This weekend there were back to back crits in Madison put on by the Great Dane Velo Cycling club. I skipped Saturday's races and instead hung out with Dave's entire family who was in town to see his Dad get an award from the University and also for a family wedding in Milwaukee. Saturday was warm, sunny, and beautiful. Sunday was, of course, cool, windy, and rainy. Gotta love spring.
I volunteered for some of the morning races and it was good to cheer on the juniors and cat 4 women. I came back in the afternoon and raced the 30+ 1/2/3 mens race which I've started to do rather than the cat 3 men. The 30+ guys seem to be a bit more consistent and overall I think it's a harder race. I was a bit nervous on the line with 40 guys and hoping I could make it through until the end. It was a great race - quite a few attacks and pretty fast throughout. I felt good and tried to stay near the front of the race and just feel comfortable moving around in the pack and staying sheltered from the wind. Thanks to my buddy Brian for a push after one particularly hot lap! A break was off the front and after it was clear they were gone several other guys tried to get another group off the front. Never really happened and then with about 5 minutes left in the race the rain started to fall. No need to get crazy and cause a crash as the field was sprinting for about 10th place so the guys kept it fast but safe. I was happy to make it through the 65 minutes of racing with the group and quickly rode home to get warm and dry before the womens race in the afternoon.
I came back a couple hours later in the steady rain. A bit frustrated to see that only 4 other women were going to do the race. Kaitie, Rachel, and Yvonne from ISCorp and Jane from GDVC. We all agreed to shorten the race to 30 minutes as it was already late in the day and the cold, rainy conditions weren't exactly ideal. ISCorp had the obvious advantage in the race and going into the race I wanted a good hard workout and to try to disrupt their tactics as much as I could. On lap two while Kaitie was on the front I attacked and Rachel came with me. Kaitie tried to as well but was dangling off the back. I knew that Rachel had no interest in pulling and putting distance onto her teammate so I pushed the pace for a couple of laps until I couldn't see Kaitie when I looked back. Rachel took a pull but I knew that they were really hoping to get two of them in the break and she wasn't going to work much with me. I needed a long LT effort in anyway! With about 4 laps to go we caught sight of Yvonne and Jane ahead of us - the remaining "field". I eased up and then Rachel went to the front and pulled us up to them. After we reached them I put in an attack hoping I might be able to go clear of them all and TT the final laps. After about a half a lap Rachel was back on my wheel and it was the two of us again.
I kept the pace steady and slowed up on the last lap eased up and figured it was time to try to play the game even though I knew my legs weren't really feeling up for sprinting! Around the last corner I went wide and figured I would force Rachel to come around me going into the wind - even though it was a shorter distance to the line. She went and I tried to get in her draft as we approached the line. No dice though and she beat my by a bike length. Rachel and I have been in breaks together many times in our racing career and she beats me nearly every time! She's got a great sprint and I always enjoy racing with her. Maybe one of these times I'll beat her :)
All in all a fun day of racing. Next weekend we're headed to Iowa City for a road race and a super fun crit in the downtown. Should be a good turnout of Midwest riders and I'm really looking forward to the racing. I think we'll have a team of at least 5 riders for Kenda so it should be fun to try to execute some strategy too!
Last week the weather was beautiful in Madison and I rode two days in only a jersey and shorts - so nice! The tan lines are still pretty weak but another couple of weeks they should be nice and defined ;)
It was nice to visit with Dave's family over the weekend and we headed down to the Capital for the first Farmer's Market of the year. One of my favorite things about Madison the Market signals that spring is officially here and summer is on its way. I love walking around the square, the warm sun shining down, sipping a cup of coffee, and seeing all the great local produce, flowers, cheese, and bakery items.
Sorry no pictures this week - I'll try to take lots while I'm in Iowa!