Sunday, May 3, 2009

Circuit of Sauk Road Race

Decided to stick around close to home for some local racing this weekend. There was a road race in Baraboo which is just an hour from Madison and I was hoping to do the womens 30 mile race and follow that up with a 45 mile mens race - a bit ambitious and maybe a little stupid. Drove to the race with Jill and Madeleine which was lots of fun until Jill noticed a certain car behind her.

As he gave her the speeding ticket and bid us farewell he said he hoped we'd have a better day . . . little did he know.

It was a beautiful day - despite the stiff west wind, the rolling hills are green and the sun was shining. We registered and I was amazed to see there were 30 women signed up. ISCorp had 5, BH had 3, and MadCity Velo had about 8. Good to see some team presence as well as several solo riders come out to race. Jill and I were joined by Theresa from Milwaukee. The race was 2 laps of a 15 mile course. There is maybe a half mile climb about 5 miles in and another slightly shorter climb at about mile 10. We knew there was likely to be separation on the first climb and Jill and I knew we needed to be near the front to make the break.

The race started with Julie from Planet Bike keeping the pace high and once we made it to the climb she pushed even more. I was up there and decided to lead the charge and see if we could get a group to form. Over the top I looked back to see Jill on my wheel with about 7 other riders. We had a pretty big gap on the rest of the field. Jill went to the front and I dropped back to see if we could get the other riders to take turns and make this stick. No one seemed willing or able and I decided to put in a small attack and not give anybody a free ride. Jill came with me and we soon found ourselves together. I knew we weren't likely to ride the rest of the race together and could see two MadCity girls trying to bridge to us. I told Jill to ease up and get ready to work with these two. Laura and Kelley made it to us and we began to push the pace as we saw Kristen and Madeleine from BH with another rider not too far back trying to close the gap.

The cross and head winds were hellish and the four of us began to get in a rhythm and worked well together. We saw the group of 3 behind us for awhile but by the end of the first lap they were gone. We continued to work together and agreed we all wanted to make this stick and wouldn't start playing games until the last couple of miles.

Halfway through the lap I told Jill this was her race to win and that I wanted her to attack with 200m to the line. There were cones marking this point so I told her to look for those. She's riding so strong this year and I figured she could hold off the chase. I would grab a wheel and try to outsprint our two breakmates so that even if Jill got caught I would be in position to take the win.

As we approached the finish we spread out across the road and we tried to see where exactly the finish was. Jill knew to look for the cones and once we were there she surprised Laura and Kelley with her attack. Kelley responded and I moved in on her to take shelter from the strong crosswind. Jill had a good gap and easily took the win. As we came closer to the line I came around Kelley to take second.
photo from Peloton Pix (I know, I know - bad form!! - keep your head up!)

Awesome result for us. I screamed as I came across the line because I was so excited about our finish. I'm normally not a very emotional racer but this year has been so much fun racing with these girls. Seeing our tactics work out has been really rewarding. It was great being in the break with Laura and Kelley too - they are both incredibly strong.

Jill and I both signed up for the Masters 1/2/3 race so we got some food and switched numbers and lined up. As we began to roll we both remarked how heavy our legs felt and we both were nervous about that first climb. We were in a bad position to start and were hanging near the back of the 50 rider field. The pace was lifted on the hill and as we approached the top I popped. Jill made it until the false flat climb after and we soon found ourselves riding together. We hoped to get a little help from a guy we passed but he was gone and we worked together trying to catch a 3 man group that we could see up ahead. As we turned into the headwind our motivation began to wane and we decided we'd had enough. We finished the lap, told the officials we were DNFing and then rode another lap of the course backwards with Madeleine and Chris. Oh well - we got a bit more of a workout in! The wind was so ridiculous - coming down the big hill I began to tuck in and try to go fast when a gust nearly blew me over. My hot new Edge 68mm wheels are so fast but they're kind of scary in gusty crosswinds. Those things sure roll nice though - and they sound so cool! Can't wait to race them at Joe Martin this week :)

I decided to skip the criterium in La Crosse so I could stay at home and do some work around the house. I think I've either got a bit of a cold or some allergies and was pretty congested following Saturday's race. I'm trying to take it easy and feel better before I leave for Joe Martin on Wednesday.

In other bicycle related news Wisconsin had the first Bicycle Summit at the State Capital this past week. All of us from Planet Bike were there (in addition to 450 cycling supporters!) to lobby our legislators to increase funding for bicycle related transportation initiatives and to fight for Complete Streets. We were also asking for legislators to pass the "dooring" law. This requires motorists to check behind them for cyclists before opening their door when parked on the street. It makes sense to look for a car before you open your door - looking for a cyclist shouldn't be any different. We were happy to hear that law was passed later in the day and it was very interesting to meet with the staffers and be a part of the legislative process. And our State Capital is so beautiful it was fun to hang out in there for part of the day.

Here I am as we all got on our bikes and rode up to the Capital. Thanks to coworker James for the photos.

Just a few more days at home before I head down to Arkansas. I can't wait to do my first stage race of the year. Three years ago I headed down to Fayetteville with my ISCorp teammates and Joe Martin was the first NRC race and the first stage race I ever did. I loved it and it fueled my motivation to do more. I love coming back for this race every year and this year the field is stacked. I'm also really looking forward to staying with our hosts from last year Marion and Carolyn. They're so wonderful and it's always fun to catch up with people from year to year! I'll try to update during the race so check back for some photos and posts! Thanks for reading!


Meredith said...

no doubt you are a strong bunch:) awesome job

Mo said...

Hey--Thanks for the phone update on the race! It sounded like a fun race! Let's keep that GREEN MONSTER rolling! Can't wait to come to the next race and cheer you on! Drain gone. 12 staples in my ass another week! Hooray!

Monique xoxo