Monday, August 6, 2007

Midwestern School of Bike Racing.....Homework Journal Entry

Hey All,
Racing in the Midwest is a little different than racing in Northern California. In Nor Cal, the biggest jackpot we get in most bike races, is on the starting line with the incredible talented field of riders from all over the region (which, by the way, is why I love Nor Cal Cycling so much!!). In the Midwest, we have a small pool of strong riders, and interestingly large purses.

Saturday August 4th- Lessons in Basic Bike Racing at Grayslake, Wisconsin:

Ten women on the line. 40 minutes plus 3 laps of a flat criterium. $650 purse paying 7 places deep. There were several attacks that we reeled in by the ISCORP girls from Milwaukee (there were 3 of them). Another strong rider from Athletes by Design (ABD) in Chicago area helped with the work, a brand new, strong young rider from "Get a Grip" Cycling Team and a local sprinter from Mercy Cycling team in Iowa City were there to cover things. There were cash primes (race within a race prizes for winner of the next lap), so those fast laps would string out the field a bit. With 3 laps to go, the officials rang the bell for a prime. I went with the lead riders, but was not interested in the prize. However, they went pretty hard, so it was a good effort to stay with them. Right after the prime was won, the ABD rider launched a beautiful attack from the back of the group of about 8 of us, and got a huge gap. We all hesitated, and missed her. There she went. We all chased (well I DID, with the field in tow) very hard, to no avail, then there it was 1 lap to go, still chasing, and not reeling her in. Geesh, good job ABD! I did what I could on the last lap, but it only got me 6th in the field sprint, and 7th overall. Optimal frustration, and humbling were a wonderful piece of this re-learned lesson. But, I was "in the money", I had stayed upright, and the workout was good. So, onward ho.

Sunday, August 5th-Going back to School in Elgin, Illinois:

Eleven women on the line. $2000 purse, paying 20 deep (hmm, with 11 racers, what does that mean? Yup, we would all get paid). Same crew as yesterday. My goal was to apply lessons re-learned yesterday today at school. 40 min plus 3 laps, technical criterium with a 1 block decent, followed by two flat corners and up into a 1 block climb that took about 15-20 seconds to get up in the big chain ring. Then the course kept ascending very gradually as a false flat around 2 more corners to the finish line. The ISCORP women were attacking and getting primes, as well as the "Get a Grip" rider. I decided to just watch everything happen today. I actually have never ridden a small race as conservatively as I did today. With 3 laps to go a prime was won by an ISCORP rider, and she, and another rider got away with a pretty good gap. Then two riders followed them with another good gap. I was gapped behind these four riders. I was not too worried as I knew I could make up ground in the corners and on the descent. I heard some yelling behind me about closing the gap, but I was not concerned. On the last lap, I let myself float back a bit, to see what was going to happen. The pace picked up, but it did not pick up over the digger, so I dug in, and stomped on the pedals hard passing the whole group by the top of the climb. I had a little gap after the climb, and just pressed as hard as I could over the long stretch to the finish. I was nipped at the line by ISCORP's sprinter, so I got 2nd place, but I was very pleased....I won $400, and a cool medal!!!
I know this is not nearly what racing with the Pros is like, but hey, it's fun, and lucrative, so what the heck. It's what I am doing right now. More school next weekend with the Pros.

1 comment:

Johnny Sprocket said...

Good racing there and way to cash in. Beats the heck out of a Velo Bob race for sure. Work your but off and you get a moldy/experienced "Death Ride" bottle scrounged from the road side somewhere as a hand up and a cheaply made t-shirt as a reward. $400 goes along way these days. Keep up the great work.