Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Race Local

photo thanks to djonnymac

This past weekend was the last time I'd be racing in Wisconsin for the rest of the season. I've got an ambitious and busy travel schedule these next 5 weekends leading up to Nationals. So I was excited be at home and have two back to back races in the state series. Sure it's cool to travel and do the big events but we've got an awesome group of people and events here in Wisconsin. Racing local is fun.

Saturday we were in Whitewater and the course went up and down this huge hill at a local park. Very physically tough course with lots of climbing. We had our Indian Summer this week too with temps in the upper 60 and lots of sun. I'll take that any day over rain and cold and it felt awesome to ride in short sleeves. Dave decided to come along too despite recently getting over the flu. The bug he had was bad - out for a solid week - and I'm not sure how I managed to avoid it but I did. A brutal course to come back to as there was no going "easy" and only one stretch to "recover" on.

It was a small turnout and we had 6 women in the race including my teammate Kaitie (that's my junior teammate Kaitie A. - KFC was off in France smoking the competition). We start and Kaitie takes the lead with Sam S. and myself following. She goes off course on a corner and we come around as she tries to get back on the bike. I sit on Sam's wheel figuring that Kaitie can catch back up - I really want us to go 1,2 in the race. After two laps I can see Kaitie has moved up well and is not too far behind us. On the longest climb I attack around Sam and give it a go. This race hurt! All of the climbing made it tough and it seemed like we did a zillion laps. On the last two laps I could see Kaitie had moved up into second place and was now hunting me down! :) I wouldn't have minded at all if she had passed me but I admit I was trying to hold her off! She has great endurance and really seems to get stronger as the race goes on. I took the win and she finished 2nd.

I then stayed and watched Dave race with the 30+ guys. I often do this race too but not on this course when there's another race tomorrow. He rode well for a guy who lost 5 pounds in a week and hadn't been on a bike much the past 2 weeks. It was fun to cheer the guys on a bit and chat with some fellow racers/fans.

Sunday was Estabrook in Milwaukee. I've always liked this race - in a park along the river. Pretty flat and mostly a power course but a few twists and turns and a fun little stretch in the woods. Dave decided to sit this one out so Cider and I drove to Milwaukee and met up with my parents, brother, and his girlfriend who came out to watch some cross racing on a beautiful day.

I decided to do two races today and wanted to really go out hard in the womens event. My starts haven't exactly been a strength for me and I wanted to push it now in preparation for the UCI races to come. The women in those races certainly don't ease into things and my version of "fast" is still slow compared to theirs! So off we went and I was out of the saddle and sprinting hard. Sam was on my wheel for two laps before she slipped off. I was passing a lot of masters men who started in front of us and used them as carrots the rest of the race. It's easy to settle in and be complacent when you're off the front but I tried to accelerate quickly out of the corners and push it on the straightaways. All the cheering superfans made doing that so much easier! Thanks especially to my family for coming out and for Chris and Billy yelling for me over the barriers! I took the win and then lined up for the 30+ mens race.

photo thanks to djonnymac
I didn't quite have the energy to push super hard in this race so more just tried to have a good steady effort and get some more solid training in. Seeing that we had 11 laps in the race made me wonder if I'd really make it through them all! I settled in though and just tried to keep up a good pace and have some fun. That really is the whole point of cross! I ended up 8th out of about 15 guys. James killed it in the Mens Elite race and won. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did a nice little write up of the race here.
thanks Renee!
After the race I went out to dinner with my family at Cafe Hollander. Cool little restaurant on Downers Ave. that sponsors a cycling team. Tasty food and fun to hang out with my family and celebrate my moms birthday a day early.

All in all a great weekend of racing. Next up is the third weekend of USGP racing - this time in New Jersey. Last year this was a mudfest. This year's forecast thus far looks better. Kaitie, Linda, Mark and myself will represent for Planet Bike. Should be fun. Road trip starts tomorrow! Thanks for reading!

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