Race Report #2, Manitowoc

Race Report, Sunday July 9, Superweek Stage 2, Manitowoc, WI 35 miles, 86 degrees.   Lining up in the July sun, I had a sense of optimism as I viewed my other racers. Surely today would be my first win at this perfect sprinters course. 4 corners, wide, and flat, Manitowoc was fast and safe.   I started up front, but quickly moved to my comfortable position near the rear of the pack “surfing” the slinky, avoiding the compression into the corners, and coasting into the rear of the group on the way out. Midway through the race I moved to the front and was surprised to find myself in a short breakaway for one lap with one other rider. My confidence increased… 

The pace was high – ranging between 26 on the corners, to 33mph on the straightaways, but the effort in the pack was light – my pulse settled into the mid 150’s and stayed there. Coming into the final lap I knew I wanted to be between 4th and 7th coming out of the last corner.

The last 200 meters had a headwind so I needed some protection. I moved into 7th with one lap to go, and to 5th on the backstretch, jumping into 4th coming into the final corner. I was fresh, strong and not at all suffering, and set up wide to put on the afterburners coming into the final stretch… That’s just when the #3 rider decided to get out of his saddle too early coming out of the corner and completely lost control of his bike, skittering sideways on the asphalt and creating a perfect obstacle to my progress. I locked up my front and rear brakes and was immediately buffeted from behind by the mass of bodies coming by me – left and right, shoulders hitting my hips and elbows.  

I maintained control and got out of my saddle, and shifted back up to a big gear, and accelerated, passing back about 8 of the 10 riders that had passed me. Heading toward the line, the riders fanned across the road and I headed straight through a hole on the left… 50 feet after the line I was well out in front, but at the line I had only made 7th (or so the judges put me with 3 question marks “???” on the unofficial results for 5th, 6th and 7th.)  I thought I was 5th as did my wife – but we didn’t stick around to argue the facts – (apparently the videocamera had quit). Instead we hopped back in the RV and headed home to pick up our new puppy pug who had turned 7 weeks that day and was ready to be adopted to his new home.