May 16, 2008
I have just finished an advanced rider training course. I have fitted some training wheels to my rear axle and maybe, just maybe, I will be able to keep those damn two wheels on the ground!
I, and the rest of the Jittery Joe's team, started off the Tour de Georgia in fine form. After trying to have a dig at the finish of stage one into Savannah, I just missed out on a top 10 and rolled in 11th. I felt it was an OK start; unfortunately, it all came to an end when I crashed the very next day as the tour rolled into Augusta. I managed to hit the deck at a reasonable speed with about 700m to go, took a bit of skin off the usual areas, shoulder, hip and elbow/arm, but was happily surprised not to have broken anything other than my helmet. I can assume that my head took the brunt of the crash, so from all accounts there were no real effects!
The rest of the Tour, for me personally, was to just about trying to make it through and help the other boys out when I could. I had a couple of days I would rather forget about, but I am pleased that the legs felt OK once I had had a few days rest.
The rest of the team put on a great showing, and I believe we were a little unlucky not to have made a few more breakaways. Every stage, the boys were up the front, attacking to try to get away in a small group. We didn't make the break every day but it was not due to a lack of trying! Willo ran a top 10 as did Jono. Matt, Jared, Evan and Sully all got into breaks at some point - maybe not the one that stuck, but they were all over it!
Neil managed to get up the road on the Brasstown Bald stage, attacked them towards the end and carried on solo, only to be caught before Brasstown itself. He picked up the most aggressive rider jersey of the day and took second overall in the KOM competition. It was a good showing from the boys and was great to be a part of it. I would also like to thank all the people who pushed me up Brasstown Bald and also for the fans that cheered for "Cody" or "Stevo". I did have a laugh when a guy who was giving me a push up Brasstown was telling me, "You can do it Willo, almost at the top Willo!"
So I took a few lazy days, riding to the coffee shop, sleeping and not doing much else. A few of us were staying around the southeast to do some crits. Jono and I were keen to race mid-week to open up the legs. It turned out to be a good idea as Jono ran second to Alex Candelario at the Uptown Greenwood Crit in South Carolina. I was feeling strong, but had no snap in the legs. At least I knew what I was to be in for in the coming weekends round of Crits in Anniston and Roswell.
In Anniston, 10 guys lapped the field with Evan [Elken] and Chad [Hartley] amongst them. It came down to a bunch sprint and the team took the front with 10 laps to go and put our two guys in the best position possible. Chad took fourth and Evan was sixth. The very next day, it was my turn to go up the road, managing to get in a four man break with Caleb Manion, Kyle Gritters and Ted King and lapping the field at the Roswell crit. The boys did an awesome job for me, taking control of the race and protecting me as much as possible. Unfortunately, Toyota got the jump on us coming into the last lap and took Manion trough the last corner in third wheel.
Jono [Cantwell] and I were in hot pursuit, but I could not make up the lost ground and ended up coming in second. It was a good showing, and we were all happy, but we obviously would have liked to win! Who wouldn't? We have had a pretty successful start to the season, and are really beginning to gel as a unit. We still have a few things to work on, and once that happens I think we will be able to turn the team's form into some wins.
I am looking forward to heading back to San Diego next week and tear into some solid training with an eye towards Philly week and the Tour de Beauce - the next set of races on the calender for the Jittery Joe's team. Maybe by then I can get my snap back.
Ok, I have to do my refresher course in the local car park so that the rider education officer can give me my permit and I can take these training wheels off!