Sunday, September 13, 2009

unparralled day in sports

As many of you know, I have been an avid cycling fan for years, and quickly fell in love with having a tour here in Missouri. The speed at which it has gained respect in the sport still amazes me. In my time of following (and promoting it to fellow St. Louisians) I have been blessed to network with many of the people responcible for bringing cycling here. On Thursday night, I was offered an amazing chance to ride in a VIP car (which I honestly thought was nearly impossible, so again thank you) during the Sedalia Time Trial. Originally our car was going to follow Franco Pellizotti (41) and then pull over to let a few riders pass, then pick back up behind Jens Voigt (34). We expected to spend about 3-4 mins on the side watching. After about 1.3 mins, we had to get in the car because the men between the two of them were booking it. One of those men was Kanstantsin Siutsou. Our car decided to follow Siutsou and let the other car follow Jens (the roads were really tight and with all of the passing during this time trial, it was probably best) before we had caught up with Siutsou he had already passed one of the Liquigas rider's in front of him. When we cought up with him, the field looked like this

That is Siutsou in the forground, Franco Pellozotti between the cars in the "valley" and Anibal Borrajo (124) at the top of the next hill.

As you can see it became very crowded on the road at times. I believe that is Pellozotti's team car in front of the police car.

Siutsou passing Pellozotti, as you can see they are very close to catching Borrajo.

Our car behind Borrajo after Siutsou had passed him. We had to wait until their was an ample amout of room between them, so Borrajo could not draft and so we were not in his way.

One of the final turns before we came into the "tight" part of the course. For a small section of road, the race goes both directions on the road, so if a rider is posed to pass in this section it becomes a nightmare for the drivers who are responsible for their riders. Some of the smaller teams did not have follow cars for all of their riders, this was the case for Borrajo. Borrajo made back excelent time in the last 1k if the course, and he caught up with our car befor the turn off of the two way section, and was trying to get our attention. When our driver saw him, she quickly tried to get out of his way. The road had a sharp turn which all of us tried to make at the same time, unfortunately we all tried to take the same path. Our driver made the right hand turn as quick as possible, while trying to pull over to the side of the road, but Borrajo tried to pass us on the inside of the turn, instead of going around, and ended up crashing into the side of our car. So, what began as a "once in a lifetime opportunity", truly (I pray) was a ONCE in a lifetime event. Because it is not often that a race car and driver connect in a crash like that . . .

The crash was not to horrific, Borrajo climbed back on his bike and finished the TT, but his time was ruined. To be honest, I was more worried about our driver, who looked like she was in shock. All in all, it was an amazing trip and I would not change any of it (sorry Borrajo, but it makes the retelling so much better to reveal your crash)

That is it for now . . . I am off to catch up with editing and to catch my bus to KC for the final stage.

( I dare any other organization to provide a maore amazing experience. no really, NHL I dare you)

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