Pita House Rules

by David Saussy

bicycle chain

“Dutch Boy” Plugs Dike, Paints Greenville Spring Series Paramount Red

(Greenville, SC) On a weekend when most of his teammates begged out of racing due to the prediction of inclement weather, Rene Quadt rode through a nagging respiratory tract infection to capture the Cat 4 Omnium in the Greenville Spring Series. Despite lack of sleep and coughing up sections of the nether regions of his lungs, Quadt turned to his powerful sprint to finish fifth in the very windy 35 mile Donaldson Road Race on Saturday morning, and second in the equally windy 34 lap Greenville-Pickens Speedway Criterium on Sunday morning. In doing so, he amassed a total of 50 points in the series, beating his closest competitor by a whopping 24 points.

After a hard rain on Friday night, Saturday morning dawned cool, and overcast, but dry. While most of their Spin Cycle cohorts retreated to the warmth of their beds, nervously counting bike coupons, Quadt and David “Decoy Boy” Saussy, having upgraded from Motel 6 to the nearby Comfort Inn enjoyed a nourishing (?) free “Continental Breakfast” of instant oatmeal and toast. No “secret syrup” to stoke the fires this weekend. As the sun occasionally peeked from behind the clouds, the morning warmed into the 60s and the winds picked up on the brief drive to the race course. Quadt, foreshadowing his overall victory in a long sleeve yellow jacket, and Saussy joined their temporary teammates Mark White and Scott Johnston (Greenville Spinners/Eastside Chiropractic) for a warm-up lap and race strategy session.  They were met at the line by Paul Pavlides of Hurricane Cycling (Wilmington), and formed an ersatz team of five for the race. Despite the forecast for thundershowers, the weather was quite pleasant at the start, other than a fierce headwind on the backstretch. Indeed, the showers held off until the afternoon Masters, Cat 3, and Pro/1/2 races.

An early breakaway by Johnston and two others, who took off at the gun, gained as much as a 50 second lead, but was reeled in after the finish of the first lap. The next three laps saw little action by the peloton, with occasional attacks by the Va Tech, U Ga, and ASU teams, all well covered, and a bit of showboating as the pack crossed the start/finish line on each lap. On the fifth and final lap, one of the Georgia teams launched an effective attack, and put one rider off the front. The peloton did little to reel him in this time despite lackluster blocking by the leader’s team.  Frustrated by the pack’s passivity, Saussy rolled to the front and drove the pace up to close down the gap. As the riders neared the 1 km point, the rest of the group began to get animated, and picked up speed. The field sprint began about 300 m out, and Quadt charged from mid-pack to finish fifth, with White and Pavlides not far behind in the top 10, and Johnston and Saussy putting the rest of the hastily formed team into the top 20.

Sunday morning found the intrepid Spin Cycle riders preparing for a sunny but chilly day of racing on the 0.5 mile oval at the Greenville-Pickens Speedway. By this time, Quadt had collected 37 points in the Omnium, and the second place rider was not in attendance, so he had the series sewed up, and did not need to race. While others in his condition - little sleep  due to a hacking cough, chilled with a fever - would have taken this opportunity to rest, Quadt dismissed any thoughts of not racing as “mental pettiness,” and took a few rounds of warm-up laps prior to lining up for the race. Thus fortified, Quadt prepared for the start as the promoter announced that there would be a couple of primes during the race. Knowing the pace would be high, and chances of breakaways slim on a short course with a strong headwind on the front straightaway and in turn one, the pack was jittery. Indeed, early laps saw more bumping and grinding between racers than there had been in the previous evening’s NASCAR race.

About 1/3 of the way into the race, the bell was rung for a $20 prime. One of the Va Tech Hokies launched an immediate attack with Saussy  right on his wheel. The pack closed the gap by the backstretch. As the pace wound up into the 3rd and 4th turns, Saussy jumped around the leader, sprinting hard for the cash. He had gone a bit too soon, and Pavlides, who had grabbed his wheel, came around in the last 25 meters to capture the prize. Some 10 laps later, the bell rang for a merchandise prime. This time Johnston led the way around the circuit. The rest of the race settled down with attacks on each lap, the pace quickening as the final lap approached. All this time, Quadt was sitting in the peloton, conserving energy and staying out of trouble. As the end of the race approached, he moved into position for the final effort.  With the commencement of the bell lap, he moved up and to the outside, ramping up speed along the back straightway, diving into the turns, and shedding riders as he launched into the finishing sprint, throwing his bike across the line, a close second in a photo finish.

The Omnium thus secured, Quadt collected congratulations, a check for the race, and the “trophy” for the overall victor, and drove off into the setting sun, looking forward to his future as a Cat 3.

Page maintained by Tom Sheffield and last revised on Monday, March 20, 2000.
[ NCBC home page ]