May 30, 2007
Well I could tell you about some bike races that I did over the past few weeks, but I had a few mechanicals and I would just be whinging. Anyway, you all know how they work by now. We all chase each other over the country side, putting ourselves through rain, sun and wind to cross the line first to the accolades of five people, two dogs, the occasional stray cat and of course the $20 winners cheque!
What you may not always realise is the amount of Van time that every US based rider goes through. I will give you a quick run down of the last two weeks or so. Keep in mind that no speed zones were exceeded, no animals were harmed and everything was performed by a professional on a closed road environment.
Athens, Georgia. Hit the 85 or 95, whatever....I am asleep by this stage. Got to some town in South Carolina five hours later. Race my bike.
Drive to some other town in South Carolina, check out the coast line, race my bike.
Go back to Athens. Head across to Alabama, go past Talladega Speedway, and do some 'shake and bake' with Ricky Bobby, speak a little bit slower, and hang out with Walker and Texas Ranger. Race my bike.
Head to Nashville. Drink a beer. Ride my bike. Play golf.
Drive to Arkansas, picking out the Dairy Queen restaurant (if you could call it that!), so we can get a Kit Kat Blizzard and 1400 glorious calories on our return trip. Race bike for three days, and eat at the same place every night, ordering the same thing whilst getting 10 refills of the one sprite that you ordered. Super size me up!
Drive back to Nashville, missing every Dairy Queen on the way home as we strategise our pit stops to coincide with black flags and lapped traffic forcing us to make an unplanned gas top up, which in turn made us arrive at 10 minutes past 10 in the evening... Dairy Queen closed. By this stage, DQ was the only thing holding us together.
Feeling helpless and my back is aching from driving a six-speed supercharged mini half way across the US of A. I try to stop, but to no avail, I am consumed by a drive thru. Banks, liquor, food, gas, coffee, dry cleaners.
I begin contemplating withdrawing money, getting a six pack and a Big Mac, washing it down with a 20 ounce double mocha decaf skim soy latte mochaccino with extra whipped cream... then getting my clothes cleaned after I regurgitate the aforementioned cocktail.
All the while I can stay in the comfy confines of my six wheel Dodge that guzzles $3.20 per gallon gas like it's going out of fashion. I quickly snap out of it and concentrate on the road ahead, and shake my head at how cheap in comparison the petrol is and how "unfair and expensive" so many deem it to be.
Nashville. Home. For five days at least. Ride bike. Willo [Trent Wilson] gives me a new nickname, 'Stevo'. Apparently Stevo is a good guy. Hoppy [Jeff Hopkins] concurs.
Drive back to Athens. Unpack bag (oh who am I kidding), take out dirty clothes, clean them, repack bag. Ride bike. Hit the 85 or 95, I dunno.
Raleigh, North Carolina. Settle into host housing. Meet our host. Tell him where I live: "Oh just a really small place, Wentworth Falls, you wouldn't know it." Reply: "Oh yeah that's up in them Blue Mountains, I've been to Bathurst for work. I know the place." Small world. Ride my bike.
That pretty much brings you up to the point were I am at right now. I race tonight in Raleigh, then Somerville, New Jersey on Monday then back down to Arlington, Virginia then up to Philly week; Reading, Lancaster and Philly. Then I get to fly back to Athens. Fly? What's that? Me and the Van have come to an understanding, but I'll be happy to leave her behind for the 18 hour drive.