Sunday, June 21, 2009


KA-POW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Whoa, was that a gun shot? Did someone just have a blow out? Oh I know what it was, that was me during the Masters 4/5 race today at Fox River Grove. Having never made the drive out the previous three years, and after hearing great things about the course from everyone I talked to, I made sure that I wouldn't miss the race this time around. At about the halfway point I sorta wished I had missed it though.

This year Tony, Jorge, Paul and myself would try and tame the course with Paul lining up for the Cat 4/5 alone while the three of us toed the proverbial line in the Masters race. Upon arrival, Tony and I had planned to double up and do the 4/5 as well, that is until we pre-rode the course in street clothes, whereupon we quickly realized our foolishness and decided the one race would be plenty. We did make one crucial mistake before the race had even started though, we took that free lap as instructed, which put us in the back two rows for the start, and in this race that was a bad place to be.

The gun goes off, the group rolls out and immediately I am stuck behind two guys who cannot clip in to save their life which puts me at the ass end of the race from the gun. Tony goes scampering up the road toward Jorge and the rest of the race as I try and pick my way through the riders. I follow Luke's instructions and try and stay seated for most of the climb to save my legs and things go well the first time up the hill. Although I am pretty sure at this point that I will never see the front of the race. Oh well. Chalk it up to making a poor decision to line up so far back. I chase back on the downhill and regain a glimmer of hope. Unfortunately that glimmer was about as shiny as the rhinestones on Miss Fox River Grove's tiara and soon enough the hill took its toll and I was off the back.

Every so often I would catch a glimpse of Jorge as he made his away through the corners ahead of me, but try as I might, I could not close the distance as my legs, lungs and genetics all teamed up against me. As it turns out Jorge dropped his chain 3 times on the climb, which no doubt sealed his fate at 37th place. As for me, Dave Fowkes kindly pulled me with 2 to go, at which point I didn't put up a fight and actually thanked him. I finished a disappointing 40th.

Tony was left to fend for himself after my legs quit working and Jorge's bike decided that it would have rather stayed at home rather than work today. Tony made progress each lap and eventually found himself sitting in a select group containing the favorites. He played it cool and managed to not take the race into his own hands, staying amongst the wheels and saving it for the finale rather than trying a solo move. Although in hindsight, maybe the course was dictating the tactics today and not allowing anything solo to go up the road. With two to go Tony was still looking strong and sitting in about 8th through the start finish. As luck would have it though that would be the last time he would see the top ten. As they hit the hill an attack went, Tony reacted and went with it but couldn't stay with the move. Try as he may on the back of the course he couldn't close down on the attackers and settled in at 15th. After the finish he was wondering why he was having such a hard time following the move up the hill, when we realized that he had broken a spoke in his rear wheel causing it to rub the brakes with every rotation. So not only had he managed to sit in the top ten for most of the race, he managed to do it with his wheel broken and slowing him down every time it turned. Hulk Strong! Make bike go fast!

As I said earlier Paul was our only representative in the 4/5 race and although I don't know his final result, I do know that he was pulled as was about 25% of the field.

Tony 15th
Jorge 37th
Damon 40th

Cobb Park

Can you say HOT & HUMID? Well the complaining about the cold spring we were having was abruptly stopped at the Cobb Park race put on by the South Chicago Wheelman. Now all I could hear is, WOW is it humid. Still the racing was fantastic.

I went out early to see Matt race in the Cat/5 race. This was going to be his second race and I didn’t want him to be out there alone. He did an excellent job, due to the fact that there were 3 crashes during the race. Matt said he always seamed to find a clean line threw the mayhem. It’s the number one thing to do. Stay upright. Everything else will work out. Matt came in with a pack finish to start the day off.

I raced in the 4 race, and the 4/5 masters. This was my first race as a cat/4, and I soon found out the 4 race was bit calmer, and a lot faster than the Cat/5 race. I pretty much sat in the back of the pack and just road the race out. I had to do a lot of extra work in the back with the constant sprinting out of the turns. But I didn’t want to have to always keep fighting for position in the front. There will be enough of that during super week.

In the 4/5 Masters I was joined by Jorge, who was nice and refreshed. Jorge stayed in the front riding a good race; He even took a flyer off the front, but the pelaton was not going to let anyone go. Jorge was able to sprint in for 13th and I cursed in to take 18th. All in all it was a good day.