I had a really rough start. Around last Wednesday I'd started to get a bit of a sore throat, Thursday it had escalated to headaches and runny nose. On Friday I felt like it was tapering off and that by Saturday morning I'd be fine for sure. So Friday morning Joe and I loaded everything up, I slipped into my role as transporter, and we aimed the rig north. We got to the track and setup shop. My co-worker Luke arrived with his bike a little after we did, so we helped get him setup too, all the while I'm popping Ibuprofen and DayQuil when I can. After dinner on the way back to the track I knew I was in trouble. It was cold outside but I was shivering uncontrollably. When we got back to the track, Joe setup a bed for me. I was in double layered sweat pants, a long sleeve shirt, a hooded sweatshirt, wool ski socks, a sleeping bag and two heavy blankets on top of that. I felt like being sunburned in a hot shower, I got a little delirious for a few minutes and then mercifully passed out for a couple hours. I woke up drenched but human again, peeled of some layers and slept the rest of the night. By the second session on Saturday morning I was within one second of my fastest time ever on the track. I think that sometimes the line between determination, stupidity, and luck simply goes on vacation.
This event was put on by Rob Johns, a track friend of ours for a couple of years now. It was his first effort at organizing and hosting a track event. The organization is called Track Attack, his sticker now adorns the front right of both my, and Joe's track bikes. He didn't seem to think that hosting a track event was enough and had a fund raiser for the Red Flag Fund this weekend as well. There were raffles and auctions of donated gear. I won a highly useful kickstand replacement called "The Krutch" and some truly horrendous (on me at least) sunglasses. They had Sonny's BBQ bring in dinner Saturday night. Rob even managed to get some truly fast guys to come out and show the rest of us around the track a bit. There was a mock race on both Saturday and Sunday between some of the hot talent. We were allowed to stand behind the jersey barrier at the front straight and watch. They were just goofing around at a pace over 10 seconds a lap faster than what Joe and I typically run. It was really amazing to see up close. The cherry on top was a lead/follow session (track ride where speed is controlled by event staff) in the opposite direction of what the track is always run in. Safety concerns prevent running the track in reverse at speed, but I'm told that there are serious discussions among the powers that be about making the necessary safety modifications to allow for it.
Sunday night we had dinner at a Japanese Steakhouse called Mori in Valdosta with about eighteen other track addicts ( I bet you can't guess what the dinner conversation was about!). We crashed at the track, then packed up and drove home this morning. I'm wiped out, more than a little sore, but happy.
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