Saturday, July 15, 2006

Charmed Life

(right, BJ Samuel takes in the silver spot on the Masters National Criterium Championship podium.)

Gosh, I don't even know where to start with a Nationals report. BJ is an amazing competitor who does not carry race anxiety baggage anywhere. She is all about getting to know other racers, respecting their accomplishments and plain just having fun. I mean, this is the kind of thing that motivates BJ:

"Before I left, Laura agreed to eat a bite of hamburger and Art agreed to eat green beans if I made the podium. I won - they lost! I'll try and schedule a ceremony, which will probably turn into a gag fest, watching them pay up their bets :-)" --BJ

BJ had a late Wednesday Time Trial start time 5:18:30 (got it memorized since she said it 100 times) and throughout the day every weather event imaginable hit western PA--humidity, wind, cold, pouring rain--but she refused to have anything but a winner's attitude all day. This TT course could not have been any fun in the rain which fell at 5:18:30. We are talking 50+ mph descents and small ring grinder climbs. She hammered across the finish line for a bronze performance behind a pure climber Kay Tsui (gold) who did 46:44 at Wintergreen TT and Jo Garuccio(silver) who is a six-time worlds triathlon champion.

BJ attempted her signature move in the Friday’s Criterium--get away and work with who comes. If only one person had been willing to work when they opened up gaps, there could have been a break created, but they were content to stay put. That was fine except that it made sense for people to want a breakaway since the chicane and short straitaway at the end meant those who just sat in would have little chance of passing the lead riders in a bunch sprint. So she firmly established her position up front, never drifting back past 4th wheel, and had great position in the chicane last lap. Kay pulled off an explosive sprint, BJ answered but she’s more 18-wheeler power than explosion. They left the field behind in the straitaway, Kay (
HPC/ List) gold, BJ (TriPower) silver. They both dominated the field throughout the race.

Personal note, I finally got to Pittsburg. We drove in Thursday, easily found Mount Washington, and had lunch looking down on the city.

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