After being on the road for almost three weeks it was great to spend a week at home with Dave. We had our floors refinished upstairs so we were camping in our living room all week. It was kind of fun to stretch out on the bed and watch Tour coverage every evening!
Sunday was the first ever downtown Chicago criterium. It was really cool to have a race right near the lake and on Michigan Avenue - very cool venue. And the promoters really stepped up to the plate offering huge money for the races. $10,000 was on the line for the women and we always appreciate the respect of promoters to have a purse that big for the P/1/2 women even though our field size is relatively small. Womens cycling is gaining momentum and we need the support of sponsors, promoters, and current athletes to bring more riders to the sport. Thanks to the city of Chicago and all of the sponsors and promoters for a great race!
Okay - on to the race report :) A talented field showed up with a full squad from TIBCO, Meredith from Aarons, Lara from ValuAct, Team Mesa, Revolution, and many other talented solo riders. KENDA had Catherine, Debbie, Jess, Krystal and myself. Debbie had a pretty nasty crash on the track on Thursday so she needed a little extra boost pre-race. Check it out.
Debbie downing a can of whoop ass
TIBCO raced a smart race and were very aggressive launching riders continuously. Two laps in a prime was called and after a rider was reeled in I jumped with a half lap to go and held off the field for $100. A few laps later I was on Brooke Miller's wheel when she attacked and I went with her. We had a good gap and began working together, a prime was called and I was impressed when she told me she wasn't going to contest me for it - another $100 in gift cards. We were off for maybe 8 laps and had up to 30 seconds on the field. I was thinking this might actually work when Julie from Revolution bridged. The three of us were off for another lap or two but the group was gaining on us and we were caught with about 20 minutes to go in the race.
in a break with Brooke
Debbie ended up going with the counter and was able to snag a $200 prime out of her group of 4. TIBCO continued to launch riders and unfortunately we were unable to cover them all. Amber Rais went off solo and the field hesitated on the chase. I attempted to bridge twice to no avail - Amber is a talented TT rider and put time on us - it was now a race for second.
On the last lap I was sitting third wheel on the TIBCO leadout train when on the backside of the course a rider told me to get out of her way. I didn't exactly appreciate the demand or her tone and I'm a bit ashamed to say I let it fluster me. I lost the spot, riders swarmed around me and I was forced to the inside for the last corner - not the place to be as some riders sat up forcing anyone on that line to slow up and have to work harder to get around. I ended up 18th which was a bit disappointing given that I felt really good in the race and was in good position on the last lap. I learned that I need to be a little tougher and gutsier (if that's a word) for the finish. It wasn't really appropriate for that rider to tell me to get out of her way but on the same hand I shouldn't have let it affect me as I had every right to be in that spot. As the cliche goes - that's bike racing!
All in all a great race and a lot of fun. The team raced well and we were involved in lots of moves and snagged some good primes. Debbie finished right behind me in 20th. Thanks to Paul for coming out to support us and also a shout out to Michael Zellman from SRAM who was the announcer on the back side of the course and gave me some publicity while I was in the break.
Two more weekends of Chicago crit racing action (Elk Grove this weekend and Downer's on the 16/17) before taking a little break and getting ready for the cyclocross season. This will be my fourth season racing and I can't wait. It's always so much fun to change things up a bit for the fall and get into the cross scene. This year will bring a new twist for me as I've been given the chance to race for the Wisconsin based powerhouse team of Planet Bike. For those of you that don't know Planet Bike is a Madison based company that sells some of the best bike accessories out there. Lights, fenders, computers, bottle cages, seat bags, CO2 and pumps, and much more. The best part is that 25% of all profits go towards Bike Advocacy and the company is committed to getting more people out on bikes and making sure the infrastructure exists to do that. Bob Downs has put together an amazing group of riders with the Elite Men Jonathan Page, Marko Lalonde, and Tristan Schouten. He also has a phenomenal group of Masters and Junior 17-18 girls Nationals winner Anna Young. I am really excited for this opportunity and look forward to a great fall season of racing. Thanks to Bob and all of the sponsors for welcoming me to the team. I'll be including more sponsor info in a sidebar very soon.
And while I'm plugging Bike Advocacy check out the American League of Bicyclists and if you're a Wisconsinite the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin. Both are stand up organizations that work hard to make communities more bike friendly and encourage people to use bikes as an alternative transportation.
Thanks for checking in!