After being awarded a beautiful 3rd place plaque at the Ohio State road race championships, I was later told that race organizers had stripped me of this title. But that is the end of this tale, why not start at the beginning.
Team Escarole brought 5 racers to Danville, Oh! for the state championships. Cadillac George and Chairman Fred for the 55+ Golden Buckeye race, Jaybone ‘sometimes-red’ for the 35+, me, and ‘no longer the kid’ Andy Schleck would be doing the 1-2-3. We also found Andy’s brother Dan Schleck and poppa Tom entering the Citizens race. Neither whom are Team Jellyroll racers, but if they won, surely we would take credit for their feets!, er feats
You might remember the Danville course from last year, Chairman Fred did one lap - pulled over to his car and drove straight for home, while Cadillac did the lone cha-cha for 20+ miles. Remember, also Andy made a winning move only to be forced off his bike with cramps, oh so close to the finish line. The race is an up and down (never flat) affair with a steep climbs in the 18.5 mile circuit. I chose the 4/5 race because I’m too young to hold a Golden Buckeye card and I wasn’t reared (sorry Jay) in the hills of Richland county.
Although hilly, it is a fabulous course that really settles matters, smooth roads and well marshaled corners. The only hazards here were the AIEDs (or Amish Improvised Explosive Devices), basically poo from their many horse drawn carriages. No $4/gallon worries in Danville. In fact the locals took time out from their chores to marvel at the multicolored lycra clad riders. We heard that they eschew Campy and Shimano for old school down tube shifters and 6-speed cassettes. Unfortunately they were banned from the race for refusing to trade their straw hats for an approved helmet.
My race exploded straight away on the first climb, I fell in with a few riders, chatting up the TDF “yeah, doesn’t Cadel have a chipmunk face when he is put under a spot of bother…” all while most of the race was up the road. Soon we rolled past Fred trying to untangle himself from a kinked chain, and we passed riders that were soloing themselves to the parking lot. Near the end of the first lap poppa Will rolls by me with the leaders from the open race. I stepped on it, mostly working the downhills to close the gap and then, Tom and I worked together for the remainder of lap one and the entire second lap.
Onward Tom and I rode, passing riders, poo, and perhaps the highlight on my day was dumping two bottles of cold water on my overheated carcass and screaming 47 mph down the backside hills. Pure bliss.
Who knows where you finish in a race like this, everyone rolls in as single or double riders. Apparently they had scored me in 3rd, only to be corrected as forth. Sorry, no tales of doping here. Although Fred and I shared a few Advils at the start. Officials politely pried the 3rd place plaque out of my very tired hands.
Congrats to Cadillac and Tom Will on their 3rd place finishes in the 55+ and citizen’s race respectively.