2010 Flatlandia Kermesse, Leland, IL -Road Race, 15 mile laps including three sections of gravel. -CAT 5 was three laps.
I arrived early in fact way earlier then I wanted or needed to. Does that race day excitement wear off eventually? By now everyone knows, it was sunny, but windy, which made it cold AND there was some gravel. Not hard packed Cottonwood Pass dirt road stuff, but good old country living loose gravel road stuff. In fact, I do believe they grow there gravel rocks pretty darn big out there in Leland.
Let’s get rolling; as we roll out with a neutral start I immediately realize I am stuck on the right and in the cross wind. At least I was in the big ring and got clipped in. One of these days I will get the starting stuff right. I wasn’t sure how my legs would be since I was pre occupied with some allergies and a nasty neck/shoulder stiffness & pain. I was rolling next to and chatting up EC from BH. Everyone knew he was the guy to keep an eye on. He goes and I imagine 10 of us follow. It was pretty tame before that first section of gravel. The nasty crosswind blew me into the gutter, but my mad skills saved it without losing ground. Minutes later EC did the same thing, which we laughed about later. At one point I bumped into Bangert as I moved up and our bars got hooked. No worries, me and him are like Fonzie and avoided disaster without anyone noticing.
Mile 8ish of the first lap we made that left onto the first gravel section. I was midpack I believe going into it. No one went down, but everyone seemed to panic a bit including me. Next thing I know I am going backwards. Hey, so is Bangert. Hey, so is MCook. Hey, so is MZ. At least I had company. It did organize fairly quickly after that and we had one very long line of riders. I was worried, but everyone was still in sight, even if I was oh so way back. We took a left and EC took darted to the left side taking riders with him. No worries, I am still in the game. Next we hit a right turn with some seriously soft gravel right in the middle of it. I have never seen riders fall down so slowly. It was funny and it was not funny. They were falling right in front of me. I think 3 dudes just fell over.
They didn’t take anyone down with them, I think, but it fractured the group. I was way back now. Two or three groups were riding away, including the winning one with EC. I was on Bangert’s wheel with two other riders for the next couple minutes. It felt like we were slowing down when we needed to be hammering down. I got the sense that everyone was going into self survival mode. I don’t blame anyone for that, heck I was in that mode too. However, I needed to be in race survival mode, so I went. At some point MCook picked me up or I picked him up and we pressed on hard in that gravel.
As we rolled out of that section onto the pavement and into a tailwind we had passed everyone, but the leaders. We could still see them and MCook was ready to go go. I wasn’t sure. We had not even completed lap one. It would take a huge effort for only two of us to catch that group. I said we should wait for someone to bridge up and help. We needed help.
No one ever came. I don’t think anyone ever tried. Not sure. I don’t know how long we sat up, but eventually we pressed on. It was too damn late. At mile 10 our race for the podium was over.
The balance of the race was just as epic. MCook and I both took pointless flyers off our 5 man group at one point. After the race we were like, WTF. Lap two had me gunning it at 30 mph with that tailwind on the last section of gravel. I was floating on the crap. Ran out of water. Purposely shed some riders on the last lap to try to ensure top tens for us.
Last lap we hit the tailwind with a 5 from Half Acre. I try to drop him, he tries to drop me, does, but MCook brings us back. He made a great move on the gravel where he gunned it on a slight incline to pass some riders. I burnt my last match getting back to his wheel. As we are about to exit the gravel and turn to the finish I yell back, “MCook you still there?” and he is. I was hoping we could take the Half Acre rider, but we didn’t. No sprint, he just jumped and I couldn’t.
8th for MCook and 9th for me. Me and the kid had a great time out there. For sure.
Race stats for those who care. Max HR and CAD data is not correct.
my third race and first road race. the 29 mile loop was a challenge for me and my skillz. tight country roads with winter muck not washed away yet, short risers, short descents with tricky "s" turns, quick turns and the wind.
early start to the day since i was staying at the in laws about 60 miles away from the the race start. i didn't have the grand breakfast that some had, but i grabbed a McGriddle and some coffee in Litchfield. i got to tell you something, a pancake muffin injected with syrup is pure genius. god bless the Golden Arches.
i was pretty early to the start getting a prime parking spot near the start/finish. checked in, got instructions on proper number placement. since there were two, a giant one and a small one, i had the lady write down on the back which side which number went. later when the full crew arrived Rob pointed out that i pinned the numbers on wrong or backwards. even when a CAT 5 follows instructions he is wrong.
it was cool to hang out with the experts of the team before the start. warm up was solid as i rolled out with Rob, Kyle and Crystal. in typical Rob fashion he was all 411 and i was taking it in.
the first time we went up the "big climb" the sharp left turn on the decent really surprised me. i was in the gravel, then the grass, but managed to keep it all together. after that turn is the decent into and onto the brick road. my first thought was holly sh!t. i was coasting down it and hitting 30 with ease. the transition to the brick road is plastered with asphalt patches, uneven payment, and oh yeah, a left hand turn at the bottom. next, after the decent the bricks continue, slightly uphill, and i was bouncing all over the place. i was not comfortable on this section at all. i took two more warm up passes on it though. all that and all i had done was a solid warm up.....
lets race. the neutral start was helpful since i was small chaining it at the start line. Matt and I lined up together in the second row, then waited 10 to 15 minutes for the roll out. unfortunately, this would be the most time i spent with Matt.
