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, October 1, 2013
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
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.
Posted by BBVP at 6:42 PM
Monday, August 26, 2013
One of our goals for 2014 is to promote women’s racing by developing and supporting our own Elite Women’s Racing Team of about five riders. To do this, BBVP Racing Team is looking for dedicated, hard working women, predominantly from the south side of Chicago or surrounding area, who are riding at any level. Our main goal would be to race in the Prairie State Cycling Classic, along with other target races. We also hope to have them frequent southside team rides.
If you are interested or know someone that would be, please contact BBVP Team Captain Mike Seguin (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions and concerns. We would also appreciate if this information could be passed on. We are looking to have a roster for the team in place by this November.
Posted by BBVP at 6:26 PM
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Bob Murray raced the Cat 3/4 Masters and stuck with the pack the whole 50 minutes. His fitness is REALLY coming around this critical time of year. He finished 41st in a field of 120.(By the way, Bob also took 7th yesterday in South Bend, while Tony Reinks took 6th.)
The day did not start well for Mike Seguin. After no sleep at the firehouse, he arrived to find the Cat 2/3 field was filled up; so he ended up racing the Cat 1/2 35+, which often tends to be the second fasted field. Just like his teammates, Mike’s fitness is also coming around at an important time of the year. He was able to not only to hang with the pack, but stayed in the top 20 the whole race. He ended up finishing at the back of the lead group in 24th overall.
BBVP is very happy with the results, and both racers are on course for mid-July and the Tour of the Prairieland!
Today went really well too. Huge thanks to Nikki Cyp for setting up lodging up for the racers in Sheboygan.
Bob rode in the Masters 3/4 again and performed much better. He stayed in the top 20 of a 100+ field the whole race. This of course saved him a bunch of matches to burn for the last couple laps. On the final lap he got pinched in turn two and lost some spots after grabbing a handful of brakes. The racing was very aggressive, and he doesn’t need any reminders that to stay up in the pack he has to get more aggressive himself. He ended up finishing 31st. Better placing than yesterday and much better riding!!!
Today Mike was able to make it into the Cat 2/3 race, which had only 99 racers today. Like yesterday, he stayed in the top 20, but was also able to feel the aggressive nature coming back to his racing. As in Bob’s race, he got pinched in turn three and lost about ten spots. He finished a very respectable 21st and was passing riders on his sprint to the line. Mike later said that it was as tough a race as yesterday in the Masters 1/2, but a bit sketchier with all the young “punks” in the race that couldn’t hold their line in a turn if it had a handle on it. The fifty minute race had an average speed of 28.2 mph. Pretty fast, indeed.
Posted by BBVP at 6:28 AM
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
It’s not every day you meet a multiple gold medal winning Olympian. And a winner of marathons in Chicago and London. Members of the Beverly Bike/Vee-Pak Bicycle Racing team not only got to meet Tatyana McFadden, but rode alongside her on Sunday, April 28th.For the past ten years, Beverly Bike and Ski Shop owner Paul Weise has helped sponsor the American Cancer Society’s annual Walk and Roll in downtown Chicago. This year’s was no different: Paul once again provided any needed repairs to riders in the 15K charity bike ride event. What would be different this time around was the inclusion of paralympian Tatyana McFadden, who serves as an ambassador for BP. Fresh off her wins in the Boston and London Marathon women’s wheelchair division, Tatyana was escorted along the course in Chicago by members of the Beverly Bike/Vee-Pak team. Other members patrolled the course to help out any participants in case of mechanical or medical incidents.
“Yeah, we are a race team, but it’s not always about going fast. It’s about going the distance. Just like Tatyana and the American Cancer Society,” said Beverly team president Bob Murray after he and other members of the team escorted the gold medal winner around the course. Although the team has won numerous state championships on the road and dirt, helping out at the annual Walk and Roll is something the whole team makes a commitment to attend when the yearly calendar is set in January.
Posted by BBVP at 6:10 PM