Monday, June 19, 2006

NVGP: Mankato Stage, Part 3

In our first two episodes, you learned that on Saturday, June 17 Tuffy was invited by an employee of the French bike maker Time to ride in the McGuire Elite Womens Team car for the Mankato stage of the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Needless to say, he accepted.

The Mankato road race stage for the women began at 11:30 AM. Around about 11:10, we put the car in position in the caravan. Then, Ped and I did a last minute food run. Ped grabbed three Buffalo Wild Wings wraps for a group lunch during the drive, and I grabbed some Jelly Belly Sport Beans and another wrap for myself (pre-drive).

Right on time, the race was underway. Well, except for the Bio-Vail team car. It was stuck in gear, dead at the start line. They never got the car going and the team ended up having to be supported by the neutral support car for the duration of the race.

[photo caption] Team support cars begin to line up behind the riders shortly before the start of the stage. Team Bio-Vail's ill-fated car is 2nd from the right.

The peloton rode out of Mankato in a neutral roll-out, slowly making their way up a climb and out of town. Then, the race was officially underway.

The first rider off of the back was a Team Quebec rider at about mile 10. She had gone off of the back at the Minneapolis Crit the night before, so this wasn't really a surprise. About a mile later, another rider fell off the pace. [photo caption] McGuire Elite Womens Team members Taitt Sato (l) and Courtenay Brown prepare for the Mankato stage of the NVGP. Courtenay's preparation would prove fruitless.

At mile 15 the first bad news of the day struck our team. Courtenay was off the back of the peloton. As she slowly drifted back through the motorcade to our car (car #14), something looked wrong.

Smithers rolled down the window and just looked at her. Courtenay didn't say anything. So Smithers yelled, "Courtenay! What's up?" She blankly looked at Smithers and replied flatly, "Nothing."

Smithers: "Can we do anything for you?"
Courtenay: "No."

So we rolled on around a corner. Then Courtenay got on her radio. It sounded like this:
"Blkaodkfa lkhaoeihaf kkiieeealdldd."

We pulled over, ready for Courtenay to roll up with a flat tire or some other mechanical problem.

Courtenay: "Give me the keys to the van. I'm turning around."

So she took the keys to the team van, turned around on the road, and bagged it.

This turn of events was disappointing on many levels. First, Courtenay is a competitor, and we really hoped that she would ride a good stage. Second, it happened so suddenly and so early in the stage that it caught all of us off-guard.

That left us with three riders still in the peloton: Martina, Melodie, and Taitt.

Look for Part 4 tomorrow...


Blogger AdamB said...

whoa, that's pretty weird. did you ever find out what the deal was?

Tue Jun 20, 09:58:00 AM 2006

Blogger Courtenay said...

um thanks for the "fruitless" descriptor! sorry to let you guys down. after 3 weeks on the road for nrc races, the last two of which were spent sleeping on the floor, my body was like "f*** you". couldn't fight it any more. and despite all your helpful skills, there is nothing more you guys could have done! nothing legal anyway...


Sun Jun 25, 08:26:00 PM 2006

Blogger Tuffy said...

I knew it was just a matter of time before you guys found the blog!

No one was disappointed in you personally -- we knew what you guys had been through. We were hoping the best for all of you, and it didn't quite turn out that way for the team that weekend.

Congratulations on your engagement, however! Great photos!

Mon Jun 26, 06:43:00 PM 2006


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