Sunday, November 23, 2008
Wisconsin State Championship
Nice to have a weekend at home and only one day of racing. Dave and I got out on a group ride on Saturday with 8 other hardy folks who were looking to ride in the 32 degree temps. It was a lot of fun and I was plenty warm actually. I've discovered the small investment of a pair of those air activated hand warmers tucked under toe covers and then neoprene booties over that equals toasty toes the entire ride. Nothing worse than coming home and having your feet feel like they're going to fall off. Also I wore my new Planet Bike Borealis gloves and was very impressed at how warm my hands stayed the entire 2.5 hours. Sure, I'm plugging the sponsor but these have got to be one of the warmest gloves for the price and the soft fleece nose wipers on the thumb and finger are a nice touch.
So Sunday morning Cider and I bundled up and headed to Hales Corners for the last Wisconsin cyclocross race of the year. State Championship race just outside of Milwaukee. Actually a really nice day with temps around 40 and no snow on the ground. I still made Cider put her trendy Old Navy down jacket on though. Last year was a snowy, muddy, wet mess and I must say I was looking forward to a relatively clean race course after the past two muddy weekends. Deer hunting in Wisconsin started on Saturday so the roads were full of guys in blaze orange with dead deer strewn across their vehicles.
I decided I wanted to race the Mens 3 race prior to the womens race as I kind of like to get a feel for the course at speed and I like getting the extra workout in on a short weekend of racing. I was intending to just ride a few laps and then drop out and chill a bit before the womens race. I lined up with the 25 or so Cat 3 racers and off we went. A power course with lots of open stretches and one long gradual hill. There was a set of barriers at the bottom of a hill that you had to turn 90 degrees for before running up. The cold hard ground in front of the barriers was starting to get muddy and slick as racers chewed it up. First lap I didn't realize how slippery it was and and I slid out landing on my left side. Great! Won't make that mistake again anyway! picture by peloton pix
I raced hard with the boys for 3-4 laps and then considered pulling off but realized I was going to get really cold. So I let up somewhat and just rode where I was at for another couple laps to finish the race.
I then quickly headed to the car for a jacket, gel, and drink and tried to stay warm before lining up for race number 2. My Kenda teammate Imelda came up from Chicago for the race and it was great to visit with her - thanks for grabbing my clothing at the line! I've been the first Wisconsin rider of this race the past three years but have always gotten beat by visiting riders from other states - last year it was Devon from Illinois and the two years prior by Linda from Minnesota. Linda made the trip again this year so I knew I would have some tough competition in addition to the Wisconsin girls racing.
Sam Schneider put the hammer down at the start and I got on her wheel for the first third of a lap before coming around and trying to open up a gap. I tried to keep the power high on the long climb and then carefully made my way up the barrier hill nervous about slipping again. I could see that Linda and my teammate Anna were not far behind and I wanted to get as much time as I could on them. It was a pretty windy day and tempting to let up on the long open stretches into the head wind. I continued to pick off masters riders and was just focused on pushing hard on the open and uphill sections and riding smoothly through the corners. Coming through the finish and seeing 4 laps to go I knew there was still a lot of racing left and there was no letting up. Linda was about 15 seconds behind me with Anna dropping further back due to a slow leaking back tire. My shoes were caked with the hard grassy mud and the spikes weren't doing much for traction running up the hill.picture by peloton pix
I have to say I loved the fast (and relatively low!) set of barriers in front of the Team Pegasus party tent. It was fun to fly through those and the fans were of course spectacular. Tons of fans on the hill too including the famous trombone player. Racing wouldn't be nearly as fun without all the crazy, cool superfans out there cheering you on. Thank you to all who came out to race, spectate, cheer, and/or drink beer!
I kept my gap on Linda about the same although with 2 laps to go it was down to about 10 seconds. I told myself there was only 10 minutes or less left and I needed to push through and keep my eyes focused in front of me. When you're starting to go cross eyed it's easy to screw up and take a bad line and I didn't want that happening. I really wanted to win this race outright and knew how close I was. With one to go my gap was increasing and I took the barriers on the hill cautiously. Smooth through the final turns through the trees and across the line I came. Linda was great competition and I look forward to seeing her again next weekend in Iowa.
Teammate Anna finished third (2nd Wisconsin rider) and Kaitie behind her. It was great to get on the podium with the two junior riders and my traveling companions from the past two weekends.
A great day for Planet Bike racers with several wins and finishes on the podium. I'll do a more complete recap of finishes on the Planet Bike blog. Congrats to other gold medalists Diane in the Womens Cat 3, Patti in the Women 1/2 35+, Bob in Masters 40+, and Mark in the Mens 1/2. Bob - picture by peloton pix
Mark totally ripped the field to shreds and a after a couple of laps he had at least 2 minutes on his nearest competition. Nice job Marko! picture by peloton pix
Here's some podium shots.
Bob on top of the Mens 40+ podium
Patti on the Women 1/2 35+ podium
Greg and Gordy (and our friend Glen on top!) in the Mens 50+
Another great season of Wisconsin cyclocross in the books and thanks to everyone for making it so successful. Renee Callaway and John Ericsson do a fabulous job all year long really to make our series one of the best in the country. This year's inclusion of a UCI race brought it to another level. Thanks to all of the race promoters, USCF officials, racers, and of course spectators for coming out on the weekends. Also thanks to all of the great sponsors that make it all possible - especially Planet Bike whose continued dedication to the sport of cyclocross is truly impressive.
The weekdays continue to fly by in between racing on the weekends. Got to teach Chemistry this past week and see lots of my students from last year which is always fun. Working at Planet Bike continues to go really well and I'm having lots of fun there. It's a full body workout helping out in the warehouse and unloading the container of products on Thursday morning proved that. I still sort of feel like a wimp compared to the guys but I'm getting better at handling boxes!
I can't believe Thanksgiving is already upon us! Dave and I are headed up to his family gathering in Marshfield before I head out to Iowa on Saturday morning for Jingle Cross in Iowa City. A great weekend of racing on tap with lots of UCI points on the line. It'd be nice to snag a few more of those before Nationals as I would love a second row position for the Elite race. We'll see how it goes!
I hope everyone has a happy holiday and enjoys time with family and friends. Lots to be thankful for. Thanks for reading!