Monday, July 27, 2009

Superweek and Chicago Crit

Last Thursday I tried my hand at another superweek race after the success of the lakefront road race. Athletes can be pretty superstitious, and what the heck I wasn't going to mess with success so I tried to mimic my morning from the lakefront race as much as possible. Breakfast at wildberry, no socks, no sleep, etc... The course was about a 1 mile crit which we did 30 miles of. The series leader (Marc) was at the race and I knew he was one of the key guys to watch if I was going to do well.

The race started and a few laps in Marc took off and I was the only one who went with him. We were away for 10 or 15 seconds only, the field would never let him get away. After about 8 laps a group of 8 got up the road and I saw it was a well represented break so the next lap I took off on the hill dragging a couple guys and we made the bridge. Geoff from leadout took control of the group and got us into a good rotation and gaining time on the peloton (which marc was in). Most of the group worked while some guys sat, we ended up gaining a lot of time on the pack and after dropping a few went to the line with 7. I managed to get myself in the 4th spot coming toward the winding finish line and sprinted first, with no one able to catch on soon enough!

Fast forward to yesterday and we have one of the biggest races of the year, the chicago criterium. This was its 2nd year being run, and my first crack at it. We had 7 get a grippers in a field of over 100. The race was very fast, about 27 mph and with no hard sections to really break up the group. There were a bunch of prime opportunities and even some that rewarded the 2nd guy across the line. I went for a couple and got one of them for $50. No breakaway really had a chance with the field pushing so hard until padfield snuck away with 3 laps to go. Get a grip got to the front in an effort to block and nobody in the field knew what to do or wanted to waste energy doing it.

Eventually burnham and team leadout with some help from others did a hard chase and closed the gap with under a lap to go. Right before the last corner things got tight while I was sitting in 8th or 9th place and a team leadout rider went down, I was immediately behind him slammed on my brakes and rode over his bike and flipped over my handlebars at close to 30mph. Somehow there was no serious damage and even the road rash was pretty minimal. The bike however got smashed hard and the handlebars jackknifed into the top tube on the fall and put a good ding in there. No finish for me, oh well but I got to do the whole race so overall a good experience.

heres an epic photo from ed white

Oh and one more thing, when racing in the city, park somewhere where you can ride to the race because $25 parking garages for a couple hours are no fun.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Unprepared to win

pic by John Wilke

Today I raced the Lakefront Road Race, superweek's 7th race. Usually I'm a little unorganized going into races but today was really over the top. I left my house and 9 and got to the race in plenty of time... so far so good. When I got there I realized I didn't have cash so I had to pay by check, extra fee = $46 to race. I forgot socks so I raced without any (gross), I had a flat front tire so I went to the neutral start to be told like a 5 year old to bring a tube until they finally felt bad enough for me and helped me out. I thought it was a crit so I brought only 2 gels and a skinsuit, and to top it all off I had only 3 hours of sleep. Not too condusive to having a good race... but somehow it worked.

The course was a 2.2 mile lap which we did 23 times totaling 50 miles. It started with a 30 second winding climb then at the top it took a near 180 and was fairly flat with a slight rise to the downhill which was snaking and technical to a 90 at the bottom where the wind hit you in the face for the long finishing straight. The race started off fairly easy with a lot of people attempting to break away but nothing stuck. With 18 laps to go 3 guys got up the road and got themselves a 35 second lead. I knew the break had a chance as nobody was chasing it so the next time on the climb I attacked hoping to get a couple guys to come with to bridge up... nothing. I was in no mans land 10 seconds ahead of the break and still too far to bridge solo. I didn't care anymore so I just went for the break. After 2 laps of chasing, slowly but surely I caught one guy from the break who was just dropped and we worked together for a few pulls. As the 2 leaders were only 10 seconds away on the hill I gave it a good push leaving the guy behind and I soon caught them. After a short rest I jumped in the rotation and the 3 of us worked really well together.

For the 17 remaining laps it was probably as close to sharing an equal workload as you could have asked for. We all knew our strengths and pulled hard on different spots on the course to keep our gap. The peleton got close at one point and after that effort the gap started growing again up to almost 2 minutes. There were attempts off the front but nobody caught us so we went to the line together. I knew I had a decent sprint as long as there wasnt a pure sprinter in the group so I took off at about 150 meters and when I looked up I was the first one accross the line!

Friday, July 10, 2009

2nd half of the year

every once in a while i go to the velodrome for intervals, today was as perfect as a day could be.

I've been able to get an awesome first half of the year in (arizona, california, new team) but there's still plenty left. no great results yet to speak of (a couple 4th's) so im hoping that with all the crits coming there will be some good news around the corner. After taking a look at the next few months I've selected some key races and will fill in others as time comes closer. I'm always excited about the august illinois crits but am really looking forward to the 2 tri's planned after that. September is a half ironman in minnesota with my cousin jeff. i still don't swim but as soon as downers grove is over i swear im gonna practice. the other tri im really looking forward to as well, it's the kickapoo dam triathlon which is done by paddling the first leg with a teammate (my dad), then breaking off and riding 14 miles followed by running a 5k. they should provide a good mental break from riding the pizza cutters every day.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

taking it easy

and sometimes you just need to go for an easy ride...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Recap sunday

After Saturdays road race Chris and I both knew we had 2 fun days of racing in and realized we had one more in the morning. The thing was it was only going to last about 20 minutes... and it did. The circuit race was 4 laps around presque isle which is exactly 2 miles around. With such a small race in the morning we decided to have a few drinks which led to quite a few more and before you knew it we were both drinking all night long. When morning came we did our regular prep of oatmeal (no coffee this time) and headed over to the race. One of the best things about this whole series was that we could ride to every race in 5 minutes from Garrett's.

Anyways the course consisted a small flat section a big hill and gradual downhill and a couple sharp fast turns into the finish. Going up the hill I attacked and got into a break of 5 which was looking strong for a lap but at that point people stopped rotating and crossing the line for lap 2 we were reabsorbed with the pack. At that point Chris made a brilliant move and attacked, with one other guy he stayed away from the pack for the remaining 2 laps and out muscled his break partner for first. This put an awesome cap on a really fun weekend!!