Sunday, August 17, 2008

Downers Grove - National Criterium

What a totally fun weekend! Meeting Theresa, Janann, Cat, Dan Schmatz and family, and Tony Cruz was just a blast. Seeing Brad and Jelly Belly and of course seeing C again were true treats. Today started off again with a work out but this time with me being super tired from Saturday. Once done I headed up to get the girls and it was off to the race for another great weather day.

Tony Cruz was nice as could be to all who stopped to say hello.

I had gotten a pic of T and Brad on Saturday and sent it off to be printed as an 8x10. Janann and I disappeared for a bit so we could have Brad sign it for her to surprise her with it later. It worked out great and she loved it. Brad was even a sport and signed her smaller one I gave her when she saw him later. Thanks Brad! I also dropped off some cookies and bars for the guys so hopefully they enjoyed them after the race.

While we were doing our sneaky work, John and C showed up. It was great seeing C and being able to congratulate him on such a great year so far in person. I often wonder how loaded down his blackberry gets as I know I send my share of good lucks and congrats. C put together his bike and then hung out low key with the Jelly Belly guys. When Janann and I got back T was sure we had to run into someone as we were gone for quite some time. When I told her it was C she was not happy with us. I told her to go say hi before the race as I was pretty sure it would be hectic once people knew he was there. Off they went.

When they come back I hear how she saw Danny Van Haute and then realized that C was in the car and she screamed his name. I was sort of hoping it wasn't quite like that but it turns out it was. C is great and I'm hoping the fun wasn't too much in his laying low before the start. When I wave hi and go to talk to Bobby, they tell me he was the one who took their picture with C. I think Janann and I are going to be enjoying some laughs for years to come on the weekend's fun. Huge thanks to C, John, and Bobby for their sweetness in helping T in meeting one of her favorite riders.

Janann, C, and Theresa.

When Janann and I went to put the pictures and some goodies in the car, I ran into Harriet and Grandma Mary Vandevelde. It was great to see them again. Val and Harriet were at Elk Grove and I love talking to them. Mary looks great and sometimes its pretty easy to see why they all call her Hamster. That girl is just always moving! :-) When the race started she wanted to see C so I told her to go up to the front. It's great how big men will quickly and smoothly make room for grandma to get a picture of her grandson!

Harriet and Grandma Mary Vandevelde.

The race got ready to start and several riders got calls up before the start. Brad, Tony Cruz, and Christian just to name a few. C got huge cheers from the crowds and it was great. Even if some of the riders think little of him being there, the fans loved seeing him and I'm thrilled he did the race to connect with so many that followed him. I still find it mind boggling that they use Boulder as his home though. C's not there anymore and hasn't been for quite a while.

Brad smiling waiting for the start of the race.

The race started and it had some odd laps with speed and the pack seemed like they were in warm-up mode. Several times riders tried to get off the front. We were cheering on Bernard Van Ulden as he got away for some laps from the break he was in. There was a nasty crash right near the Mavic tent that left some serious road rash on a couple of the guys. There was a slow down at one point and we weren't sure if it was for others to get on or if something was going on in the pack.

Breakaway is formed with Bernard included.

Janann and I walked around to get out of the sun for a bit and to get some water. As we head back I stopped and said hi to the Vandevelde family and then we get treated to watching C fly off the front and he got a nice gap. I think he was out front for 5-6 laps and it was fun and exciting hearing the crowd cheer him on. A few people were talking about him winning it and they looked at me funny when I said he looked to be doing it for fun and he'd stay totally clear of the sprint at the end. No way he'd risk that. And he did. He likes to liven things up and crits are not his racing but it truly was fun to watch him take off and get the sizable gap.

C flies off the front for several laps getting loads of cheers from the fans.

It was interesting watching the pack too through out the race as different riders were talking to each other. Guys would move up and then you'd see them further back saving some energy talking with others. By the end the pack was together and it was flying. Being further down we couldn't see the lead into the finish. I hope for some more info on Brad's pedal. I was wishing him a great race this weekend as his form is back and I wished he could get the jersey back. Sounds like a mechanical but not sure on any details. Hope all is okay Brad!

Thanks to all the riders for giving us great races to watch this weekend.
VeloNews has a small write up. CyclingNews has small write ups on both days of races. Hopefully the Downers Grove Cycling site will have results up as well. Check out my small blip I put up at Podium Cafe with some pics of the races too.

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