Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cross Race(s)

We here at Beverly Bike/Vee-Pak are not only putting on our usual mayhem on Sunday 10/12/14, but we are also opening up the course on Saturday 10/11/14 for a half day of non CCC racing. The reason for only a half day of cyclocross? Because in the morning we are hosting a 5k trail run on the same course. So save the date and bring out the runners, too. More information will follow next week.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tour of St. Louis

This past weekend Tony and I took a trip down to the St. Louis to race in the Tour of St Louis. The main goal was to see where our fitness level was. The race consisted of an 11 mile TT and 2 crits over the weekend.

The TT was on a winding road with a gradual up along the entire way out. It made for a really nice ride. Tony did well placing in the middle of the pack. I didn’t do so well coming in the back end of the group. The fastest time was around 26 min and the slowest was 33 min.

Crit 1 was located in Forest Park located just west of St. Louis. The course was fantastic! it was wide open with no technical turns. It did make for some fast racing with a 25+ mph avg. I was doing fine hanging out mid pack trying to stay out of the wind. Tony was sitting just ahead of me. The pace started fast at 26+ mph for the first 8 laps or so then we backed off a bit. That’s when I got complacent and rolled to the back of the field. Not paying attention, I let too much of a gap form and there was an acceleration. Like an idiot I didn’t close it down, so I was kind of upset with myself. I just rode around till the pack came back and jumped on the back. It was a long way to go not to keep riding. I was really mad at myself for making such a huge mistake. The only thing positive for me was the status of my fitness. I am very satisfied where I stand for now and look forward to having some good results later this year.

Crit 2? All I can say is to remember to read the race flyer. I showed up to the line 2 min late. NOT good. 


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Jackson Park 2013, A race recap from the Beverly Bike / VeePak newest member.

Two and a half laps into the Jackson Park race, the season opener for the Chicago Cross Cup, Rob
Smallman was shouting time gaps at me from the side of the course. It was one of those things you
appreciate a little, but at the same time wish you could block out. How many times has a helpful person shouted time gaps to you, seemingly never realizing that the time gap just keeps growing and your mind and lungs and legs are fully aware of that fact?

And so I rode, taking note of the stubborn ten second gap between me and the lead group of four, then three riders but thinking little of it. On such a course – not technical, really, just tight – there seemed little room to bring back the gap. And I was okay with this reality, sitting in fourth then fifth and riding into a solid finish in my first race in Beverly Bike – VeePak colors. I finished seventh here last year in a smaller field, so top five was the extent of my ambition today.

Something finally snapped me out of the rhythm of riding near the limit of my abilities. Rob shouted seven seconds at me. Then five. The front group slowed or I got faster and the gap kept shrinking. With a little under two laps to go, I closed the last of the gap in the first section of 180 degree turns and eased up. I was in the front group. Now, this has happened once before, in last year's Category 2/3 race at New Year's Resolution Day 2. I won then, but this was a group of a different caliber. I knew David Lombardo, and Brian Conant was there (the significance of which I would not realize til later). A bit at a loss of what to do, I relaxed, took the next two thirds of a lap to recover in preparation for what I thought surely must be a hectic last lap.

I left my apprehension somewhere between the double barriers by the canal and the last set of sharp
turns. Bike racing is bike racing, and I realized I had just ridden at least two laps faster than this group. As we filed onto the finishing straight, I attacked HARD up the left side. I did not want to fight with three others in every corner. Maybe I would blow up, maybe they had more left in reserve than I did or I expected, but you never win by lack of trying. Going into the blind, sweeping left-right turn at the end of the finishing straight I barely feathered the brakes, rear wheel starting to slide as we rounded the trees and pointed towards the first set of 180s. Gaps were not there yet, or not anything big enough to notice as I snapped out of each turn as hard as possible. Efficient it was not, but I knew I had to keep the pressure on to pop anyone or force mistakes.

I began to think the effort was in vain as we skittered up and down the camber in the last time hrough the barriers by the canal. But through the twisty but flowing next section, the gaps finally appeared, perhaps consolidated. David slipped inside me in a tight turn when I bobbled, but I was right back on his wheel and Brian was the closest rider and sat 5-6 seconds behind us. We fought towards the final barrier and then afterwards, but I could only ever get to David's bottom bracket before a turn forced me back behind him. Should I try to pass in the last sections, pull an aggressive move in a corner? It seemed possible, but the odds of it working seemed slim, so I prepared for the sprint. I was on autopilot through the last turns, selecting the first gear to wind up out of the final corner and moving my hands to the drops for the first time in the whole race. So intent was I on not letting a gap open up that our tires almost rubbed through the last turn. Then, we began to sprint. Almost as soon as we got out of the saddle and began to traverse the bumpy approach to the finish my left foot came out of the pedal. My chance to challenge David was gone, and I sat back down and accepted my fate, watching him cross the line hands in the air. But as I rolled across for second I could not help but smile. My expectations were still some 15 seconds back on the course, if not more. To have actually raced
rather than riding as hard as possible for an hour was new, and exhilarating. And maybe, just maybe,
that second place was all the more sweet after hearing everyone express surprise and wonder aloud just who that new guy in a BBVP kit was. Here's hoping they have more reasons to learn my name.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Dynamic Duo in Belfast

Mike Seguin (left) and Tony Rienks (center)

            They are the great pairs in history: Laurel and Hardy; peanut butter and jelly; Heckle and Jeckle. Now we can add Mike Seguin and Tony Rienks to that list. The two Chicago firefighters from the city’s southside participated in August’s World Police and Fire Games in Belfast, Ireland. And the pair, who also race for the Beverly Bike/Vee-Pak race team, showed how to race on the other side of the pond.
            The competition, which happens every two years, is something the pair has been training for since the last games in New York. With over forty-eight countries represented, there were a slew of riders that wanted to cross the finish line first in the thirty minute criterium. After four laps in, both Seguin and Rienks were in a breakaway of just eight riders. After the field was whittled down to just six riders with three laps to go, the pair turned on the pressure in the final lap around the Stormont Parliament Buildings. Seguin took the gold, with Rienks scoring a bronze. But one half of the dynamic duo was not yet finished.
            In the thirty-six mile road race, Seguin attacked a field of eighty-four riders at the top of the final climb, a scant four miles from the finish. With two miles of that a downhill, Seguin was ecstatic that he was able to hold the field at bay as he took his second gold of the games.
            “Thanks to a peloton that thought I would not stay away and that downhill, I was able to make my team, my city, and my country proud,” remarked an exhausted Seguin at the finish line.
            You can catch the pair at Beverly Bike/Vee-Pak’s annual cyclocross race at Dan Ryan Woods on October 13th.