Road Craziness Leads to Medals

Oct. 27, 2010, 1:45 p.m. (ET)

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The first day of the road portion provided more rain, an off-regulation track, and racing that would have even the most  extreme athlete sitting on the edge of their seat. The rain came toward the end of the junior men’s points/elim heats. The race was finished but when we returned for the finals, the rain started again and racing was delayed for an hour and a half. The time trials were postponed till Wednesday morning but the long races were contested. On Wednesday morning we will see Joey, Will, Sara, Erin, Jonathan,  and Kimi contest their 200 meter time trials.   

Now, on to the road course that sparked so much controversy that some of the European teams were considering boycotting the entire road event until the problems were fixed. There was discussion of Team USA joining them because the track was so dangerous that someone (on another team) had already been hurt . The fear was that the course was so dangerous that someone could have possibly been killed if racing were to be allowed the way it stood. The course is supposed to have Plexiglas all around, however this course had a large portion just after the first turn that only had the poles. The fix for this was to take that entire section of Plexiglas poles down and put padding on the light poles that were just beyond the course. However, there was one light pole, with a light box on it, that stands right up against the portion of the course that actually has Plexiglas. There is also a cliff that was just beyond a wall after one of the chicanes. Yes, I said one of the chicanes because there are two and not one.  There were also three “oil slicks” near the last turn, which was not good for the 200 meter time trials. These were filled in with concrete but still slippery. The course winds a lot and is narrow making us all wonder how the senior men were going to fare. 

The rainy and wet course proved to be even more challenging. Darian and Alyssa skated their points race and moved their way to the front pretty quickly. Alyssa began to fall back and held up the pack while Darian went toward the front to scoop up points.  Darian continued on to place 4th in the race by only one point.

Mario and Drew put on an amazing performance in their points races and the two seemed to be working well together as a team. In the end Mario obtained the silver medal. Sophie and Chelsea were up for the senior ladies elimination race. The two were able to get together once before Chelsea was eliminated early and then Sophie toward the middle of the race.

Perhaps Team USA’s best performance in a long race so far during this event was in the senior men’s elimination race. Justin and Joey were together nearly the entire race. The two fought off their competitors and did what it took to stay together even when half-way through the race the rain came down again. The men finished the race with Justin in 6th and Joey in 3rd after he slipped in the corner and hit the wall during the last lap.