Listening to Phil and Paul speculating that Jason Donald's near record time in the prologue of the Tour of California was kind of funny. I knew that it wasn't a fluke as they went so far as to suggest.
In 2005, I raced the High Uintas Classic. It was my 3rd or 4th race ever, and I was a Cat. 5. As I pulled my bike out of my trunk, a 4-Runner pulled up next to me. As I made my race preparations, so did 4-Runner guy. He pumped up his tires, mixed a couple of bottles, and hopped on the trainer. We greeted each other and started talking. He had just finished college; he was formerly a runner; he was from Colorado. But what struck me and what has caused me to follow him over the last year or two was the fact that, like me, he had started as a Cat. 5 in 2005. What I was impressed with was that as of June 2005, he was a Cat. 2!
Later, talking with his father, his father mentioned that Jason was trying to go pro. As expected from a father, Jason's father was quite supportive. His father mentioned that he had just finished college and Jason's wife was supporting him. Because I'm a skeptic by nature, I was less impressed by this story. I'd met several riders who were trying to make the big time. While I wished them the best, I always took their amitions with a grain of salt.
But when he won a stage at the Tour of the Gila and when he rode the Tour of Utah last year, my skepticism waned. Then, on Sunday, watching Jason Donald's time stick even after the likes of Hincapie, Cancellara, Zabriskie, Basso took their shot, I was transfixed. Going from a Cat. 5 in 2005 to nearly winning the prologue of a Pro Tour race in 2007 is quite a story -- one that should make me more of a believer.
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