m.


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Little Italy, just off Turn 1, is the post race choice. We arrive with Team Clif Bar. The sidewalks are humming with Saturday night downtown energy. Post race the boys are drained and filled simultaneously, light with a void left by the pressure of Athens, the cleanse of physical effort, keen with confidence of good performances. Public yelling and debauchery, bad language, congratulating, shoulder slapping, and relentless personal insults are the obvious course of action. For all, there is a restructuring of time only possible the night after Athens: The old feel a bit younger and the young feel a bit older.

2018 Topics discussed: Magic Mike’s; if the person try’n to sell us cocaine was legitimately in possession of cocaine. Spencer’s fake DJ career (he’s not);  if the drunk couple yelling the street would leave together (they did…to crowd cheers); what races were coming up next; the oddity of sitting in the exact same place doing the exact same thing on the exact same day every year (eating pizza at Little Italy in Athens) was satisfying or unsettling; what the hardest part of the race was; how to tell the Mullurvey twins  apart; if Holowesko would keep the title; how we all know each other; what tattoos each of us should get. Beer of choice is Terrapin, of course. And the most fierce race of the night was for the Pizza.  A pie never lasted more than 2 minutes.


STANDINGS AFTER RACE #1


 Spencer enjoys a well earned post race "Slap Lap"

Spencer enjoys a well earned post race "Slap Lap"

 

The Boys

13th Peter | 26th Spencer | 42nd Eran | 55th Chris | 108th Nick | 128th Steve

 

Team Standings

915pts  Holowesko | Citadel | Arapahoe

615pts  Team Clif Bar

467pts  Texas Roadhouse

463pts  ButcherBox Cycling

372pts  Palmetto State Medical Elite Cycling Team

294pts  First Internet Bank Cycling

275pts  Support Clean Sport / Guttenplan Coaching

254pts  Levine Law Group p/b Huseby

060pts  Aevolo Pro Cycling



race #2 live: Saturday, May 26th

Winston-Salem Classic

usacritstv./ref/butcherbox

All proceeds go to support the teams


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Fasturdays Racing