Now that Father’s Day weekend is over and things are setting back down, I can at least try and get some thoughts together on the whirlwind that was my weekend. It was a whirlwind mostly due to racing. Planning on racing both days of the weekend isn’t easy; especially given I had to work Sunday morning and the race was over an hour’s drive away and started at 10am.
Saturday morning called for the Team Wisconsin Crit in Menomonee Falls. Course was a 1.1 mile loop with 4 nice wide corners. Makes for fast racing. Race got underway and it didn’t take long to notice the pace was higher than last year’s race at this venue. Kept decent position for a few laps. They called a prime 5 laps in (I think that’s how far we were along). About half way through the lap someone takes a bit of a jump off the field. The rest of the field didn’t respond too seriously. I had good position to cover the move, so I jumped on his wheel. He pulled for a little while and motioned for me to take over. Fearing getting swallowed up and turning it into a larger group for the prime and having him draft all the way to the finish; it was almost full gas for a good 1/3 mile. Kept the field away and the lone drafter away and took the prime. Got me a nice pair of Bontrager gloves.
2nd prime came up and I latched onto the small group going for it. At that point I felt decent and wanted to keep some legs for the finish. In hindsight, I should have went for the second prime and I think I could have snagged some more stuff….like more gloves. Oh well….
About 4 laps to go, TW/KS drilled it for a while, putting the hurt on the field (me included). It was painfully(pun intended) obvious that I had zapped myself a bit too much earlier. Things backed off a bit before the last lap, but I didn’t have much less and just finished back in the group. So, lesson learned. Nail the primes or save it for the end.
Then, since I’m kinda nuts, I was planning on hitting the WORS race at CamRock Park (near Rockdale/Cambridge). This was to be my first attempt at MTB racing. Been riding them forever, just never raced.
Problem was, I had to work Sunday morning and I couldn’t start working until 6am. I figured I needed to be out the door by 8am to get there in time (about 1hr15min drive), register, warm up a bit, and figure everything out. Work progressed painfully slow, but I managed to get done by 8am. Breakfast was crappy stuff (poptarts) in the car on the way. Probably not the best thing to eat before racing. It was calories though.
I made it, got registered around 9:30 (race at 10am) for the Cat 3 (Citizen) race. (I’ll have to see if I can race Sport if I can next time even though my USAC lic states Cat 3 and WORS lists Sport as Cat 2) One thing that has been noted and I have never experienced, was the massive amount of people at a WORS race, both spectators and racers. Truly amazing. Friendly, laid-back folks everywhere. Makes for really fun times!
Quickly learned how the start was setup (waves by age group). It’s kinda nuts with 150+ racers all in a staging/starting area. But, like I mentioned before, it makes it fun. My age group (30-39) was the 4th wave to go. That meant the possibility of passing a bunch of age groups if I’m fast enough.
Start was a long 10% grade up a grassy hill. I was able to get into a packed dirt track and that helped my position. I started well and there were roughly half a dozen people in my age group ahead of me at the top of the hill. I got into a good fast rhythm I figured I could hang onto and give me the ability to sprint a bit if needed. Things were quite tightly packed for a bit. Picked up some younger riders and had to sneak by them. Thankfully passing areas were plentiful and in MTB racing, people seem darn courteous and happy to let you by, if done safely. A few people had some good yard sales in front of me. Looks like all were ok though. Still, hate to see people crashing.
Course was nothing short of amazing. I had been hearing great things about this set of trails, but had not made it out there. So yeah, I had never ridding the trails nor had I pre-rode the course. Talk about racing blind. It keeps you on your toes and somewhat within your limits. The singletrack sections flowed really well, were nice and technical and then the open areas allowed for good passing and opening up the taps. Will have to go back there and ride.
Anyways, the racing. I noticed I had passed a few 30-39 class racers during the first lap. One guy was always ahead and it was tough to gain on him. Second lap I was able to get by a few more people ahead of me. Latched onto the one guy who was always ahead. Still, I couldn’t get by. I was getting a bit low on energy (and I blame that some on the crit the day before). It was noticeable on the second lap that people behind us were basically non-existent. I still felt like I was a bit back (5 positions or so I figured). With not much left in the race, the guy in front of me got a gap that I couldn’t close. Oh well, I was having fun.
The crowd around the course and in the finish was great. Talk about loud.
So, up the switchback hill into the finish area and I was done. I was shot, but felt fantastic. That was the most fun I’ve had on a bike in a while. Already planning on doing it again. I didn’t know how well the cheapo hardtail would do; but that bike continues to amaze me. Never once felt out of control on it, even when video evidence might suggest otherwise. Love it.
Hung around a bit to see how I did. Well, turned out I did ok.
So yeah; 2nd. This is why above I said I may want to race Sport if I can. Still felt great to do well in anything bike-related.
Then, home. Family bike ride. Another nice 14 tired miles with the family. Nolan singing in the trailer as we roll down the road. That’s better than a podium spot.
Not a bad weekend; not bad at all.