This last week was a nice way to decompress a bit from Nature Valley and the busy spring semester I had of teaching. I headed back to the Row and picked up some hours at the bike shop. It's always fun to get paid to talk about bikes and I work with some pretty cool people.
I also waged battle with our backyard a bit and decided to put in a border of mulch. The weeds around the fence were getting annoying and I figured I needed a project. Got a nice upperbody workout in by moving the mulch from the big pile by our driveway. Took almost 40 trips with the wheelbarrow - ouch! I neglected to take a before shot but here's a section of what it looks like now. I still have to put in a brick border and add some plants.
The weekend brought two big money crits in the Milwaukee area. The Wisconsin Cycling Association - along with two local clubs ISCorp and ABD/Geargrinder put on two fantastic races with a huge prize purse - $2500 each day for the women. Jill and I left on Saturday for the Grafton Twilight Crit and despite attempting to get to the race 2 hours early we made it there 30 minutes before our start due to road shutdowns from the flooding in the area.
Here's a picture of Jill as we rush to get ready.
After a very quick warmup we lined up with about 25 women. It was a strong field but it was really too bad that more riders didn't show given how much money was at stake. Team Kenda had a strong presence with Jess and Catherine making the trip as well as two new Cat 3 local riders Shelley and Rebecca. It was a fast race with attacks coming from us, America's Dairyland, and ISCorp. I snagged an early prime on a solo flyer and the three of us continued to attack the field repeatedly. Shelley put in some well timed attacks near the end of the race and the other teams chased (despite Shelley being a lapped rider). No breaks were sticking and on the last lap I gave it one final effort - I had a small gap but the field was strung out behind me going into the last corner. I gave it my all hoping my girls were sitting on the right wheels. Cari from America's Dairyland won with Jess 4th, Catherine 7th, and I held on for 8th. Jen Greenberg from PunkRock unfortunately went down with a few laps to go and had to be taken away in an ambulance. A broken jaw, some stitches on her face, and some pretty serious road rash - our thoughts are with you Jen - you're tough and will get through this!
Grafton is an awesome race. It's a twilight race and the community comes out full force to cheer on the racers. Thanks to ISCorp and the city of Grafton for a very well run race and for putting up so much $$ for the women. We will continue to share our positive experiences with our fellow racers and hopefully more riders will come out and support this great race.
Sunday was a race just north of Milwaukee in Sheboygan - the home of the bratwurst (okay that's Germany - but the American home anyway). We got there plenty early and watched some of the earlier races. My parents came out to watch me race for the second weekend in a row - thanks mom and dad - you rock! Just as we were taking a warmup lap the rain started falling hard and on the line it was an all out downpour. Luckily the course was just a big long rectangle and not very technical so the conditions weren't that scary. I actually don't mind the rain but I know a lot of riders can get twitchy on wet roads - especially the corners. I've always felt really confident with the smooth handling of my Blue bike and the sure grip of the Kenda tires - it's nice when you can so easily trust your equipment. Luckily the rain stopped a few minutes into the race but the roads would remain wet the entire time. After several break attempts I gave it one more try through the start/finish and found Devon, Rachel (ISCorp), and Kate (America's Dairyland) with me and a gap from the field. Once Kristen M. bridged up to us we knew this break was likely to stick. Devon and I worked hard the first two laps to ensure that and then we took turns and soon lapped into the field. On the last lap Dairyland set up their leadout train and as we went hot into the first corner I heard a sliding crash of riders just behind me. That left about 10 of us in the group including all of my breakmates. I was sitting about 6th wheel through the final corner and in the long sprint finish I was able to move up and took 3rd behind Kristen M. and Devon.
This earned me some tasty fudge from my buddy Chris who at the start promised the chocolate to Jess, Jill, or I if we made the podium today. Mmmm, thanks Chris!
Unfortunately my teammates Jess and Rebecca went down pretty hard in the pile up but luckily no serious injuries. Poor Jess and her hip - road rash on top of last week's road rash! And Rebecca's beautiful Blue bike cracked at the chainstay. Heal up quick girls!
All in all a great weekend of racing and thanks to all involved in putting on such professional events. Thanks again to my parents for making the trip from Green Bay to cheer for me on Sunday - always nice to have some extra motivation!
I leave Friday for Columbus, Ohio and the fantastic races in Grandview. From there the road trip continues on to Syracuse, NY to visit a friend and then to Fitchburg for another NRC stage race. Kenda has a strong team put together for that one and it should be a great event.
Thanks for reading!