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.


Eric said...

Glad you're okay, Ben. Such a crowded finish and a crowded corner... could have been much worse. I think it was a Leadout Racer that went down in front of you. Same yellow bike, but none of our guys crashed (we had mostly evaporated after chasing CP).

Ben LaForce said...

you are right, i got confused by the bike. fixed.

Nick said...

Hey this is Nick Fochtman the guy that you ran into. I saw the link to your blog through CBR. Glad to hear that you're doing okay. Sorry you happened to be stuck behind me but I didn't have much control over whatever moron chopped my front wheel right out from under me. A great example of someone who turns their brain off at the most important moments of the race. Good luck with the rest of your season.