Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Race Across America 2010, Chapter 14

I awoke in a parking lot outside of Collinsville, IN...Team doc2doc pulled in beside us. We were staging racers from the same location! (it was a pretty big parking lot) We decided to do our exchange at the stop sign at the right turn onto Hwy 73/127. Stop signs are great places to do an exchange as you have to stop anyway. As we got bikes ready, we noticed that doc2doc was doing the same thing, but they were pointing their rider down the wrong road (there was a hard right and a soft right). Do you say something? We decided not to...each team has to ride their own race and it wasn't our responsibility to interfere.

Their rider showed up first, started down the wrong street and came back a couple minutes later. We had gained a few minutes on them. Willie showed up about 10 minutes later, and I continued on...down the correct road! The traffic was bad, but fortunately my van caught up with me quickly or I would have gone the wrong way! I continued on through the rolling hills into Trenton, which won the award for the worst roads I had experienced the entire race! Not only were the roads terrible, but it seemed to be taking forever for the exchange! 15.2 miles at 19.7 mph later, JV finally took over outside of town. It turns out that the bolts holding Willie's wheel cover had come off, and the cover was flapping in the wind on the roof of the van! While driving along, we brainstormed some solutions...this was one we definitely had NOT planned on. I had a few extra bolts, but not a whole set. Not sure what the outcome was...I was back on the bike in Lebanon.

Riding through a small town in the middle of rush hour was not fun. Lots of lights ensured that the follow vehicle could not keep up with me, and I really had no idea where I was going. I followed a vehicle belonging to another team until we got out of town. What came next was a bit surprising...

I had just turned onto a side road and passed a local rider on a beat up mountain bike. Bill P. got on the PA and announced that I should stay on the same road for the next 6 miles...they would be right back. They disappear. I kept riding, and 5 miles later, my van reappeared. We then proceeded to get lost along with 4 other teams!

The route book said we would come to a T, and I would make a left. So, I continued on and came to a T with a stop light, at the same time a solo rider was there. Suddenly, my van pulls up next to me and tells me we've gone the wrong way! Huh? I tell the solo rider, and follow my van around a corner to get the bike back on the van. The solo rider questioned me, but then followed. We drove by JV as his van was putting him on the road to carry on, but he was going the wrong way too! We found the correct turn (which was NOT a T), and I got on the road and carried on. As we were doing this, we saw other teams making the same mistake!

I continued along and got away from my van again. Bill started calling out directions over the PA from 200 yards back. At the same time, I caught up with the solo rider, who had a GPS. I had two people telling me which way to go...fortunately, they were giving me the same directions! The solo rider, Tony O'Keefe, and I chatted as we navigated through the town, and he continued on while I made another wrong turn! This was getting quite frustrating, but since everyone else was in the same boat, it was rather comical. Shortly, JV took over, and we carried on to Blanchester where Lee got directions for a detour and I chatted with Barbara Bautois.

JV rode through as Lee continued to get instructions on the detour, and we finally got on the road again. We caught up and did an exchange outside of Martinsville, and I rode another 8 miles at 19.2mph.

My final pull was short...only 3.2 miles. We needed to get JV back on the road to take the last pull to the RV, and we had no idea where the RV was! JV ended up getting a nice long pull to the RV, but at least it was twisty, windy, downhill and scenic! Bummer huh?

Chasing doc2doc!

Getting lost!

Back on track

A very short pull

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