After a few weeks of hard training for the SUBWAY® – Avanti team of myself and Hayden Godfrey embarked on what was going to be a long weekend, of travelling, racing, and a lot more travelling.
First stop on the "form finding mission '09" was San Jose, about 50 minutes south of San Francisco. It turned out to be a long travel day spent finding gear, packing gear, then finally driving. This day also marked the passing of Michael Jackson, so we had some solid beats on the radio for the first couple of hours on the trip, but after hearing "Billy Jean" for the 8th time, we started to crack. After 8 hours of driving we finally pulled into our host housing accommodation for the next couple of nights at the Holloway's house, whose son Dan, is in the US national team and regular 6 day competitor.
The first night of racing started off with a Kerin, with both Hayden and I making it through to the final. The final though proved to be a tougher challenge and after a small communication break down Hayden salvaged a 3rd and the first podium for the SUBWAY® team.
Next up was a miss and out, which was used as a warm up for the main event for the night, the 20km Madison.
The racing was tight for the whole race, with us SUBWAY® – Avanti boys battling an in form Dan Holloway & Ben Jacques Maynes at every sprint. After winning the final sprint we knew it would be close but Holloway and Jacques Maynes had already started their celebrations. However when it came time to get on the podium it was the Subclub Team that had snatched the win by one point over a very disappointed team in second place.
The next night saw Godfrey place second in a hotly contested scratch race to return to the podium, followed up by a points race, that we thought they had featured in, but were missing from a few sprint results, but at the end of the day the person that won was quite a bit ahead in the points so we packed up the van again to start the trip back for Manhattan Beach Grand Prix in LA.
We left Hellyer Velodrome at 11.30pm, said good-bye to our wonderful hosts the Holloway's, who made our stay brilliant, and started back down Interstate 5. The only exciting part to this trip is that I found out you can turn the van off while doing 80 miles an hour. I accidentally bumped the key with his knee when stretching my legs out at 2.30am and it turned the van off, fortunately after wondering why there was loss of power, a quick turn of the key again after a few seconds of panic got things back on track.
After a quick sleep, and IHOP for breakfast the last couple of hours drive was polished off and we were lining up at "the sprinters grand prix" facing some big teams and some bigger sprinters.
The basic format of the race was a big bunch kick, with a race into the last hairpin before the line.
Everything was going smoothly until a big crash with two laps to go stalled both myself and Hayden, so a major chase was on the cards with Rock Racing already setting a train on the front. After riding at warp 9 I came from 50 riders back with Hayden in tow to drop him off on the back of the train with half a lap to go, and then promptly got out of the way completely spent. Hayden ended up in a major scrap to stay on Rahsaan Bahati's wheel and came out of the race with 11th, which all things considering was a good result after coming to a complete standstill with two laps to go.
All in all it was a solid showing for the SUBWAY® – Avanti team, with an even more solid amount of time behind the driving wheel.
A huge thanks has to go to SUBWAY® – Avanti, the Holloway family for being outstanding hosts, and the team at Hellyer Velodrome for having us.