Monday, July 30, 2007

One of the Guys for a Few Days

These races were 35 mile criteriums (about an hour and 15 minutes of racing..)

Day 1 (Sheboygan, WI): Racing with the 40+ Master's Men at Superweek started with a small Midwestern monsoon, that soaked the field. The race started with a sprinkle, then, more and more...what seemed like puddles fell from the sky. I ended up using some good 'ol homegrown common sense after 15 minutes of racing in the rain with the guys. It was wet while I lasted, but I was glad I was not in there when some of those big guys started going down on the wet course. Whew!

Day 2 (Kenosha, WI): A little over 50 guys on the line, 2 women, sunny, breezy, great day for racing. I held my own, and finished in the field in 33rd place. Average speed was about 27 mph...not as fast as the Pro Women, but hey, I'm gettin' there.

Day 3 (Whitefish Bay, WI): 41 guys on the line, 2 women, sunny, breezy, perfect day for racing. Somewhat technical course with a couple of tight corners (which I love!). The group was smaller, and harder to hide in. I worked pretty hard when the group strung out in a single file line. But there I was in 28th place when the day was done. Great race, fast and hard, just like I remember!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Final Four Women's Races of Superweek

I took a few days to recover (coach's orders) from the first weekend of Superweek racing. I was feeling my bum a bit from crashing on Saturday, so it turned out to be a good thing. All of these races had 40-50 women in them, and they were 30-35 mile criteriums.

THURSDAY (July 19)- I was back to the mix in Shorewood with some other fresh legs. I did not feel that great, so I mostly sat in the bike race. The course was super bumpy, and there were several attacks here and there. The back stretch was wide and safe, but it was not quite enough for me to move far enough forward on the last lap to be in the money, or in contention. Race over, stayed upright, kept half the pack at my back.

FRIDAY (July 20)-was a great course in Green Lake, Wisconsin (the deepest lake in Wisconsin). I loved the course. It had a little (big ring) digger hill on it, that took about 15 seconds to get up and over. There were some fast laps, and I burned a few more matches than I would have liked, in order to get a good finish, so, no stellar finish today either. But, one more race in my legs. I can feel them coming along. YES!!!

SATURDAY (July 21)- Carl Zach Memorial in Waukesha (in Memorial of a great Midwestern bike racer, and wonderful guy). First day racing without the Pros. It was still relatively fast, but for shorter stints than the pros can put out. I felt better today. I really liked the course. It was fast, and fun. Some good attacks, and a TON of prime laps (race within a race for one lap to get CASH). I got myself farther forward at the end of the race, and was able to get myself in the money for 16th place. I was happy....Still am...

SUNDAY (July 22)- New Superweek course in Evanston, Illinois. Great racing, great corners!! The race was fast, there were some fresh Chicago legs there. I felt better today than I have felt ALL season! I was in heaven racing today. I avoided a crash pretty early on, and was able to close the gap in front of me to stay in the bike race. I moved forward on the last lap, the sprint was LONG, so I just kept holding wheels in front of me, and going around them. A few riders went by me in the long sprint, I was nipped at the line by 11th place, and got 12th in the race. Felt great, look forward to more!

Now, more rest, and I will race with the guys later this week.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bensenville-Ahhh Much Better Bike Racing

Sunday was Bensenville (near Chicago). Again, about 40 women on the line. 40 laps. A few fresh legs that I did not see on Saturday. Course was somewhat technical with 6 corners instead of 4. The pace was much faster, and more steady (huge sigh of relief). I stayed farther forward (duh). But the course was also more conducive to a steady rhythm of racing. There were plenty of attacks. I brought one back to the field, which had gone up the road about 15 seconds or so. As a solo rider, it's a bit risky to do that. But I only did it once, then took my place back in the field as far forward as possible, but not at the keep myself in the fast part of the race. There are quite a few solo riders here this week! A few attempts to get away got reeled back in by the aggressive field. The South Bay Wheelmen's Women's Squad from Southern California has a good strong group of 4 women. With 4 laps to go, the pace increased. Whew. With 2 to go, we slowed up a Then, the Cheerwine Team formed as much of a train as they could with 2 riders, to bring up the pace for Kelly Benjamin, sprinter extraordinaire. Thank goodness! I stayed as far forward as I could. I stayed intact, and came around a few riders in the final sprint for 16th place. I was pleased. Thanks for reading.

Blue Island-Blue Bottom First Race at Superweek

Hey All,
Saturday was the first race of Superweek (7 days of NRC racing with Pro 1/2 women, and 2 additional days of NON-NRC racing with Pro 1/2/3 women). Followed by another week of men's racing and Cat. 3/4 women's racing.
At Blue Island, Illinois (near Chicago) the course was about 1 mile, very non-technical, 40 laps. There were about 40 women who started. A few select Pros from Cheerwine and Aaron's, but mostly Elite Amateurs from around the USA. The race was not all that fast, which sometimes makes for sketchy fact there were a couple of dangerous slow-ups on the straightaways that caused havoc in the field. I was right in front of the first one, and missed it. With about 15 laps to go, I was right behind the second crash, and was merging left, merging left, applying the brakes, still rolling slowly right before the pile of bikes, that had gone down....and WHAM &@#^%&^!!! someone T-boned me from the side, and while rolling along slowly, I went down on my left B--- Cheek, and skidded on it. I got up, walked around a bit, to make sure nothing was too "off". I went to the wheel pit, got back in the race. The race sped up a bit after that, and I hovered about mid pack. I felt a little banged up, so was a bit hesitant to change my position too much. When it came down to the last lap, I just followed suit, and sat in the line. I was 22nd overall, and really glad I was o.k.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wisconsin State Criterium Championships

Racing in the Midwest is always a treat, whether it's with the men, or the women. Although the women's race was brief and to the point, there were 20 women on the line, including a couple of local stars good at sprinting. We formed a break of 5 of us pretty quickly, representing 3 teams back in the field, and two solo riders like myself. The break stayed away, and boiled down to 4 of us coming through the second to last corner side by side (we were all from different teams, and no one wanted to lead anyone else out). Two riders jumped, then I jumped, and the winning rider was on my wheel. She came around me, and the other two riders to win. Good Girl! I got 4th. Now I know which riders can sprint. I won some cash, and had fun! I cooled down, got some food in me, and a couple of hours later, did the Master's 30+ Men's race (60 min). The course was a little technical with corners, so I was loving it. I love corners!!! I finished with the field, and called it a great day of training at the races. Next week, racing with the big girls again......

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Racing back to Racing

In the world of bike racing, there is a flow to things. When you train for racing, you are basically preparing for a physiological and mental experience that is tough to match anywhere but in an actual race. This may also be true for other sports, but it's especially true for bike racing. My season started off very slowly. Over the past few weeks, I have been re-entering the racing scene, after a couple of good training blocks. Ideally, I would have been racing since February or March, but this season was a little different, and I am here now, in the Midwest, growing where I am planted, where the racing is hot, and fast....with Midwestern women and men in some regional events.