4 miles in i was in the back 1/3rd of the pack. not due to fitness, but more a lack of skills. i need to work on getting my arse in the front half of packs and hope that comes with more races. the back was all that CAT 5s are said to be; brakes, surges, brakes, surges, squirrels, brakes, and surges.
then, everyone yells slowing, i hear brakes, i hear metal, i hear a pop, and the guy in front of me locks up his brakes. i got no where to go, so i continue forward on my line, slowing, but not braking, and i believe i pushed that guy off the road into the ditch. i either got my tire square on his or into his RD. not sure, but my first thought was braking hard was not the right thing. 5 seconds later i see Matt, who had been riding well near the front, floating back. remember the pop? as we pass i say, "flat" he says "flat" then i say "fuck" and slam my bars.
4 miles in his day was done.
i spent the next 16 miles at the back of the pack. i never got comfortable. braking and surging again and again. i would move up and fall back quickly. at one point on a nasty quick decent with a s turn i started to move up when a Metro East rider came blazing by on my left, into the gravel shoulder and i was sure he was bound for the ditch and a 10' drop. several minutes later he rejoined the pack, but i have more on him later.
riding at the back and being caught on the wrong side of the cross wind was killing me. no one was breaking away and no one was pushing the pace that hard. however, doing what i was doing was bad. at mile 20 the pace did pick up a bit and i was falling off the lead 20 guys. we hit a roller and i found myself standing, nailing it, and losing ground.
all i could hear was Curtis; "don't ever lose the wheel in front of you. do everything you can to stay with the pack.do it."
standing and hitting it hard for only 5 strokes, i pause, 5 more, i think i am done.
no no no. i am telling myself this out loud with a few curse words that i believe could have been DQ'ed. i bury myself and i grab back onto the pack at mile 22ish.
at mile 25 the pace really picks up and i finally look down at the Garmin and think the two climbs should be coming. i look up and i see the feed zone climb. i like climbing.
i am on the inside as we hit the two hills and think that is dumb. we shed riders in the feed zone. as we hit the final hill a skinny rider stands to go at the base and the pace picks up. i keep thinking go, but wait. half way up that rider is blown up and going back. my inside line didn't hurt me and i passed half the pack on this section.
next we have the nasty left and mad decent. at the top, the previous mentioned Metro East rider asks me if there are any more hills and i say no, but watch out for the tricky left. he floats back and i am about 5th going into the turn. he returns, blazing inside me and yelling; "look out & I'm sorry." he has pushed me back into the soft gravel and grass ditch that i scouted on my warm up. he and several other riders fly past me.
shift, jump, check bottles, grab his wheel and i am bombing the decent. i don't bomb, but i did today. i was up, just off the saddle as we hit the rough stuff. i was passing everyone and catching the two leaders. as i hit 41 mph a sharp left approached, i was on the inside, then remembered i am also bad at taking corners at high speed. i brake hard and fall back.
i navigate that turn, but i was dead up the last little incline of bricks. somehow i passed two riders. we hit the corner and the better pavement, but two riders flew by me. maybe three not sure. i thought i was done and should sit up, then i look up and there aint that many riders in front of me. i cant stand, but i am turning the crank. i believe i passed two the last 200m to finish 6th.
i finished up my day cheering on PSIMET Racing. a really really nice day. congrats to those who raced, especially those doing two laps and double especially to those with a brick.
» Format of event: Criterium (Autobahn Race Track)
» Number of riders 30 in CAT 5
» Placing 15
» Distance 13.51 miles
» Time 00:36:41
» Average speed 22 mph
» Average Power 214w / Max Power 829w
» Notes on conditions, key moments and why I didn’t do better: Overcast, Drizzly, Cold & Windy. Local event in Joliet so limited drive time. Team had 6 riders in the 5s. A break at lap two of two stayed away. Pack raced for 3rd. Once again I went to the front to early. That effort into the wind killed me coming out of the last turn. I was in the lead again into that turn.
» Date 3/28/2010
» Name of event: COUGAR
» Format of event: Criterium (Autobahn Race Track)
» Number of riders 26 in MASTERS 30-39
» Placing DNF
» Distance 8.94 miles
» Time 00:25:10
» Average speed 22 mph
» Average Power 238w / Max Power 977w
» Notes on conditions, key moments and why I didn’t do better: Overcast, Drizzly, Cold & Windy. Local event in Joliet so limited drive time. Race #2 of my day. It started out super fast and never let up. I thought I would be OTB before the first turn. I hung of for 3 laps at the back then 3 laps with Thomas, then called it a day. OUCH.
» Notes on conditions, key moments and why I didn’t do better: Sunny, but cold for 8:30am start. 2 hour drive to S. Beloit. First real race and not the typical 4 corner crit style. More subtle and wide on the race track. I felt good. I lead going into the last turn, but worked too hard to get there and sat up as everyone flew past. Needed to wait longer. Fitness is there.
» Format of event: Criterium (Autobahn Race Track)
» Number of riders: 45 in Masters 30-39
» Placing: 37
» Distance: 17.11 miles
» Time: 00:41:00
» Average speed: 25 mph
» Average Power: 208w / Max Power 940w
» Notes on conditions, key moments and why I didn’t do better: Second Race of the day and my career @ 10:50am. The goal was to hang on to the main pack since Masters is an open CAT. Faster pace, but easy for Masters, I was told. Group stayed together with no breaks and I handled the surges. Need to be more in the pack for experience.