Sunday. Race Day. The email communication from USA cycling indicating that parking for Sunday's championship race was going to be a challenge was our first indication of the storm brewing.
Three days of rain and cold had made the polo grounds unsuitable, and we were encouraged to find parking farther "afield". Perhaps this was the last straw for the locals. Soon the twitter sphere was alight with onsite accounts of police blocking access to the course, announcements from the Austin Parks and Rec stating the cancellation of the last day's races, and finally a statement from USAC that they were doing everything in their power to try and reach a compromise with locals and local officials to simply postpone the races until the next day.
I hopped on the trainer next to Isaiah. Doug started packing. I started pedaling faster.
The Austin Heritage Tree Foundation had launched an attack that they appeared to have been planning for some time. They were upset that "the cycle cross race participants like to ride their bikes in mud, that is part of the thrills" (nice misuse of punctuation there; by the way). The best account of the social media onslaught from both sides of the fence was retweeted by a friend and linked to here.
Basically, the masterminds behind the Nationals course worked their magic, relocating a few sections of the course away from the base of the trees, grounds keepers brought in mulch for the worst puddles, and, unbelievably, a few of the off-camber sections got more technical! The Parks department and USAC announced that the races would be postponed with a condensed schedule. My race was slated for 3:20 PM Monday afternoon... with 14 hours of driving, this seemed too late to allow us adequate time to get Isaiah and Doug back on time for work on Tuesday. I couldn't ask them. If we drove all night, we would be toasted. We would be toasted. We would be staying! This is the National Championships.
I owe them home-made granola, and possibly vegetarian rice cake portables made with fakin' bacon.