Saturday, July 18, 2009

Superweek and Triathloning

So I decided to enter a few Superweek races since they are in my neck of the woods and have a longstanding tradition. This series has changed in the past couple of years though and I have to wonder what the future holds for it.

Thursday evening brought the Shorewood Criterium in Milwaukee. The course is in a great little community and they always support the races with lots of primes. They stepped it up this year with $1100 on the line for the women - thank you Shorewood! Being that I'm not racing the entire series I can easily say that I'm doing these races to try to earn some cash. And with first place being only $120 (just for reference 6th place at Tour of America's Dairyland was $125) the $100 and $200 primes were looking mighty tempting.

About 35 women on the line (Colavita, Hub, and Ultralink being the largest teams) and I was impressed with the aggressive racing after hearing that in prior days things were a little negative and slow. Money will do that to a field of poor racers! There were several breaks of one or two riders that would stick for a few laps before being brought back. About 15 minutes into our race I attacked at the line and an Ultralink rider went with me. Three laps later we're still off and a $100 prime is called. We agree to split it and after we grab the cash we're caught on the next lap. This is pretty much how the race goes - nothing gets too far up the road but there are some strong attacks thrown down. I try for a few other primes but it's a long ~300 meter sprint with a stiff crosswind and I'm having trouble being patient and go too early. With 5 laps to go I decide to attack and as I come through the line I hear "$200 to the winner of the next lap". I'm alone and push hard figuring that this is my goal for the race. Finish doesn't really matter - but $200 sounds very nice. A couple minutes later I cross the line with the pack just a few seconds behind me. I sit up and get on the back of the pack not too concerned with how the rest of the race goes. Two laps later is a $250 prime but there's no way I'm going to get that and a rider goes off the front to grab the money. We're on bell lap and the solo rider nearly gets the win but is caught as we approach the last corner. Jen and Shontell of Colavita go down on the last corner and luckily I get around. I'm not in the money though and just try to finish somewhere midpack. I end up 18th but $250 richer in primes.

Nice job to Monique on her first real race back after her horrible incident in Iowa in April. She suffered it out and finished off the race.

Thanks to my brother Jason and his girlfriend Jesse for coming out to watch the race. As always it was nice to see them and we got some tasty food post race with them as well as got to stop by their apartment and check out all of their cool pets - 2 crazy cats, 2 guinea pigs, and this awesome gecko.

Saturday I came back to Milwaukee for the Schlitz Park Criterium. A course with a solid climb every lap I figured this race suited me better than a traditional flat course. A cold spell hit WI so temps were in the upper 60s and rain clouds lurked everywhere. It sprinkled as we warmed up and then it looked like we were going to be in the clear. A larger field tonight with a few new teams and about 40 women on the line.

We start the race and 1 lap in the clouds open up and it's a full on downpour. Two riders are off the front almost immediately and I hear the announcer say that one of them is Sydney Brown. I didn't even see Syd on the line and I know she is a great person to be in a break with - super strong. I let some other riders chase the group down and we all are riding a bit conservatively in the rain - especially on the downhill and puddle filled corners with manhole covers. As we reel the riders in a bit I attack on the climb and attempt to bridge up. Success - I'm there and I immediately go to the front to try to open up our lead. I pull nearly a lap before Syd is coming back around me. She's amazingly strong and is taking monster pulls. The third rider is just holding on and unable to help us out. Syd and I take turns and our gap quickly increases. The wet roads are pretty nasty and trying to draft often results in a face full of gritty water. Luckily the rain stopped and with about 15 laps to go we can see the field in front of us. We lap in and I hear that there are 5 more riders off the front of the race.

Not wanting those girls to catch us Syd and I go to the front and continue to keep the pace high. With about 10 laps to go Syd attacks and a small group of us breaks off. Syd and I plus three other riders. We mostly trade off pulls to keep ourselves ahead of whatever group is left. Syd is again taking really strong pulls and I tell her that she's got this win - she worked so hard and I'm not going to contest her in the sprint. I don't think there was any way for me to beat Sydney that night - she was riding phenomenally and on the last lap when she attacked on the hill I couldn't match her effort and she pulled away to take the win. I let the other three girls in our group sprint it out for 7th place and came across the line for 2nd.

It was a fun race and I was really happy to be in the break. The conditions made it tough and many riders dropped out. No primes to be won today so finishing place was the only payout up for grabs. I'll be doing one more Superweek race on Monday - the Whitnall Park Road Race. It's a nice 2.5 mile circuit course with a bit of a hill before the finish - should be fun!

Sunday it was time for me to be on the other side and spectate Dave's Half Ironman in Racine. He was racing along with our friends Brian and Vanessa so I had multiple people to cheer for. I got up bright and early and Courtney (Brian's girlfriend) and I hit the road to catch the guys and Vanessa out on the bike. After getting eaten by mosquitoes we drove back to town and watched the run.

The guys literally came in to the second transition at the same time. They were both doing awesome and looked good as they headed out for the run. Check out this awesome setup we saw while watching the run! This guy had two adorable dogs in the sidecar of his scooter and they both had visors on - so cute!

Courtney and her two adorable dogs ran alongside Brian for a bit on the run

Dave was running like a mad man and was on pace to finish the course in 4 hours and 30 minutes. He looked really strong out there and came across the line at 4:27. Way to go babe! Nineteen minutes faster than last year - amazing! 12th in his age group :)

Brian and Vanessa also each had great finishes and both got PRs for the Half.

On our way home we had to stop to properly refuel after a hard day of racing and spectating to get some Kopps Custard. Mmmmm - custard.

All in all a really fun weekend! Thanks for reading!

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