You know you've been away from a country for a while when you have to spend at least 15 minutes in the water aisle of the super market reading labels on water bottles? Water with vitamins! water with minerals! diet water!???? I have never seen so many different colored waters in my life let alone flavored water....another new concept for me is seeing people talking to themselves full on, out loud in the aisles.
I guess France is a tad behind on wearing earpieces...so despite getting sidetracked in the supermarket wonderland I managed to get some groceries while the boys rode, make a decent salad (I judge that by the fact that it was all eaten) - I've been relived of oatmeal duty as I over salted it the other day. We got the bikes loaded, had a team brief, and off we drove to Cannon Falls, Minnesota. Very cool little town, looks a tad like the wild west with the boardwalk type store fronts and surrounded by farms.
Anyway, a big turn around from yesterday's weather with sunny skies and big heat. My boys, as were the others, were ready to wage a full on race and I was about to discover what America's road racing scene is like. The race went off at 5pm for 65 miles throughout the rolling Minnesota farmland. The interesting thing in this race is the mix between the real amateurs - guys like mine who work full time- one of whom is working as I write this at 12:50am, others who rode to an internet café to work this morning, and they're keeping it in the mix with the 'pros' riding full time.
Had a first small incident when a rider flatted and I realized he had never motor paced before as we went through the process of getting back to the caravan....having asked a few riders afterward it was confirmed to me that you just dont get the chance in amateur racing here to motor pace behind a team car back into the caravan. I'm certain that the effort he put out today will help him in tomorrow's race. The next wee incident was on the right hand turn onto a dirt road with lots of loose gravel...one of my guys got gapped behind a crash...really too bad for him, as he was there and so close to the finish, but he'll bounce back again tomorrow I'm sure.
We had four boys finish in the peloton despite a last lap crash that, lucky for us, didn't bring any of ours down. I hope everyone is ok.
As you'll see from the photos I had various angles on my camera today - Mr Mustache (Tim Rugg) showing us his vneck t, the peloton from the caravan and the dirt road.
Next up we headed back to uptown Minneapolis, who just hosted one of the largest small children criteriums ever! 600 kids from 3-11 years took a lap on their various types of bikes from mountain, to BMX, to barbie with streamers, to sliders and training wheels! Each age category was called off and they rode a full lap for the 7-11 year olds and a shorter lap for the others, and they seemed to be having fun!
After the little kids the big kids went off and our boys had fun! Our neophyte runner turned biker -Stephen Mull - came back all excited because he sailed through the corners (despite playing pinball with one barrier) and he had fun! He was up there in the mix the entire race as were they all! Not much room for exposure for teams other than the dominating team (who do race in Europe and elsewhere against Div 1 teams), but the other teams there gave it a shot with guys from Jelly Belly, Exergy, Kelly and Bissell hitting the top 10 and our own MR MUSTACHE from the NATURE VALLEY PRO RIDE men's team pulling it off as 1st amateur once again! That moved him up to 3rd place on the amateur GC at only 35" down!
All of the boys had a tremendous ride managing to stay in the pack and keep an eye on Tim. They were all in great position with 5 laps to go when someone hit the deck in the front causing a major gap in the peloton....luckily no one lost time and everyone is safe and sound.
So, the race finished at around 9h30 pm, it's midnight now and were off at 8h30 to head towards tomorrow's 100 mile stage in Menomanie. Enjoy the photos of the kiddies race and somewhere in there is a photo of an improvised changing booth...
Thanks for reading, and see you tomorrow!