I received an email from Pat saying he was headed up to the Monday’s race in Wood Dale. This is the long course, they combine the Saturday and the Sunday courses to make a long 1.6mi circuit race. I have raced the Saturday race before and I liked the course. It was wide open and fast with only one turn you couldn’t peddle through at full speed. So I figure that I need to do this race because I’m still looking for my race legs. I think they are still in the basement hiding.
When I arrive at the race, who do I see? Paul, he’s out to do the masters 1/2/3. Looks like Pat and I weren’t the only ones looking for our legs. Paul road well but faded in the end with a lot of pressure being put on by a very strong field. It was still good to see him out racing.
Now to the Masters 4 race. It was a 30+ rider field with some strong riders in it. I wanted to get to the front as soon as possible and try to push the tempo. In the first lap, 2 other riders and I went out fast putting 20sec gap into the field, when the guy from Tower sat up and wouldn’t pull. So the field quickly pulled us back in. I stayed in the top 3 riders for a few laps and then faded back to get some rest. That’s when they let a guy from xXx got off the front. No one wanted to try and bring him back, so I decided I would try and bridge the gap. When I talked to Pat after the race he said they were going to let me go, and that I would die in the wind. Then all of a sudden they ramped up the speed and dragged me back. As soon as the caught me Pat tried to make a counter move. But the field quickly jumped on his wheel. By this time we only had 4 laps to go so I sat in and tried to recover.
On the last lap the field was getting a bit crazy with everyone trying to gain position without putting their nose into the wind. That’s when a tire blew or someone touched wheels. All I saw was bikes flying through the air and one of the coming right at me. I was able to calmly avoid the carnage but huge gap opened up. So I came rolling in just behind the field. All in all it was a good day. My race fitness is slowly coming back. As Brian and Seegs keep telling me, you have to race, to get race legs. It’s impossible to simulate the tempo of a crit race without racing.