Well Friday after work My family and I traveled in traffic through Columbus and through a down pour and lightning strikes! Well that wasn't the last time I saw Lightning. I had to race with them all weekend, PA Lightning. A team from the eastern part of PA, according to another team that said they were from the Pittsburg area and made sure everyone knew they were not that team (PA Lightning). Anyway I wasn't the last racer to get ready but it was a good thing they started a little late and shortend the race to around 38 miles. Mike Busa, and Dan Cambell had a great move with a PA Lightning rider #273. I will not mention names for reasons to be giving later. They were away for about 18 miles and then I after the 3rd time asking Dave if I could join them Dave said yes. Thanks Dave! 3 RGF up the road and 1 PA Lightning rider. I had nothing on my mind about winning the race I just wanted to get as much time as possible. Well it didn't look like it was going to be to good and Mike wanted to drop that wheel sucker(PA Lightning rider #273). I told him no lets go for the overall, so we did. It ended up being a bad choice in the last 1.5 miles of the race as #273 proved to be able to hold his own against us 3. Of course he sat on us for over 28 miles so we should have dropped him or just take the lose?(more to come on that end too. #273 somehow clipped out of his pedal and almost lost control in the last 300 meters so I took advantage and won the race with my hands in the air for the first time this year. My teammates rode a perfect race taken 6 of the nine places that day. Funny thing is I didn't wreck in the race but I sure did wreck in the cool down in front of Dan and Mike. I told them "watch this" as I hung on to the bike rack, even after I traveled on the pavement for 20 feet. According to Mike I was smiling the whole time, which I think I was. Good thing the pavement was wet. Lord you are awesome in everyway!
Saturday's road race was great! I thought people would try and attack us but nothing really happend. RGF was willing to work with any team but PA Lightning because they all sat in on Friday nights race and Had one GC leader that Sat on us and was what we thought stronger than us. So Dave took off with another PA Lightning rider early and we would be close to them but never caught them until mile 63. Dave rode an outstanding race for 63 miles and then we should have been fresh for the end. 4 laps into the 8 lap race I had a broken rear wheel. My teammates helped me get a new wheel and back in the field since we had no support vehicle. We had raced so perfect all weekend, so proud of these young guys. Well with 1 lap to go before Dave and the PA Lightning guy got caught #273 had a flat at the front of the field. He was 1 sec behind me for the GC and 1 min and 10 seconds in front of 5th place. At least 3 of his PA Lightning so called Teammates watched him come through the field and out the back, where I love to race. It made me so mad that his teammate beside me on the back let him go so I yelled at the PA Lightning so called Teammate and said "aren't you going to help your GC leader" PA guy said "he is not our GC leader" I said "he isn't anymore" as I went to the front with all of my teammates and hammered away. I also said "I can't believe it" and " I feel obligated to give the guy my wheel" and the PA rider said "cool down" that's when I went to the front to let off some steam, that's how it went down. See Ya! Dan got 8th place in the race as 1 PA Lightning rider managed to get the stage win 5 seconds ahead yee haw! Thank you Lord for my Teammates and there willingness to sacrafice there selves for the GC since we had a God Giving stage win the night before. That's bike racing!
After the race and before the TT I talked with #273 about his day and why didn't his team help him. All he kept saying was "if there would have been a support vehicle and if know one would have said anything they would have giving me the same time as the field because I knew I was going to finish with the field I only had 9 miles to go". Well he knew there wasn't a support vehicle and what about my wheel with 4 laps to go, can I please have the same time as the field. I wasn't hot headed I had no clue I was going to finish with the field but I finished 16th on the day thanks to my teammates with the wheel change and pulling me back up to the field.
