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The best race all year

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Trent Wilson and Jeff Hopkins

Trent Wilson and Jeff Hopkins (Image credit: Trent Wilson)
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A night out in the suits

A night out in the suits (Image credit: Trent Wilson)
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A day at the baseball.

A day at the baseball. (Image credit: Trent Wilson)

USA, July 26, 2006


I'd like to start of with something I thought was really funny after watching the Miss Universe pageant last night. Okay, okay there was nothing better on tele! Miss Australia went into the pageant as hot favorite but didn't even make the top 20. This was after she bared close to all for a magazine a week beforehand and got fined for it. Although she was not disqualified the judges didn't rate it and she was over-looked. Apart from being a typical hot Aussie I thought it was great that she went down like a true blue Aussie, it was either that or hit the cans a few hours before the shindig started. Keeping it real for the Aussies, no other country did that!

So last time I wrote I'd just come back from NYC. I had another two weeks at home in Nashie before heading to the Cascade tour to start the second part of the season. I had another easy week on the bike before getting back into the serious training the following week.

Hop and I had visitor in town, Andy "Cush" Yee. Cush was pretty damn excited as his usual yearly trip includes a fortnight in Europe with me, followed by a stint in the States with Hoppy. This year he only had to make the one trip. We had some good times with The Cush including a night out in the suits and a fourth of July celebration. For the suit night I headed to the op-shop to buy a 35-dollar three-piece, pin striped suit… Not bad I thought!

As for the fourth of July we celebrated it in Aussie style. We threw a barbie and put beer on ice and played cricket. Can you imagine the Yanks walking past seeing a game of cricket being played on their holiday! It was a great arvo and at one stage we had over 15 players on the field (I mean a park with obstacles in it - like ponds and swings). I had a bad run and got hit by a ball in the unmentionables, re-opened my knee while diving to make it home and cutting my hand while trying to open a beer. To make things even funnier, we hand-built the cricket bat. The handle was a carbon fibre seat post that I cracked during Philli week (but it was still usable for a bat) and a piece of four-by-two wood. We, or should I say, Cush, sanded it back and lacquered it while Hop and I went training each day. It ended up being a piece of art.

The next week, after Cush hit the road, I ripped into the kilometres and hoped to try and get enough form for the Cascade tour. I knew I wouldn't be on top of my game for this tour but needed the break.

The Cascade tour was actually a real shock to me, I had next to no form but finished ninth on GC. This was mainly due to the split in the cross wind on the first day, where there were six Health Net, six Navigators, six Toyota-United and me… I was slightly out-numbered and didn't have the legs at the end when we finished up a two-kilometre hilltop.

The next two days were once again hilltop finishes but this time they were both 15 kilometres long. The first day was no worries and I finished in the front group moving up to seventh on GC. The second day I lost a bit of time when the front group split with three kilometres to go but held my position on the GC.

The next day things started to go slightly pear shaped. I had the worst time trial ever, more so than normal. Then somehow pulled out a good criterium where I led Hop out and held on for fifth. Hoppy was second just behind JJ Haedo.

The last day though, the legs were toast and I held on for grim death while the Navigators versus Healthnet versus Toyota battle went on. All this while getting pushes off my faithful team mates Pete and Austin. While I was in the hurt box, my team mate Neil "Shirl" Shirly pulled off a stage win. He came back from a broken bone, sickness, a concussion at Philli to pull off a great win. You legend Shirl!

It was a great performance by the team and our best race all year I reckon. A stage win, a top ten on GC, not one break without us in it and a really aggressive ride by everyone. It's gotta be said though, those BMC riders need to head down to Ikea and buy a full size mirror and have a good hard look at themselves. It takes me a lot to crack but they saw more than just a crack after stepping over the line more than once. Though apparently its all about "team GC", no one cares boys!!!!

Next up Hoppy and I are heading to Gastown and Boise criteriums. Unfortunately we aren't doing Tour Toona seeing they won't let a pro team enter a day late but will put 120 amateurs in the race. So it'll be a bit of down time in Nashie for the boys.

Cheers Willo

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Trent "Willo" Wilson is in his second year with the Continental Pro team Colombia Selle Italia. Follow his progress and get a taste of Aussie humour as he lights up the road in Europe. Trent also his own web site at where you can find out even more about this Sydney rider.