As the Team Specialized Junior Director nothing gives me greater pleasure than to share the highest of highs and lowest of lows with our riders. Today we had it all. We started today with our highest placed riders sitting 2nd, 4th and 4th on the general classification of the juniors 15-16, juniors 17-18 and elite category 3's race. Each of these three team leaders had three teammates to help them try to improve their solid GC position. Not an easy task as both the juniors and category 3 events had one hundred athletes in each of their fields and this seven mile circuit is tough, but the majority of the races finish in a field sprint.
Mother nature gave us a helping hand today with the 8am and 1pm 2-1/2 hour races getting both sub-50 degree weather and rain, lots of rain. Toss in winds and you have epic conditions to test the mettle of every teammate.
I'm happy to report that our team came through in shinny colors today. Not only were the teammates able to push the pace in the juniors race (that we are now on the top spot in the 15-16 race), but we were able to play off the strengths of each other and solo away to victory in the 17-18 race and move up to 3rd and 4th on GC. With the category 3's racing in the afternoon weather shitstorm our team was able to place two riders into the lead group and finish safely in the field.
But, every good drama has a big arc and today gave us crashes (3 down, 2 helping to get back on, 2 finishing) and all twelve teammates suffering in the cold and wet to earn the respect of their director, teammates and competitors. Today's conditions were truly epic and this will not be a day that these young men will soon forget.
Tomorrow we head into the criterium with the GC lead in the 15-16's, 3rd and 4th on GC in the 17-18's and 6th on GC in the elite 3's. Of course, rain and cold temps are in the forecast!
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Larry Nolan, Team Specialized