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Quad Cities Race Report
3 Jun, 2003

We started off the day with a very American breakfast at the local diner, the "Omelet House".  They are only good for one breakfast- then you just can't stomach the fat again!!!

The Quad Cities is a megalopolis of four cities (how about that) on the Iowa side of the state line with Illinois.  Originally held in Moline, the Quad Cities race is now in downtown Rock Island.  I don't know why it's called Rock Island, since I didn't see any islands nor any rocks, but there you have it.  The QC Criterium is held each year on Memorial Day, which is a big day of remembrance for soldiers lost here in America.  The weather was perfect, and the first time this year that it really felt like summer with temps approaching 30C.  A good crowd was out for the food festival and the all categories day of racing. 

About 140 guys lined up so it was going to be dangerous again like last year when I crashed twice in this race and needed a hospital visit. I was a bit nervous so swung off the back for the first part of the race.  The course for this race is very open and all 13 turns are fast so it makes it easy to sit in and that's why there is so many crashes.  Normally it stays together but five good riders got away not long after the race started.  I was way back so there was no chance of getting to the front to help.  My teammates John and Jason pulled really hard on the front and saved our chances by bringing the break back.  I think the race would have gone up the road if they had not done it. 

After the group came back there were a number of attacks and I finally got to the front of the field.  I went with a couple of attacks but not much stuck with only a few random riders going away for a few laps at a time.  On the crash side of things there were a few; John crashed once, but didn't get hurt and got back in no worries.  There were a number of other crashes but I was staying out of trouble and didn't have too many problems.  With 5 laps to go John was away with Paul Martin (team West Virginia, and a former US National Road Champion) and a sprinter. The sprinter wouldn't pull so John took him off the back of the break leaving just Martin out front alone.  Local strong amateur team Bianchi/Grand Performance set about closing down the last couple seconds to Martin, and the pace was starting to hot up.  Jason was looking after me at the front.  All the sprinters from other teams were handy.  On one to go, Jason took over with John sweeping my wheel. US Postal sprinter and winner of this race in 2001 & 2002, Robbie Ventura went to take my wheel but over-shot so I gave him Jason's wheel and told Jason to go hard as he could to give Robbie a shitty 2nd wheel ride.  (This means that when Jason was done, Robbie would be left in front alone, too far from the finish, in between a rock and a hard place) The rest of the race was strung out on us so it looked good.  I knew that I had to be leading with 2 corners to go.  I went in the back straight and Robbie took me to the fence but I got past and he jumped on my wheel.  Two turns to go and I hit my pedal hard on the corner scraping a large chunk off my new pedals and almost came down!  Robbie was not so lucky: he hit his pedal as well and crashed taking down the next 10 guys so leaving me gifted with the win.  I was able to cruise to the line and enjoyed posting it.  Yesterday's winner Jason Waddell of team Mathis Brothers (furniture store chain) had stuck to the inside during the crash and took second.  Then I was on the team radio to see if John was ok.  He said that he'd gone into the corner eighth wheel when the crash happened, but must have had a powerful guardian angel today, he got lucky and just stopped but guys were crashing all around him.  I wish they didn't crash as I would have rather won straight up but that's racing.  I really have my teammates to thank for this race as they did a excellent job the whole way. 

Keep up to date with Hayden's racing exploits at, including todays Wachovia Classic commentary.

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