Monday, 2 May 2011

From Florida with Love

Back in the game after a weekend away in Florida for the 2011 Gator NAtionals and I'm beat, but happy after a strong weekend of racing in the heat of Florida. I thought I'd be all right with the heat and humidity, but it came as a shock and dealing with temperatures in the early 90's both days, minimum amounts of shade and a high humidity % it was perhaps all too much for this pale ginger chap from the UK.

I flew in to Palm Beach International early on the Friday morning a 7am flight from La Guardia had me in just before 10am, I sat in the arrivals hall and built my BMX bike amongst men wearing gallons of Aramis and polishing there 7 irons before heading out for a quick 18 or something like that. I thought I had seen money, but then I had never been to Palm Beach. People are bawlin'!

I met my old buddy Hoppy who flew in from Maryland and we headed out to the hotel where we were greeted by women without bars on, sweating heavily and carrying rabbits. that's what's up with a $25 a night hotel in the hood. Thanks Tripadvisor!

Anyway, it had a pool and a bed, and a shower that smelt like the ocean, you can't buy that kind of shit.

West Palm Track - So sweet!

Danny Smith on the 2nd straight, best pic of the weekend for me.

We got our stuff together and headed to the track for practice. Florida is renowned for always having huge nationals, and also for having a heavy talent pool, often considered some of the toughest races in the national calendar, you're going up against riders that never have to worry about missing a training session for snow, ice, or other inclimate weather, so they haul ass down there. And although there was only 140 motos (the Virginia race a few weeks ago had almost 200) they were full of some fast pilots.

Practise was a lot of fun, and it helped to session the track and feel the heat and humidity in a less stressful environment than that of a race day, and try to acclimatise a little. It helped that the track was a lot of fun, super tech in places, some big jumps and loads of places to vary things up a bit. I was feeling good, my gates felt strong and the track speed was all right. I was psyched to do work on the Saturday.

Thanks Nige for this one!

After a pool session to chill and a big chicken and vegetable dinner it was time to hit the hay and get some rest in before the 6am rise to head to the track.

The pro class being lead out by Kapes on Day 2.

Saturday was a lot of fun, even though it did seem to drag out a lot, racing was fast and tight, I managed some good moto results and a ticket to the main where I finished 5th, I got a 5th in the 16+ open main too which doesn't mean anything but makes a 29 year old man on flat pedals feel good about beating some whipper snappers. Hoppy was struggling a bit to get a first straight down but ended up securing a 5th place in his class main event too.

Sunday was a treat, the racing went by much faster and I was psyched to get out and explore some of West Palm, hit the beach and the National Parks. Racing went well, I felt much better on the Sunday, my gates were pointy and first straight just seemed to come together better, I got a couple of 2nd place finishes in the motos and a ticket to the main. A solid gate coming out of 4 and shutting out the guys on my inside allowed me into the first turn in a real low position which cost me a little speed and momentum, but meant I wasn't going to get pushed up, I came out 6th but a relaxed approach down the 3rd straight pulled me into 5th and I held off the others to maintain that. I raced the 16+ open more for more track time on the Sunday so just had some fun and boosted the straights and got a 5th again. Mr Consistent.. I was happy with that.

Hoppy was suffering with his lower back after a hard weekend in the heat but put together some solid laps to finish 5th again in class and 2nd in his 30+ open event.

About to get it wet - A perfect end to a sweet weekend.

After racing was done we spent some time exploring West Palm beach, hitting the beach, getting in to the wave, the National Parks and enjoying a Cuban sandwich with a couple of beers, top banana of a weekend - Thank you Florida!

Next weekend it's a big regional event at Howell BMX in Central Jersey, they've just had a full rebuild and it looks sweet. So a week of training and preparation and catching up with Daniella and friends before shooting off again.

Much love to you and yours. Peace peace x

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