Memorial Weekend Racing in Iowa

Last weekend a few of us PSIMET gals (me, Cathy Frampton and Kelli Richter) plus one former PSIMET and current Vanderkitten, Jeannie Kuhajek, hit the road for Iowa to tackle Snake Alley, Melon City and Quad Cities.  We hit the road early enough on Friday that we had time to go for a ride once we got to Burlington.  The weather was perfect (too bad it didn’t last) and we had a chance to see some of the men’s road race.  We spied the PSIMET jersey of Nick Pomella in the mix which we ended up seeing the next couple days at the pointy end of the men’s cat5 races.  A really long wait for unimpressive food at the Drake finished off our day.


Saturday started out cold and wet.  Cathy and I did the 2/3 race in the morning in pouring rain and thunder.  As all us girls huddled shivering under an awning awaiting the start the official came over and said “Dump some air out of your tires.  Everyone.”  Yes sir.  I debated even racing the Psimet carbons in the rain but honestly they felt perfect.  Braking was solid and wheels were sure footed.  I probably raced on 75 pounds in my Vittoria tubs.  For some reason, despite the cold and drenching rain plus surfing through rivers on the descent, this was the most fun I’ve ever had here.  I never do well at this race but it is always a lot of fun.  Cathy had a better result but she got tamed by the snake a bit this day.  It dried up in the afternoon for the W123 which I was happy to not race. Kelli and Jeannie tore it up finishing 6th and 7th respectively.

IMG_2493  Kelli shredding legs up the snake.


Sunday was Melon City.  We all raced the afternoon W123 race.  Another course I struggle with due to how deep I have to dig on the hill.  I seem to crest the top at the back or within reach of the field then have to dig even deeper to bridge that gap but don’t quite have it.  After 3 hot laps I popped.  I decided to make it a solid training day and rode hard until the field lapped me in the last ¼ of the race.  By then the pace had slowed or I figured out how to ride the hill with less energy and had no issues staying with the field.  Hmm.  Yes I’d say my lack of climbing ability is in large part in my head.  I slid off the back for the finish so I would not get in the way and finished solidly 2nd to last.  Sigh.  Cathy opted to not race Melon as it has always been bad luck for her.  Kelli once again rode amazingly and smart, not getting carried away chasing everything and kept her eye on the biggest threats.  She finished 4th in a sprint finish, coming within a spokes width of 3rd.


Monday is by far one of my favorite courses.  The chicken cage, some call it, due to all the chicken wire they use to keep stray people/children/dogs from colliding with the racers and vice versa.  It is flat and fast and has 8 turns.  It is notoriously slippery in the wet but we got very lucky and the rain held off.  I was super pumped for the morning 2/3 race and tried to race smart.  I stayed near the front and avoided a number of crashes.  At one point I sorta started a move up/hey maybe I’ll attack move just as someone else attacked so I got on it but it fizzled.  Nothing got away.  I set myself up for the sprint finish but with the effort needed to position myself I didn’t have what I needed for the last ¼ lap+sprint.  Finished 7th and in the money.  Next up was the 123 race.  Feeling tired and not really in the mood to race again I toed the lined half hearted and went for a fun and fast cruise.  Kelli was holding good position and spent a little time off the front and finished 7th.    The pace was much higher than the morning race which kept it much smoother and there were fewer crashes.  Cathy had a so-so day as she struggled with not feeling her normal mojo on Monday so I have a feeling she’s looking for redemption over the next couple weekends.  So, with a little extra money in our pockets we capped off a fun weekend of racing with a stop at Culvers to gorge on burgers and ice cream.  After all, that’s the whole reason for racing bikes, right?

Leah Sanda

May 11, 2013 – Monsters of the Midway

By Katie Isermann

Last week I was nervous as my legs seemed to take longer to recover from the 3 races in Champaign-Urbana then I expected but as the weekend drew nearer I got excited to race in Chicago as you don’t get this opportunity very often.  And when I found out two of my teammates would be joining me I got even more excited!  Cathy, Leah, and I toed the line for the women’s open just before noon at Monsters of Midway on Saturday under partly sunny skies and cooler weather than I hoped as I had arm and leg warmers on.  The open race wasn’t too exciting, there were some attacks but nothing stuck, which is normally how Monsters goes, you can see the whole course on this flat rectangle so you never have “out of sight out mind”.  The last few laps were pretty slow until Cady Chintis of Les Petites Victoires got on the front during the last lap.  But on the back side of the course the group mushroomed and Leah and I got boxed in the middle of the group.  Cathy was near the front and pulled off 7th out 24 women.  It was nice to have a larger talented field of women racing!  We didn’t have any stellar results in this race but we all learned something and that’s still a victory in our books!

Leah and Cathy then road home to get some more miles in while I tried to stay loose as I was going to race the women’s 3/4 race an hour and half later.  As I got to the line I noticed how large our field was, over 40 starters!  I was happy to get a call up, as I had earned Illinois Cup points last week in Urbana, so I could have a clean start.  The pace stayed up in this race and at one point early in the race I found myself near the back of the pack and attacked hard and got a gap and stayed a way for just over half a lap.  A little while later Ellen Ryan of xXx attacked and got a way, I tried to bridge to her and had a few girls with me.  After a little over a lap we closed the gap and the field was back together but this strong attack broke the group up.  The pace stayed up and didn’t slow as it did in the women’s open.  After turn 2 on the last lap Annie Byrne of Half Acre jumped on the front and the pace increased as the group was single file.  Ashley Korol of Bicycle Heaven was on Annie’s wheel and I got on Ashley’s wheel, a good place to be as she won the women’s open earlier in the day.  Ashley took off right after we rounded the last corner and I tried with everything I had to stay on her wheel but it slowly got further and further away.  I am coming back from a hip injury that still isn’t 100% and sprinting from that last corner took a lot of me and I wasn’t able to hold, Ellen pasted me few meters before the finish.  I was happy to have my first podium of the year and 2 races were I was starting to feel like my old self!