Monday, November 21, 2011

Prologue The good, the bad, and the ugly

Prologue The good, the bad, and the ugly

Today was the day to get started and the guys were starting to look like a rat in a cage with a snake outside – a bit on the anxious side. The ride today was simply a 4 k time trial, out and back and expected to take 4 ½ minutes. There was a presentation of teams Rwanda, Tanzania, Gabon, Kenya, South Africa along with Belgium, France and US. There were several more teams that cancelled at the last minute and rumor has it, that it was due to drug testing here. I don’t know how true that is as everytime something bad happens in cycling it is blamed on drugs. There are a good number of spectators out and we certainly appear to be the oddity of the day. The Minister of Sport makes it out along with several other dignitaries. Sadly, as soon as we park we are swarmed by kids who are simply begging for anything. About every 5th child looks up at me and says “I’m hungry, can I have some food.” It’s very conflicting and some of the riders are struggling with this. There is the knowledge that “Yes I can help one but what happens after that.” The swarm of kids goes on all day and by the end you start to feel like a bad person for shooing them away like pigeons.

Finally the race starts, one minute intervals, go as hard as you can. We did not bring time trial specific stuff to the event so we thought we might be at a bit of a disadvantage. I am surprised to see that many of the African riders at least have aero helmets and some are even sporting disc wheels. Fortunatley 4 K is is pretty short though. Our riders seem to be rolling pretty well but it’s hard to know as the announcer is not speaking English. At the end however it turns out that we swept the podium 1, 2, and 3. Talk about a solid start. Nothing helps team morale like a win so the guys were very excited. Some racers on this squad have been going since January and are pretty fried so this certainly gives motivation. Our top rider on GC is Kiel who is an up and coming talent but missed almost all of this year for medical reasons so he is fresh and hungry which helps as well.

Now for the ugly – on the way home from the race I started to rapidly feel like crap. I got back to the hotel and began the process of losing things both ways along with fever and chills. It was a rough night but I am feeling a little better at this time so we’ll see how today goes. That really sucked though, I can’t remember the last time I felt that poorly and I am hopeful that I am the only one this week to get this. Ahh, third world food.

There are 2 stages today. A short one this morning then a 3 hour cool down and a second coming back this afteronoon. I am going to give it a try but its never fun to put toilet paper in your medical bag just in case.

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