2009 Race Reports #10 –11: Superweek Evanston Masters 30+ & 40+

Sunday, July 19th - Evanston, IL: I decided to register for both of the Masters events early in the day, and if the legs felt good, to return for the evening Pro race. As it turned out, the legs felt good, but circumstances interfered and I was unable to return for the pro race and had to settle for racing twice. The Masters 30+ and 40+ races were similar - pretty fast paced with a lot of breakaway attempts - all of which were reeled in. I sat in the middle/rear of the field in both races as usual.

The two races were back to back, so I only had time to pin on my new number and I was back out racing.

Masters 30+: The video starts with a lap and a half to go as I start moving through the field in prep for the sprint. You can see that the field is strung out over 200meters down the finish stretch with various small breakaways trying to get away. I used the draft and moved up into the lead of the field and then got a great stroke of luck - like magic, 3 Bissell riders lined up directly in front of me for a leadout, their first guy swinging off on the backstretch, their second guy taking us into the long (400m) slightly uphill finish stretch. I really didn't have much left and tried to come around but couldn't and meanwhile Clayton Goldsmith - who was on my wheel, went winging by and I ended up 3rd.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbISeFThImc]

Masters 40+: Some days you just seem to know exactly what to do - and this video picks up with one to go as I shoot up through the field to move into position  on the backside. There I hopscotch from Robert Krohn's wheel to Paul Swinand, and then neatly onto the 3 man leadout on the backstretch. This finish was quite close - almost come around by the line but again don't have quite enough juice and end up 3rd again.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzXMceVeD_k]

2009 Race Report #5: ABR Cat 1/2 Illinois State Criterium Championships

July 5, 2009: I was too lazy to show up for the master's event at Wooddale - the day was just too nice and I was enjoying sitting outside by the pool reading and writing. Finally I dragged myself into the car for the 20 minute drive to Wooddale for the Cat 1/2 race. A few thunderclouds threatened but only threw a few drops our way. The pace was hot and cold - we only averaged 26.8 for the race, and one rider ended up getting away solo with 6 laps to go. Oddly I didn't suffer much and started to realize I might have a shot a the "W" - that is until the solo rider escaped. Still, I felt I had jets on my legs up the small hill to the final straightway and determined I would use them.

My plan was to sit about 10th on the last lap and then hit the afterburners 2/3's of the way down the backstretch into the final two corners with the short hill in between. My assumption was that with a hard accel in the draft, combined with the corners and the climb, I might not get caught despite the long (1 minute?) sprint.

All the best laid plans... Well, the pack was swarming and the pace too low on the last lap so I found myself sitting third across the finish stretch and down the hill into the back stretch. I could sense the pack ready to spring and knew I'd be buried in the swarm so I did the unthinkable - I made a leap from the front into the lead with 700m to go. Instead of the my planned stealth attack from bowels of the pack shrouded from the wind, I was completely visible and had to fight through the suddenly howling gale as I accelerated up to 37mph down the backstretch by myself.

I was already dying by the time I hit the 3rd corner into the hill, but shifted carefully and was able to put some energy into the pedals up the hill and then shifted up just before the final corner and cranked some cold hard low rpms toward the finish line 250 meters up the road. I could feel the chasers on my tail and just before the finish I saw colors to my left, (Ken Delo and Robert Krohn) but I had it - the field sprint win, and 2nd place.

I enjoyed a post race vibe talking to Ken Delo, Ara, and  Robert Krohn and others before finally heading back to swim in the pool with my daughter, the yellow sun and warm water a perfect aperitif to a successful race.

Saturday is my re-entry to the Pro races of Superweek with the Blue Island Pro/Am. Last year I got dropped - I'm shooting for a top 10 this year - but we'll see...