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DaveB 2012For the most part my racing season is over and it is time to take a break and then build for the fall TTs and for next year. As I was riding easy this week lots of thoughts were running through my mind. I thought of many positive memories over the years. Most centered around friends, family, faith, and teammates.  Here is one favorite memory that I thought our teammates might enjoy reading.

The Olympic Velodrome in Carson once sat where the Home Depot Center Soccer Stadium is today. There is a now a new 250 meter indoor track nearby.  The Olympic Velodrome was a 333.3 meter concrete outdoor velodrome. Dave B and I spent one memorable season racing on that track. I believe it was the 1998 season. Dave and I participated in all of the weekly training races that season at the velodrome.


We were a very good team. Dave was very fit that year. He could ride on the front for what seemed to be forever. While not being a pure sprinter, Dave was able to wind it up to a very high speed and hold it for a long time.


As World Champ Kenny F would say, I was a dedicated "sit on" sprinter at the time. Others used less complementary adjectives before the word sprinter.


I wasn't riding much that year, as I had a new job and was starting to coach my kids' little league and basketball teams, so I had to rely entirely on the sprint to have any success. I had to be at the front (on someone else's wheel, of course) with 200 or less meters to go to have a chance.


So that was how we raced. Most of the races were shorter events, so with about three or four laps to go, Dave would look back at me and ask, "Eddie are you ready?" and then he would start the lead out. I did not have to do anything but sit on Dave's wheel as he went to the front, took the pole position, and then wound it out to nearly 35 mph. My job was easy. I just had to sit there waiting to go, then with 2 corners or so to go I would jump clear for the line.


For the longer events, the plan was for Dave to start attacking to get away by himself, or with one or two others that he could handle in the sprint. My job was to cover any chasers and thank them out loud for helping to bring me up to my lead out man. They never did.


It was pretty surgical. Until the last race of the season that is the way it went. Between us we had won all of the scratch races.
As the season wore on, the other racers were getting pretty tired of the results. They started calling Dave "the horse" because he was fast and did all of the work for us. I was just the "&%#@&%" sprinter. During each race we started hearing them talk, even between teams, "There he goes" and then, there he went.


Dave used to laugh in between races as the other racers consulted their paid coaches, checked their bikes for the right number of teeth on the rear cogs, laid down on their air mattresses under covers to stay warm, or rode their rollers.


He would say with a chuckle as I sat there asphyxiated from the last sprint, "If these guys only knew that you don't even ride your bike! What, are you doing 30-35 miles per week?" I would try to reply, but mostly had to sit there with a silly grin on my face while I tried to recover before the next race.


We had no idea what we were doing (what is a coach?). I think between us we may have had one spare cog and a Crescent wrench. We would scrounge up some old bent sheet metal folding chairs or sit down on the cement infield. By the way, who ever heard of warming up for races? We just rode.


What we did have was a very on-form Dave.


On the last day of the season, we came out prepared as always to do our thing. On that day something was different. Everywhere Dave went on the track during the race there were five or six riders all around him. It became apparent that all of the other teams, the Simply Fit guys, the La Habra guys, the Veloces, the independents, they all had agreed to not let us race. For lap after lap Dave tried to get away from them, moving up and down the track, but they had him pinned in on all sides, front and back and sides. No one went off the front. All were focused on not letting us win this last race.


Four laps to go, then three, still nothing doing. With two laps to go Dave said to me "Ed, I just can't get free."
Something had to be done, so I went high on the track and yelled "I'll go!" and I shot off of the front.


That move blew the group apart. The "&%#@&%" sprinter who has won all of the shorter scratch races that season is off the front with two laps to go. The others all panicked.


Of course only Dave knew that I had no form, just a sprint. He knew that there was no way I could hold that speed to the end. Dave knew he had to get to me, so in the confusion he sprinted away from the group and somehow with one lap left I heard Dave say to me "I'm here!"


Normally I would just let Dave through and take my spot for the sprint, but it was too late and I didn't have confidence that I still had the legs, so I said, "I'll lead you out." It was a risky move, but it was all we had.


I just jumped as hard and as fast as I could. Even though Dave is not a pure sprinter, he can wind it up to  a very high speed, and since he did not have to work the entire race he was able to wind it up in my slipstream. As we came around the last corner, out of my side vision I could see Dave coming by me and the other sprinters starting to come up alongside him.


It was going to be desperately close.


As we all came across the line I could see Dave smile back at me as he knew that he crossed the line first. It turned out to be by about the width of a tire, but we had completed a clean sweep for Canyon Velo on the scratch races that year.


It was a fun ride home from the velodrome that night! That was a great race and it remains my favorite race story. Here I am 14 years later still talking about it.

 

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