PSIMET’s Fox River Grove Omnium – W Open by Leah Sanda

In case you were in a coma recently, last weekend was our team’s omnium.  Elgin on Saturday and the infamous Fox River Grove on Sunday.    Elgin offered a great sprinters course with a technical set of turns.  Fox River Grove was a climbers course.  It’s not a long climb but at a grade hitting over 15%, it’s painful.  The omnium was scored based on 2 points laps and overall finish.

The PSIMET Women’s elite team consists of 6 racers: Katie Isermann, me, Kim Gialdini, Kelli Richter, Marne Smiley, and Jeannie Kuhajek. This was the first time we have all been together.  In fact, since Jeannie only arrived from her winter home in New Zealand this past week, some were only meeting for the first time on Saturday.

Elgin – Our goal here was pretty simple, “Be opportunistic. Go after as many points as possible”  Since we had no experience all riding together, anything else more complicated didn’t make sense.  As much as I feared the race would be dull with Psimet being the bulk of the field, some last minute entries by some strong riders resulted in an awesome and hard race.  After a tame 1st lap, Erin Woloszyn (Village – Verdigris) kicked it off with a very strong attack.  After a moments consideration and feeling antsy I thought “Why not?” and decided to join her.  It was a short lived break and I spent the next 10-15 minutes hanging on to the field for dear life and realizing I needed a much better warm-up.  By the time my legs finally decided they were back with me, and after multiple attack attempts and the first points lap, Jeannie and Jessi Prinner (ABD) had established a break and a healthy gap.  I was finally feeling good when they announced a $20 field prime so I went after it and grabbed it and one of the sprint lap points.  Kelli made a strong attack at 1.5 to go.  Initially no one responded but then Cathy Frampton (Project 5) took off to join her.  I debated chasing after Cathy but the field seemed content to wait for a field sprint so I decided to see if Kelli could make a go of it and I set myself up for the field sprint.  I really liked the downhill into the tight left turn and had total confidence in my Psimet wheels holding the road so I launched my sprint on the downhill and gained a comfortable gap to cruise in for 5th behind Kelli.  Jeannie and Jessi came down to a photo finish with Jessi taking the top step, Cathy 3rd and Psimet 4,5,6,7,9.

Fox River Grove – This course is tricky.  I know I’m not a great climber but I’m better than years past and I’m a good descender.  So my personal plan was to climb as best I can and descend like crazy.  I actually felt pretty good the 1st climb but by the 3rd climb the effort of staying with the pack caught up to me and I slid off the back.  This is always one of those moments where I wish I had one of those invisibility cloaks like Harry Potter’s.  But the crowd on the hill was awesome and cheered me up each of the last 3 laps as I pushed against my own body’s limitations.  I never gave up though and for some stupid reason I enjoyed the race.  It’s hard not to with such a great atmosphere.  Even the local residents were super friendly and welcoming.  Psimet had a great day with Jeannie taking the win and the omnium overall, Jessi Prinner 2nd and Kim Gialdini taking 3rd.  I was not surprised to see Marne high up in the finish in 5th.  Despite her “post marathon and just started riding last week” legs I guessed she would be a naturally good climber.  Kelli put the hurt on the pack too, attacking on one of the climbs.

Overall it was great to hang out and get to know each other.  We are super excited to all be headed to IA this weekend for the Snake Alley, Melon City and Quad Cities races.  Bring it!