What a great weekend--food, fun, college life, no schoolwork, 12 hours in the car, 7 people in a motel 6 hotel room, and; oh, some bike racing!
Here's the offical U-dub Madison race report.
Warmish 55 degrees. Windy. Very windy. The couse was a windy, narrow residential road 8 mile loop around a lake in central Indiana. Yellow line rule was in effect. The race was super big--over 100 Mens B riders--so I took it right to the front at the start and never backed off. 10 minutes into the race, a short steep hill breaks up the field, and 3 of us get a break off the pack. My legs feel good and I want to go, so I punch it and hold it. The field slowly fades away 10, 15, 20 seconds as I motor along. Unfortunately, no other riders kept my wheel and UW was not at the front of the pack to block for me. So I sat up after 10 minutes, let the pack come back, and stayed at the front. As the race went on, I continued to feel good. I was very aggressive and continued to attack the pack, seeing if anyone would come in a break with me. My teamate Erik made a move, I joined him, but the field always chased. IU sat on the front the entire race, doing nothing, and chasing down their own teamates. Smat one, IU. They wern't in the top 10.
Fast forward to the end of the race. I'm still at the front the last lap. There's a crash behind me with about 3 miles to go. I attack. The field comes with me, but there are only about 25 guys left. I fade back to 10th place and look for my teamates--especially Brent, who we were hoping to lead out in a sprint. Brent was in the crash, and Dallas, Ben, and Erik were at the back of the selection, but still with the lead group. 1 Km to go. A couple of steep, short hills break up the field. I take the lead coming into the 2nd to last hill and hope to get a slight gap leading up to the VERY steep uphill finish. I can't win an all out sprint, so I needed a small gap.
The gap wasn't quite big enough. With 100 feet to go, Illinois sprints by me at lightning speed, and I'm neck and neck with 3 other riders. I've been sprinting too long at the front, I loose 1 or 2 feet to the sprinters, and I end up in 5th.
Overall, a great race, I got in a great workout, and I finished very strong.
This was out day to shine! I felt great in the morning, and I knew that UW could pull off a great finish today if we all got on the front of the crit and worked together. It was colder. Way colder today. Below 30 degrees, but less wind, made for an interesting crit race located in the parking lot of a local IN high school. Despite the location, the crit was very fun and more or less safe. There were 5 corners in a "p" shape, with one big 180 degree corner on playground blacktop after a long straightaway. This course was FAST! The race began at a pretty moderate pace for a crit, but 1 lap into the race I notice my rear wheel bouncing up and down....flat tire! Quickly and carfully trying not to lean too hard on my softening rear tire, I coasted into the pit and swapped wheels. Next lap I'm back on the front of the pack, and 5 minutes later the preem bell rings. Our team plan was to lead out Brent for the preem, then attack after the preem sprint and start a break. I go for the preem lead out, but Brent is too far back in the pack to go for it. In fact, none of my team is in good position to go for the preem, so I take it away. I left some gas in the tank and let the IU sprinter come around me for 1st in the preem, but I started to motor it along after the sprint and start a break.
Ba-bing! That was it--I started the winning move today! 2 riders joined me in the break, and we slowly put a small 15 sec gap on the field. Unfortunately, the entire course was in the open, so the pack could always see us ahead of them. Depauw attacks in the pack, and the peleton comes within striking distance of my breakaway. Playing a VERY smart race today were Dallas and Erik. Erik jumps for the breakaway and manages to do a solo effort up to the break, while at the same time Dallas sits up and blocks the pack. Effective! We gain time very steadily on the pack, and pretty soon the gap is over 30 seconds. Unfortunately, with myself and Erik on the same team, we have to do all the work for the break. No problem--I'm feeling very strong, taking long, calculated pulls while Eirk rests as much as possible after his bridge effort. Dallas' blocking works even better, and our break gap increases even more. By now, the race is almost over, only 10 laps to go, and no one in the break will work. Everyone knows the break will stay away to the finish, so everyone wants to sit up, save energy, and sprint for it. Like I'm going to wait for that to happen!
Illinois attacks with 3 laps to go. I latch on his wheel, and Erik manages to grab on behind me. He pulls us to within striking distance of the main field! I come around the Illinois rider, counterattack him, and drag me and Erik back to the main field. Quickly, I move my way up to the front of the pack before the begining of the last lap and prepare for the sprint. Everything goes smoothly through the last corner, Eirk is right on my wheel in the pack, and we sprint it out hardcore. I'm 3rd in the field, Erik is 6th. HOWEVER--WE WON THE RACE 1-2!
I was so excited...the UW team was going beserk, and it was an absolute party. 1-2 and we took 1st or 2nd in all the preems. Sweet job UW Men's B team. Awesome job.
I'll talk more, but I need to sleep! Enjoy the picutes....