Athens Twilight Criterium
April 30, 2005
|Mark Hekman: 15th, Cat 1|
AHH the life of an amateur racer. Here is a play by play of my trip to athens:
8am Wake up, eat breakfast, relax. I don't have to leave until around noon. The race isn't until 10pm and it is about a 5:30 hour drive, and I hear that Athens is chaos with the parking situation.
11am Eat again, pack the car, and head out to the library to print off registration reciepts and directions.
NOON Athens here I come! I am on the highway heading there, I plan to stop at a nice restaurant twice along the way and eat...I'll have plenty of time.
12:30 I am twenty miles south of where I live and my "check engine" light comes on, also my temperature gauge skyrockets. Luckily there was an exit soon with a gas/service station.
12:35 I spend $25 on coolant which does nothing...sweet. I then ask the service guy if he can take a look at it. He says yeah he'll look at it right away.
1:15 He hasn't looked at the car yet, I look at my watch, trying to remain calm.
1:30 I finally ask when he is going to look at it, he says he has to wait for it to cool first.
1:55 I need a new radiator...awesome....only $550; I love cars. He will have it done by 6pm.
2:00 I don't know many people in this town yet, but my girlfriend's grandmother lives here and she has two cars. I call her...no ones home; I leave a message.
2:15 Time is running out and I am stressed to the gills, I don't know if I will make it there or not. I need to be in the car by 345 at the absolute latest. I am getting hungry again, but no time to eat. I get a call back from Kerry's grandma. Sure I can borrow here car. So all I have to do is go pick it up.
2:20 I hop on my bike and start the ride back into town. It is 17 miles on State route 52 which is the equivilant to route 315 in columbus. It was a relaxing ride, I think I will use it as a training route...it is fun getting buzzed by semi trucks.
3:15 I get the new car, a v8 jeep--that will help keep the cost of this trip down--and head out.
3:40 I am back at the service station switching everything into the jeep, no sweat, I head for athens just in time.
3:55 I realize I left my racing license in my glove box of my car...crap.
4:10 I leave again from the sevice station for athens, a 5 hour drive from here
I am not stressed, I am not sweating, and I am in a good mood...its only the race I have been wanting to do since I was in high school.
7:10 I have to get something to eat, but what. Jeremy Grimm called while I was driving and told me to get grilled chicken, I decided to overule that and I went through a Taco Bell/ Pizza hut drive through. I got a supreme personal pan pizza and a 7 layer burrito--the meal of the pros.
9:00 I have made it, I can't believe it, it is pouring down rain, so I park in a parking garage and find registration.
9:30 It is pouring so I climbed up the parking garage a couple times for a warmup.
10:00 RACE TIME
This race is nuts. The course is 1km long and we do 60 laps. Every corner has painted street lines on them. It is raining and very slippery. There are fans lining the entire course at least three deep, no one is sober...literally, it was like being in the parking lot of a Phish show.
I start at the very very back, I hadn't bothered to do the starting grid qualifyers the day before. The race starts and the pace is insane, the corners are so slippery. I moved up to mid pack as soon as I could, people where blowing up left and right and gapping people. The race was one long line which was about half a lap, so when the leaders were half-way through, the people at the back were just crossing the finish line. About ten laps in the field split into two groups and I was in the second group. I figured my race was over, it didn't look like we were going to integrate back in, but the pace in our group was still ridiculously fast. The gap stayed about 15 seconds until 20 laps to go and then it all came back together, I couldn't believe it. A group of 7 or 8 then attacked and got away. I stayed as close to the front as I could and managed to stay upright through the finish for 15th. It made the whole day worthwile. The fans treat you like a rock star after the race, on my cool down lap I stopped by a huge group of college kids and they were all giving me high fives. Some one gave me a beer and about 75 students started chanting "CHUG CHUG" so I did and spiked the beer can on the ground and raised my hands. The place just went nuts...it was funny. My day wasn't done yet.
Midnight I pick up my prize money and go to look for a hotel. There is a another NRC race about an hour away on sunday.
1:30 I have stopped at 3 hotels and no one has room.
2:00 I find a room, it is the sketchiest motel ever, you know it is bad when you walk in and go into the bathroom and have to flush the toliet because the person who was there before seems to have forgetten.
2:30 Shower and to bed, hopefully the next day will be better.
3:45 I am wide awake because my neighbors are grunting digustingly and slamming the head board into the wall.
This is the life.