Walterboro, Spartanburg and Gaffney
Coming into Walterboro, we were rested but unsure of how the week was going to play out since all the other teams were similarly rested. The real question was whether or not we would be able to keep Dan on his roll of winning races since he had won the first two Speed Week races. Three in a row was a tough goal to set, but after the first two, it was beginning to be easier and easier to imagine.
Walterboro has 6 corners and is pitch black in some spots. There are times when you point your bike thinking about where it should go and hope for the best. I can only recall one wreck; there could have been others. With about 6-7 laps to go, there was a good deal of movement in the pack positioning for the second to last corner. Most notable about this race was that there were many breakaway attempts, but nothing stuck. That meant lots of chasing down breaks for us on Athete Octane Cyling. Dan flatted just before free laps ended and was able to get back in. I helped him get back to the front. Andrew, Rob, and I grabbed his wheel to sweep off Ricardo “Tricky Ricky” Escuela. Anthony took the lead out for Dan at 1 to go and rocketed to the front to set Dan up for win #3.
Spartanburg might as well be called a track race. At a ½ mile, less than 1 k, and with four smooth corners, it keeps a high speed and almost gives the sensation of track effect. I could have been imagining that, though. Regardless, it was very fast. Due to the high speed, going off the front or chasing anything down was just a little harder than usual. I took note of that when I went across to a break and went from having an easy time in the pack to thinking I was dying while chasing the move. We were able to keep it together and put Dan at the front again for the sprint win. That was an unheard of 4 in a row Speed Week Victories! At this point, we had just about sealed up the overall in the team, we had lap leader, Anthony was fourth, I was 17th and we had so many primes it was tough to keep track.
Finally, Gaffney was the outlier. Not only did the race not finish like the last few had, but the course had a hill the made it considerably more selective than the other courses. It had four corners, and the finish straight was all 2-3% big ring uphill and then the rest of the course was a descent. Some serious moves went away. There were many attacks, but I just know the ones I was involved in chasing: One was a five man break that I helped Dan get across to, one was A Ray and Adam Myerson which I pulled back and then finally, Mac Brennan made a good attack when everyone was hurting the most. He stayed away for the last five laps and took the win. Dan won the sprint for second and the overall positions of the race remained unchanged. It was a great week of teamwork. Dan has really set the bar for us to work up to. Next race for the team is Quad Cities although Dan won Dana Point the next day after Gaffney! Check out his blog to see how it worked out.