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(Nic Brown (LeMond Fitness/Captain CRA-Z Soap) leading
Wes Sielger (West Virginia) through the start finish
when they were two minute up on the main field)

Wachovia US Pro Championships
Philadelphia, PA, June 8, 2003
by Bill Innes

(Bill Innes, a member of the LeMond Fitness/Captain CRA-Z Soap Pro Team, filed this report from the US Pro Championships, where an estimated 500,000 people were in attendance for the race through the streets of Philadelphia.  The event received considerable regional television coverage as well as national broadcasts on the Outdoor Life Network).

The day was starting out a little fuzzy. The sun was hidden under a veil of mist that clung to the edges of the downtown buildings like moss on trees. Where has the sun been, we all wondered, where has it been all month?  There was only coffee that tasted like it had come from a latrine at the hotel but we had little time to enjoy it since we had to be at the start nice and early. Parading around in your kit seems only to lock the nerves up, but it was good exposure for our sponsors since we finally had clothing to wear. Adrian (Laidler), Leigh (Palmer), Eneas (Freyre), Andy (Crater) and I slipped our way down to the start, leaving Nic (Brown) behind to get some last minute things together in the hotel.

At the start finish area we found the car and broke out the leg oil since it was a little cold and wet. We made it over to our tent where we met up with Helen Iams, who some of us would like to recruit as team doctor.  She gave me a quick little peak flow test, which I failed miserably. I started hacking up some green stuff. Not a good sign before the biggest race of the year.  We lined up way to early but it was a chance to see some of my friends that made the trip over from NYC to see the race, as well as some old friends that I'd not seen since Boulder days. It was a good reunion, but altogether shortened by the playing of the National Anthem. It was time to go to work.

The horn sounded and we rode off for the first of three short laps around the start finish area, then we streaked by for the last time, heading for the first encounter with the 17% grade of the infamous Manayunk wall.  It was startling to hear all the screaming as the pack pondered it's way up.  It took a long time to reach the top as we were all thinking of saving our legs, all except four guys who tore off the front and quickly got two minutes on the pack. It stuck for the majority of the day. Nic got himself into a move with Wes Siegler from Team West Virginia and they planted themselves two minutes up on the pack and two minutes behind the leaders. 

The feed zone was a little chaotic so I went back and forth from the car to get some refreshments for the boys. It was fun to see the LeMond Fitness car up in the #2 spot in the caravan. It's usually buried in the back somewhere, never to be seen. But now there it was in all its stickered glory, which was good too, the decals only arrived that week. It'd been funny to see a plain car feeding a pro team, though. So I grabbed the bottles and snacks form Joe Holmes, rally driver extraordinaire, and headed up the side of the pack to get all the boys. Andy got his special bottles delivered at 35 mph, as did Adrian and Eneas. Leigh and I took to the back once again in case we were going to cough up a lung or anyone needed anything.

The race flew by and we knew that it was time the hammer fell. With 6 laps to go, after getting plenty of TV time, Nic and his breakaway partner were caught.  The pack then streaked up the hill like a formula one car on a light load. I hung on for grim death and barely made it onto the back of the field.  Lemon Hill was next and that was more of the same, as well as the flat section towards the finish, as well as...well pretty much it went balls out until we hit the wall again and I got popped, but Andy, Nic, and Adrian hung on.  I met up with an Italian guy and he and chatted on the way into the tents, though I've to be honest and confess that I didn't understand a thing. He spoke a little too fast for my gutter Italian skills. Leigh and Eneas were in the tent when I arrived and we slammed down some Cokes and got cleaned up.

The pack continued tearing it up, capturing the lead break of four guys with three laps to go and then it all went to hell.  Attack after attack until 50 men were left in the lead bunch.  It seemed like someone would get away, but it stayed together and the field sprint exploded on the final run in to the line.  It looked like streaks of red, yellow, white and blue, but in the end it was Zanini from Saeco who pulled out the win, with Mark McCormack becoming the US Pro champion with his fourth place finish.

In all it was a good day for LeMond Fitness/Captain CRA-Z-Soap, considering we were all feeling a little under the weather. We got some good exposure for the sponsors with Nic being out front all day and with Adrian and Andy finishing it was good for morale. I'm off to get my peak flow up...as well as find out where I can find the sun!

LeMond Fitness/Captain CRA-Z Soap is a Division III professional cycling team with a focus on developing “stars of the future”. 

The LeMond Fitness/Captain CRA-Z Soap Pro Cycling Team is proud to be sponsored by LeMond Fitness (www.lemondfitness.com), Captain CRA-Z Hand and All Purpose Soap (www.cra-z.com), Blender Magazine (www.blender.com), American Italian Cancer Foundation (Honorary Sponsor - www.aicfonline.org), Mazza Consulting, King Capital, K-Rain (www.K-Rain.com), Aardvark Consulting (www.aardvarkconsulting.com), MAL Capital, MiDa, Velocity (www.velocitygym.com),  Il Fiore Ristorante, Trilogy Capital, ComfortDirect.com, Passerelli Landscaping Services, SoBe Lean (www.SoBeBev.com), R&A Cycles (www.racycles.com) as well as numerous individual benefactors.

Suppliers: LeMond Bicycles (www.lemondbikes.com), Spinergy wheels (www.spinergy.com), Profile Design (www.profile-design.com), Northwave shoes (www.northwave.it), Limar helmets (www.trialtir-usa.com/2003-limar/limar.htm), Rudy Project (www.rudyproject.com), DeFeet (www.DeFeet.com), Speedplay (www.speedplay.com), Nokian tires (www.nokiantyres.com/bike), Mazur Coaching (MazurCoaching.com), Honey Stinger (www.honeystinger.com)

Visit the team web site at www.KissenaSports.com

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