Monday, April 21, 2008

Charleston Races: The Alpaca Supremacy?

“I really want it. I have to have it.” Hadley had been talking about it since last year. The team was standing around an island in Len and Linda Hanson’s kitchen at their home in I’on Village. Before us was a spread of food that included fresh fruits and veggies as well as sandwich fixin’s and a curry chicken salad to die for. Hadley’s face was a color similar to the celery – a little pale, a little green. I had never seen her so nervous before a race. “What’s wrong with her?” our host family asked.

We had seen it earlier that morning. It was hanging behind the registration table taunting us; begging to be touched and well within our reach but so far from our grasp. It was not a unicorn this year, nor was it a rug, but it was just as glorious: an Alpaca Killer Whale Pillow Sham!

All talk steered toward a plan to capture the big prize of the day. And with each plan Hadley looked more worried. We still had 4 hours before our race started. Thank goodness for the Hanson’s and thank goodness for their beautiful home and especially the pool which served as a great place to relax. The race approached. 3:55 PM and finally it was race time!

Annie and I were lined up at the front. The officials presented the Alpaca Killer Whale Pillow Sham to the racers. The gun went off. “Alpaca Prime on the first lap! First lap Alpaca Prime!” called the announcer, Chad Andrews. I took off knowing full well I would destroy my legs for the rest of the race. The group was strung out as we rounded a corner into a headwind. Christina came around me with Hadley and Annie on her wheel. We rounded the last 2 corners of the first lap and the sprint started on the slight incline to the start/finish line. The familiar sound of gears changing and wind passing loudly around spokes filled the air as the pace quickened. The sprint was on.

“And the Alpaca Prime goes to…Hadley Trotter, Team 19!” Whew! The pressure was off. Now it was time to win the race. Would it be possible?

Um, yes. A flurry of attacks and chases kept the pace very fast. But in the end, it wasn’t enough to slow down Christina who took the field sprint and the win at the I’on Village Smackdown for Team 19 WSD.

Back at the Hanson’s, our new friends Len and Linda, who had been at the race cheering for us, set out glasses and 2 bottles of Champagne. We celebrated our victories with a toast to each other and a big thanks to our hosts, who were the honorary team members of the day for keeping us well fed and hydrated all day long.

Now the big question – will it be possible to have an Alpaca Prime next year? Four years running? Fingers crossed.

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