This will be quick because work calls.
Thursday for Thanksgiving we went out to my dad's house. Lee cooked a yummy meal. Jake towered over his grandfather and Liam looked cute.
On Friday, Loren met up with some knitting friends while me and the boys shopped for new computers. That evening, against all my best intentions, we bought two new Mac laptops. Ugh.
On Saturday, Team Thompson & Sons p/b Squadra Coppi drove down to Charlottesville for the Virginia Championships which would be held on Sunday. We stayed at he Boar's Head Inn. As we were heading down there in early afternoon, there seemed to be unusual traffic and a lot of cars with Virginia Tech "flags" on their windows. Unbeknownst to us, Saturday was the Virginia v Virginia Tech football game, and it was in Charlottesville, so our ability to do much around town was pretty shot. We hung around the Inn grounds. A couple was taking a hot air balloon ride. It was cool to watch them inflate the balloon.
We took a quick drive over to Darden Towe Park to make sure we knew the way and to generally look at the course. It looked good, but Loren, who doesn't go to these things, said "it looks like someone is going to get hurt."
Sunday morning we headed over to the park. It was a beautiful, warm fall day. A bit windy.
In pre-ride the course seemed like it should suit me with lots of tight turns and short punchy climbs but I didn't feel super. Probably had too much to eat for dinner.
I got a decent start and I was doing ok, in the top 5-7, and right with a small group until mid-race when I cracked after trying to ride the run/ride hill one too many times. I had ridden it the prior laps while Chris Huhn ran it, but the ground was getting progressively more chewed up, and this time my wheels were spinning and I stalled near the top. I got to the top and expected to see 2 to go but the lap cards said 3 and I kind of went “ugh”.
I ended up 9th overall, really only losing 1 spot after my “ugh” moment but losing the ability to battle for a spot with the group of 2 or 3 I had been with. I was disappointed because Chris Huhn of Evo, who I was right with until my crack, got Bronze for the 45-49 after eliminating the NC resident and the 50+ guys like Fred Wittwer. I guess it was a case of “turn about” because last week at Rockburn I cracked Pete Lindeman by riding the sand when they were running and beat Chris Huhn (I think he had a bad day).
After my race, Jake and Liam lined up for the 15-18 and 10-14 races. Jake put up a valiant fight for 3rd but came up one short. 1st and 2nd went to 17 year olds who are Cat 2 on the road and/or expert MTB (Conner Bell and Chris Keeling; Connor Bell is super-fast, expert mountain bike racer, and Chris Keeling has ridden Wintergreen in something like sub 35-minutes, so like Joe Dombroski territory). I told Jake that in 3 years, he'll come out there and crush everyone too.
Jake was just beaten for 3rd by a 15 year old, Sam Winters, after a 2 man duel, basically because Sam was able to out run Jake on the big run up, making his move on the penultimate time up then holding Jake off the rest of the lap to the run up again. (random run up photo)
Here they are on Lap 2 when Sam had caught up to Jake.
And here they are on Lap 3. Jake is riding strong, but that's what he does, rides strong.
Sam made his move on the run up at the end of Lap 3, running by Jake.
Jake did beat Jake King, younger brother of US Pro Ben King, as well as a big contingent of other strong boys from the Miller School (he enjoyed seeing them again).
In the mean time, Liam was having a strong first lap Liam showed flashes of improvement but like dad suffered over the last half of the race. Here's video of him looking strong on the first lap.
It was a beautiful, if windy, day. And we had nice views driving home with the car loaded with bike wheels, three bikes on top, two bags full of riding gear, and a small bag for Loren's clothes.
Disappointing that we couldn't do more in Charlottesville. But it was nice that Loren could come.
Only 2 more weekends of races. Next Sunday is the classic at Lake Fairfax and then the Sunday after that it's the race to end all races. The battle of the century, as Jake and I both line up in the Cat 3 race at Luray to see who will reign supreme, the quick, wily veteran or the promising young star with the big engine. There can be no loser there because if he wins, I'm super proud and if I win, well, I'm a grown man beating up on a 14 year old "kid." Stay tuned for that one.
At the end of the season there will also be a big announcement about next year's racing plans.