Monday, June 28, 2010

Peoria Cycling Classic 6.27.2010

I think it was about the middle portion of our 8 Day Disney Extravaganza Vacation when I signed up for this race. It is the Illinois State Criterium Championship and my first race as a 4. Typically 3 days off the bike and I get a bit crazy and do crazy things. This was no different.

After 3 days of chasing my fitness Sunday arrived and I headed to Peoria with Joe. He was fresh of a 2nd place finish at the 2010 USA Cycling Paralympic Road Nationals in Bend, OR. In typical PSIMET fashion Joe was sure to mention he wasn't feeling the best form. His recent travel and racing had him wore out.

Did I mention I was off the bike for 8 days?

As we rolled up to the starting line I felt nervous. Not anxious like in races before, but straight up nerves. Did I have my number pinned correct? Would I get clipped in? Am I in the big ring? Will I be able to hold onto the group? Don't take anyone out Rookie!?!?

Three turns into the race and the nerves were settled. A rider dived turn three cutting myself and one of the race favorites off. We had to slow to avoid him clipping us. The little non event calmed me because I realized I was not the worst bike handler in the field. :)

I spent the first half of the race in the back half of the pack. I spent the second half of the race in front half of the pack. I followed the wheel of the previously mentioned race favorite for most of that second half. Another solid learning lesson for me. Following a strong rider with excellent handling skills is always nice.

I would have loved to follow Joe, but he was too busy being tired AND Off The Front gapping the pack. Dude is a beast. The field was marking him too. At one point the pack slowed going into a turn and he strolled up on the outside. Strolling, not hammering, not surging, not nothing. Yet I hear someone yelling "ATTACK, ATTACK on the outside. ATTACK on the left."

Onward: I was almost gapped twice on the stretch into wind due to poor corning and a gust of cross wind. Around the 30 minute mark I started wondering if I could keep this effort up for 10 more minutes. With two to go I moved towards the front behind Joe. I lost him somewhere though with one to go. Coming into the last two right handers Eric from BH went zooming past. I grabbed his wheel (Or was that tried??). I was there for a bit, but was toast as we hit the final stretch.

I was passed by many riders on that final stretch. I was pushing it and the legs were burning. At the end of the race I felt like I had nothing left. However, today I am recalling something Joe said and I realize I could have pushed harder.

"You sprint until you turn your insides out."

Despite being boxed in the last two turns Joe still managed 7th. I think I spotted him picking up his insides before getting his payday.

I really enjoyed the course. Eight turns, closed roads, wide roads, smooth roads... The race was fast and smooth. 25.8 mph for 40 minutes is no joke.

Team PSIMET had a smaller turnout for this race with it being 2 plus hours away for most of us. Still, we brought home a 9th in the Masters 30+, 5th in the CAT 3, and Joe's 7th. Nice work boys.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

bump n grind

*late report, but just got back from an extended vacation. time to find the bike and some form. i hope*

Sherman Park Crit this past Saturday. they had two 5 races, so i did two races.

first one, rode well and near the front. i was ready to make a move. however, i missed the one to go bell and had no idea the race was over. i never got my sprint on. mid pack finish. i blame the damn lady near the start/finish who rang her big arse cow bell every time around. or maybe not.

second one, rode well and near the front, but a bit too much on the inside out of the draft and in the wind. led a couple laps. payed attention this time and caught the one to go. tried to get my sprint on coming out of the last turn as i sat top ten. i left my sprint at home though. mid pack finish.

this was the least technical crit i have done all year. a complete oval where brakes should not be needed. i was involved in some bumping and grinding in race one. in race two i had a wheel near the front as things started to heat up. i am pretty sure it was my wheel and told the guy to my right as much. he hit me anyway. i thought his front skewer was going to rip apart my PSIMET hoops. next i think our bars hooked. he gave me the bump, i didn't panic, bounced off a guy shooting up the left (inside) and back into him. this sent him him off course. not sure if he went totally down or not.

that is 13 starts as a 5. my 4 upgrade is approved. now i go on vacation for 8 days. that should help my form a lot......

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

the MOVE

6.6.10 Wonder Lake Lakeside Crit

on this day i would continue onward with my struggles to figure this racing thing out.

it was me and the 4 year old who were making the trip North for the race. we left early, got lost, stopped to go potty, watched Barbie the Mermaid Tale, cried (that was me) and eventually found our way to registration 15 minutes prior to race number one.

Bangert was racing and had his family in tow as well. his lovely wife and two kids had offered to watch my daughter while we raced. super nice of them, but this is pretty much the norm on our team. it could be the Bangert's, the Knoepke's, the Speciale's, the Cook's ,the Curtis family.....ect.....this is a great bunch of people.

CAT 5 race. i didn't get much of a warm up in, but such is life. PSIMET Racing was represented in this race with 6 racers. i think Low and i had the same plan, watch Bellum Racing and do what they do. in the end they didn't really do anything though.

there isn't much to say about the race. despite 4 tight turns on this 1.3 mile loop the 5s were pretty calm. the pace was being driven by the xXx rider who we have seen drive the pace before. he is strong and was OTF a couple times.

with one to go i was on Low's wheel who was on Bellum's wheel. we were on the outside going into turn 3. i wanted to go and grab Low for a move, but in a blink of an eye a strong move went up the inside. i was left scrambling to get un boxed and back in the mix. i didn't and came out of turn 4 frustrated just strolling over the line for 12th (30 starters).

CAT Masters 30+ 4/5 race. approximately 60 minutes later we lined up for this race. the 4s had just finished and we watched Raviv ride strong for 4th. we had 5 riders in this race and for the couple of 4s this was back to back efforts.

my plan was to follow Raviv's wheel and get some racing education. here is what i learned; riding in the top 10 is way more better than not. srsly.

i fought to keep his wheel and did so until the very end. i lost it on the back stretch when a move was made that he followed. i attempted to bridge back up and take Joe with me. almost, but a combination of getting squeezed and popping in turn 3 had me toasted. Joe went by on the inside and finished 14th. i was 23rd out of 37.

Raviv finished 2nd. that was back to back races resulting in a 4th & 2nd. he should be a three any day now.

all done and my so so efforts and results had left me wanting......

however, watching the CAT 3 race changed that. one thing i love about cycling is the limits. the ones you know about and the ones you don't. pushing beyond them to do something one didn't think or know they could do. this is cool to see. watching a teammate do it, well that's priceless.

(Click the blog post title for details on the MOVE)