The radar looked like it might hold off the rain in Madison long enough for us to race so MJH2 and I decided to hit the road.
We took our time – neither of us particularly psyched to race again after 2 races the day before. As soon as I got out of the car I was smacked on the face with some frigid wind – all too familiar to our cheese-making beer-filled neighbors to the North.
At registration MJH2 and I stalled picking our plan for the day. 1 race? 2? Which one? Then MJH2 decided that for the small amount of $$ it was worth registereing for both. I just thought to myself – “SUCK!”
The crowd wasn’t as big as it was the day before. Only us diehard fools with chain lube for blood were able to brave the cold and the inevitable rain to knock wheels and bang bars in yet another industrial park in the midwest.
The kit resembled something I would have expected to wear during the height of cyclocross. Vest, warmers, toe covers, etc… blech. Just yesterday it was shorts, sleeveless base and jersey with no hat. Hell I still had sunscreen in the car.
First race was the cat 4. Some guys from the day before were back. I swear there were some fresh guys too. We started way slow. It was nice. I found myself where I normally am – floating right around 5-8th wheel. One of the laps I found myself second wheel going into the hill where the guy on the front decided he wanted to attack. There was no jump he just accelerated so I went with it not realizing this guy was trying to attack. He got to the top of the hill and popped – going right back into me. Rubbed tires a bit but then he was gone…and I was up front.
I rode it. I thought I was taking it easy but MJH2 told me I was riding tempo. OOoops. Rode about 1.5 laps on the front. Suck. I did too much work. When someone finally took over I found myself dangling. I hadn’t warmed up before the race and I just wasn’t firing right. Took a couple more laps and then went off the back. DNF. Suck
So…I knew I would race the second race better. I went in semi-warm. MJH2 took a flyer and it looked good enough that I was about to go to the front to block when their group started to come backwards. MJH2 sat up and was throwing it in. I yelled at him to stay in because I knew the group wasn’t going to do crap after they caught him, but he was having none of it.
After that I just rode the race. You get in a groove. Just kind of ebb and flow with the group. The lines and corncers become mechanical and you start looking around at who is doing what. Three guys from a team with “Port-A-John” on their bib butts were on the front trying to get their man another win. I made a joke about the race going into the toilet. No one laughed. No one got it. I had to explain it to one guy. Before that he thought I was complaining about the low speed. So the group was tired.
I kept hanging in there every lap. Was kind of on the edge of popping a lot, but never did. I just held it. I knew when and where the surges were going to come in the last few laps and they did. I covered them. I figured I was cooked for the inevitable sprint, but figured I would line up and give it what I had from the back.
Coming into the final straight I had enough speed to launch me. I figured what the heck….so I hit it. I went too late and didn’t really have enough road to wind out my sprint but I picked up about 10-15 spots – finishing in 5th place out of the 26 that started – 25 finished (MJH2 was the only one who didn’t).
It wasn’t until later that MJH2 pointed out to me that I probably got an upgrade point. I did the math when I got home and he was right…I should get an upgrade point. Too bad I don’t feel like ever upgrading again.
Good trip – good series. I’ll report on the first day later. Next time I wish they’d actually CLOSE the roads instead of just implying that they were closed but still letting a TON of cars on to the course…including one coming into the Masters 1/2/3 field in the final corner of their race….Ooops.