I'm not sure where to start, it's been a long week already and I've got a full week to go... hence the name SUPERWEEK. I've had some success and some hardships already, so here goes the story.
I had some trouble finding a place to stay. Luckily the guy I stayed with last year, a ZIPP sales rep, found me somewhere pretty close to last minute in Chicago for the first few nights. I struck out in Milwaukee for week two so I am now staying with my friend in Madison, Tony Phillips. The people that housed me in Chicago were great, they had a nice house, let me watch the Tour at will and even fed me. I couldn't have asked for much more.
On the racing front, things started out on a decent note. Day one was a criterium in Richton Park, IL through not what I would call a "ghetto" or a "project" but lets just say I was the minority on this particular occasion. I did this same race last year and it is a tough course. I played it safe since it was early in the series and finished 14th, just in the money for 20 bucks. The next day was the Willow Springs Road Race. We raced through a forest preserve on pretty decent roads. There was a climb and an uphill finish which provided some excitement every lap. We raced for only 30 miles compared to the previous days 35 mile, 80 minute crit. I got in a couple breakaways but had no success. There was a 2 man breakaway with only 2 laps to go. No one thought it would stick and when organization fizzled it managed to do so. The finish was uphill and I sat 5th wheel up the hill for the finish line and as soon as it leveled out slightly, the line was in sight I flew out to the left and up that side. I held my sprint just high enough to out sprint all but one member in the field for 2nd in the field and 5th overall. The next day, was a pretty fun criterium in Lake Geneva, west of Kenosha. There was a good climb, a good hill and a perfect fast finish. I sat in all day, it was extremely hot and I just wanted to make it to the finish. I did just that and we caught every breakaway attempt. It was super windy and I should probably not have ridden my 808s but they paid off in the sprint. I was poised for a 2nd or 3rd but a minor tangle with a rider from ISCorp slowed me down for another 5th place. The next day was a rest and travel day from Chicago to Madison.
I arrived in Madison and Tony and I unpacked the truck and we set out for an easy hour ride while our dinner baked in the oven. When we got back it was Stouffer's lasagna on the menu, we caught up for a while then headed off to bed. We woke up early for our drive to the race in Milwaukee.
The race was in Brookfield, a lovely suburb of Milwaukee. Tony's rear brake broke before the race, causing it to rub constantly. He decided to race despite the technical difficulty and we both set out in the heat again. I made it one lap further than Tony did. He finally had pushed high enough watts for too long and popped off the back. I had found myself in a breakaway and after taking a pull I found myself in a high need of recovery. I got forced to the front of the break and popped soon after. I fell back to the group and tried to hang on to the back. I dangled off the back there for about a lap like a dingleberry just waiting to be wiped off the back. It happened pretty soon, I tried to recover on the back of the group then I popped. I took one easy lap and it was over. I dropped out of a race for the first time in over 2 years. It hurt me mentally but I swore to myself I would come back stronger the next day.
That next day was a super tough crit with a very steep climb after the start/finish line then an even bigger downhill and two technical corners at very high speeds. It was a left hand turn course, which is my style and I knew I could do well in a sprint finish if positioned well. A break got out sadly and organization fizzled with just four or five laps to go. The hill was killer EVERY lap but I got a good system for a high cadence all the way up in the big ring. By the top I was almost grimacing every time through.
I stayed up near the front, safe and sound all day. We flew around the corners and when it came time for the last lap, things were pretty tense in the group. I positioned myself in the top 15 for the finish, there was a big crash on the outside of the last corner and luckily I was on the inside. The group was pretty strung out so I had some ground to cover, it was a drag race finish. I put out some good power numbers, not my best but close at almost 1400W instantaneous and just over 1300 for 5 sec. I came in for 11th place, not as far up as I had hoped but even though I was on the inside I lost a bit of momentum from others taking the turn tighter and me having to grab the brakes.
So far I'm quite pleased with my results. This week I have 3 road races in a row, Monday through Wednesday followed by a crit on Thursday where Jesse will be joining me. I will take Friday off from racing and then race Saturday and Sunday to finish out the series. I am currently sitting in 9th overall and I'm hoping this stretch over the week will help me climb a bit higher. Sorry for so much to update on, I'll hopefully keep this better posted.