This weekend was full of fun and surprises. The fun started in Thiensville, a groovy suburb of Milwaukee that was host to on of the best four corner crits I've ever done.
The course was a perfect rectangle. The corners were challenging and the heat was impeccable. It had to be upwards of 90 degrees and humid as a Finlander's sauna. I had fun, didn't really feel very "ramped up" for this crit due to my training plan not fitting perfectly but the race provided a good way to get in the racing groove again in preparation for Saturday's race in Grafton. I pulled out a solid 25th place in Thiensville, nothing special but I was happy to finish given the heat and due to some rather sketchy riders.
Saturday was Grafton, a six corner course with 2 gradual rises and a 250 meter finish stretch. This was my course. Sadly a break-away got off the front and even though I did do some work on the front, we were not able to pull it back. I couldn't do it alone. I sat in the rest of the race, trying to put the cards back in my favor slightly. In the midst of all the action I wrapped myself into a pretty gnarly wipe-out. Someone's powertap computer fell of just ahead of me, unannounced to me and with a one in a million chance I hit it with my weight over the bars and flew over the handlebars in a bloody heap. I was wearing my brand new kit, let's just say it's only use now is for cross season, if that. This happened with about 12 laps to go so I hurried over to neutral support and got the bike checked out. Only the brake levers were scratched up a bit and had. The bike looked good, my adrenaline was pumping and I wanted back in. I took my free lap, got a big push to get back in with the group as they approached the wheel pit and jumped right back into the action.
I felt super strong at this point, as I said, my adrenaline was pumping it was my kind of course and I simply just wanted to go. I decided it better for me to sit in and wait for the final laps. The break kept getting further away and it became hopeless to catch them and so it was every man for himself to duke out the field sprint. The final lap came and on the third straight the guy sitting in around sixth wheel just face planted creating a domino effect crash, piling up 10-15 riders. Luckily I was just behind some of the last guys tangled up in it, swung way wide of it all and got in on 5th or 6th wheel. I sat in until the finish stretch where everyone in front of me simply sat on their butt and hard pedaled. I swung out, looked at them as I went by and captured yet another field sprint, good enough for 5th place overall. Solid day.
I woke up Sunday in rough shape, my body was sore and I was tired because I was up late taking care of my road rash. My aunt was planning on coming down for the race as she lives in Green Bay and the race was in Appleton. I couldn't bring myself to call her and say I wasn't racing so I got out on the bike before making a final decision to make sure my power wasn't lacking and that I could turn the pedals in a good circle. I felt pretty decent once I got on the bike and decided it was go time, packed up the truck, ate some breakfast and headed North for Appleton.
It was great to have my aunt there, she said "hi" right at the start before the gun went off which was great because I had almost lost hope of seeing her by the time the race was about to start. She brought her camera and is who I owe credit to for the pictures in this entry.
I went out with no expectations since I was still a hurtin' unit and I knew I had more important things this next weekend, SBF. I didn't take any risks, went out and won my first prime lap ever for 20 bucks cash, and brought in a 19th place finish. I was pleased with the result given the condition of my body. I got in bad position for the last 3 laps and didn't feel like taking any risks as I had been banged up enough for one weekend, let alone the whole summer.
I'm pretty pleased with my fitness level, I didn't feel too fatigued at all after the weekend. My body is taking the crash pretty well. I've got road rash on my right shoulder, elbow, hip and lower leg as well as my left knee. My hip is bruised as well as that was the first thing to hit. Sadly I destroyed my brand new skinsuit after just 2 days of racing, blowing out the right shoulder and hip.
All in all it was a great weekend, The Tour of America's Dairyland is a great series even in only its second year of existence. If you haven't heard of it, get familiar because it is, I'm sure, about to become the best series of racing in the midwest. Last year the pro fields were only reaching about 90 riders where this year they have been over 100 and pushed 150 in Grafton. If the pros are going, you should too!