The TT hurt worst than last year and almost missed the 2nd to last turn after passing my 30 sec and 1 min riders I had a 5 sec lead on them and the one rider was behind me after I made the turn to almost a crawl speed due to no offical and lack of looking at the map before my start. Thanks to Andy Clarke and Dave Young I was set out for my first real experience of a TT with full gear. I did the TT in 15:06 which was 18 sec faster than last year and my body felt worse this year so it does pay to have the right stuff. That TT hurt bad, real bad. 4th in the TT and that put me 22 sec behind Dan my teammate so that was great. 3rd overall was Randy from UPMC and he was 58 sec behind after putting in an awesome TT time as well. Thank you Lord for helping me find my way back to the finish line.
Sunday RGF rode another great race as we finished 2nd 3rd and 10th. We also took 1st, 2nd and 7th overall for the stage race. I sent this to Glen the race promoter. I have not made contact yet with the USA Cycling Rep but will do so soon. I have tried to call him and will try again. Several teams thought that something needs to be done so that PA Lightning doesn't hurt anyone or themselves, it's a good thing I didn't sin and take one of them off the road my self. Satan sure was tempting me but I had a strong focus on what Jesus would do.
Glen thank you very much for putting on such a great event. Please share this e-mail with others that made this race possible as well. I know it had to be very stressful for you and the officals to make some decisions for the Cat 1-2 races. I want you to know what happend. I won friday night due to the PA Lightning rider that took 2nd place clipped out of his pedal with 200 meters to go. Very sorry that he had a mechanical, knowing he would have beaten me with ease. He did everything right and I made the choice to just go for the overall with my two teammates helping while Pa Lighnting sat on.
Saturday race I had a broken wheel and my teammates helped me back up to the field only taken us 2 miles to get back on. I took a wheel from my teammate in the race so he was left out of the rest of the race. Well with 1 lap to go PA Lightning rider #273 who was 2nd the night before had a flat in front of the field. #273 passed at least 3 of his teammates and was left behind by his team. While I watched and have other witnesses I yelled at his teammate on the back of the field and told him to help his teammate out "give him your wheel he is the leader of the GC Overall" the young PA Lightning teammate said no"he is not our GC leader". Then I said I felt "obligated to give him my wheel". When I found out about that guy having the same time as the field I couldn't believe it and our team was approached by 2 other teams as well.
Thank you for handling that problem correctly. I am sorry for the way they responded to you and others and it will not be tolerated. As I will be heading a complaint about there team not because of that day but Sunday.
Sunday PA Lightning tried to run my teammates and others off the road by slamming on there brakes and making erratic moves across the whole road, double yellow lines as well. One time they did it across a little bridge going toward the start finish area about 3 miles from the finish. My teammate had no where to go. This was after I had told the motorcycle offical about what they were doing. I realize he had others to watch as well. We all were against the PA Lightning team when they first started trying to knock people down. The 2nd time I saw it happen I decided to say something to the PA Lightning rider."What do you think you are doing" He said "that's bike racing"the same term I used when trying to teach there team how to race before the Time Trial.
"You have a flat tire with no wheel support and know that your the team leader of the team for GC and your team doesn't help you" I told #273 after that race before the TT. I talked with him for 15 mins." He didn't understand at all so I said when that happens the term I use is "bike racing". I told him about crits and how if "you have a flat the last 8 miles of the race and don't finish that is called bike racing".
So anyway when we were racing and I saw they tried to knock over my teammates the 2nd time and the PA Lightning guy said that was "bike racing" I said "ok I am 200 pounds and you are a buck 140 see that ditch over there". His jaw dropped and looked very scared, I told the PA Lightning rider,"I'm not going to put you in it because that is not bike racing". Then I continued to yell at him and told him " your team has fowl mouths and you are all selfish and don't help your own teammates out and your tactics are horrible". That was it and they still continued for 30 miles until I left them for good with 35 miles left to race.
As you can tell I am very upset with that team as well as other teams and something will be done soon very soon I hope. I need your help in getting more stories that I can share with USA Cycling so that maybe USA Cycling will teach them the proper way before someone gets seriously hurt or that it doesn't kill the sport. Also one of there riders came within inches of getting hit from behind by a car.
Thank you again,