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The flight of a Navigator: The Glen Chadwick diary 2006

Leaving the sunny shores of Belgium after riding with distinction for Team Cyclingnews.com in 2005, Australian Glen Chadwick has leapt across the pond to the USA where he'll ride for Navigators Insurance.

Follow 'Chady' as he races with this US-based squad throughout North America and the rest of the world.

Mt Holly-Smithville GP, USA, July 24, 2006

All hell breaks loose

Hey Troops,

Taking the win
Photo ©: Mt Holly-Smithville GP
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Well I racked up a win in the Mt Holly-Smithville Invitational a couple of Saturdays ago and this is how it played out!

The race was 160 kilometres over seven laps of a reasonably flat 22 kilometre circuit, followed by three laps of a four kilometre town circuit with a little bump in it to mix things up. It was a hot and steamy morning for sure and it was bound to sprinkle on us at some point during the race. Sure enough we managed a whole 15 kilometres before it absolutely poured down.

I saw the rain ahead of us so decided to attack into it as it looked heavy and thought it might split things up and it would be safer out there than in amongst the 120 riders. The attack didn't succeed and before long I was amongst the other riders and couldn't see a damn thing! It didn't matter if I had my sunglasses on or off, visibility was zero!

I ended up near the back of the bunch while wrestling with the weather and on the second lap all hell broke loose towards the front of the bunch when a couple of riders came down followed by a further 70. As I noticed a few bodies flying off the side of the road I started to think I was in a bit of strife! As I pulled up just short of the pile-up all I could think was I was going to get smashed from the rear. Luckily a guy just brushed me before he rode full throttle into the carnage! As I unclipped guys were still crashing, which was amazing to see as I thought everyone would have been able to slow down by that stage. Nope, as I started to negotiate my way through the tangles of bodies and bikes I heard more noises and looked to my right and saw four guys come flying in one after the other straight into a drain and onto each other! Nasty, Nasty, Nasty!

Navigators Insurance riders
Photo ©: Mt Holly-Smithville GP
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I lifted my bike above my head (as that was the only way to get through) and walked through the carnage. I gave a small apology to the couple of guys that I cracked on the head with my wheels as I lifted the steed through the mess. One thing I found to be strange was that once I got through the crash I noticed that there were guys at the front of the crash without a scratch on them who were just yelling out, "Is everyone okay?" Nice work guys, but I had to keep going. I jumped back on my bike and rode off with another lad who ended up puncturing after our 10-kilometre chase ended and were back onto the now smaller field!

So after a nasty second lap, lap three seemed like a picnic! Bernard was up the road with a couple of other riders. Myself, Dave and Sergey were still in the race. Valeriy and Ed went down in the pile up and had pulled the pin.

The rain had eased off by now and by lap four it was drying out a bit. A few teams started to chase the break and once they realized they couldn't catch the break and they were out of juice, Dave and I attacked across to Bernard with a couple of others to form a six-rider break. We kept the pace high and gradually pulled further and further away from the field.

It feels good to be on the podium
Photo ©: Mt Holly-Smithville GP
(Click for larger image)

With three of us out of six in the break we could keep the break rolling, even if some guys skipped turns! After the seven big laps were done we still had a lead of more than two minutes. There were only five of us left for the three local laps. The first time we climbed the small hill we planned to attack but one of the other riders had the same plan so Dave and I followed him. Once he eased up I attacked over him and got a gap straightaway. Dave sat on him for a bit before attacking and riding across back to me. We swapped off for the remainder of the laps and brought a one-two home for the team.

We ended up with first, second, fourth and sixth. Bernard also won the sprint comp! Another good day for the pockets and although we lost two men in the crash they weren't hurt too badly! Casualties of War!!!

The next report you'll be looking for is the one from the Tour de Toona, which we have actually finished. I'm just a bit behind the eight ball at the moment and will have it out to you all ASAP.

So till next time, Stay vertical!

Chady

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