Tour de C-U Race Report – Katie Isermann

This past weekend I headed to Champaign-Urbana to race my bike with my teammates Leah
Sanda and Kelli Richter. I was looking forward to racing the first of many races with my
teammates. Can’t wait to race with our full team (Jeannie Kuhajek, Kimberly Gialdini, Marne
Smiley) this season!

We had a little meeting with Wayne before our race Saturday and we were hoping to get a break
to stick. We knew Les Petites Victoires (LPV) and Team Indiebike would be well represented
and thought if we could get a rider from one of each team up the road that was the best bet.
The gun went off and I led most of the first lap, felt like a good thing to do. The course was a
4 corner crit with a slight incline after turn 2 and slight decline into turn 3. A couple of attacks
strung the field out in the first few laps. At one point on the backside of the course I found
myself and a few ladies had a small gap on the field but we couldn’t get it to stick. About 10
minutes into the race Leah, Cady Chintis (LPV), and Liz Martin (Team Indiebike) had a gap on
the field. They continued to work together, while Jannette Rho (LPV), 2 Indiabike ladies, and I
were working to block the rest of the field. Sometime while this was going on a crash happened
right behind me, a new races rubbed wheels with the rider in front of her and ended up landing
right in front of Kelli and taking her down. Kelli has had bad luck lately with people going down
right in front of her. She shook it off, went to the wheel pit and got back in the race. I felt like
the rest of the race was uneventful, the break got away, out of sight out of mind. The field got
1 lap to go after our 5 or 6 to go. Apparently the break was catching us and they wanted us to
finish before them. Hearing 1 to go I had to get where I wanted to be in the field. Going around
the last corner I was further back than I wanted to be and was only able to grab 4th in the field
sprint for 7th overall. I was then able to cheer Leah on for her last 2 laps. I thought for sure she
had the race, she was 2nd wheel going into the last corner. It was a drag race the last straight
away, all 3 ladies right next to each other. Leah missed 1st place my millimeters, it was a photo
finish! Great race for our first team effort, we got a break to stay away and got 2nd place!

Saturday night was low key, Leah and I stayed at host housing with the LPV women. Leah and I
foam rolled and took ice baths to prepare ourselves to race again the next day. The next morning
we headed out to Star Bucks and decided to go support and cheer on the cat 4 women before
relaxing for a couple hours and heading back to the course since we were the last race of the day.
Racing later in the day is a newer thing for me and I am not sure if I like it. I remember racing in
the cat 4s races and hating having to get up early because my race was always 1st or 2nd. When
your race is later in the day you have so many other things to think about, breakfast and some
sort of lunch need to be consumed before you race at 3:30pm. The Lincoln Park Crit was the
same way and I thought that worked out okay for me so I would be fine. I just made sure I was
sitting in the shade and drinking plenty of water while I watched the end of the cat 3 race and the
PRO/1/2 race.

This was a more technical course with lots of bumps. It was 8 turns with a slight downhill
between turn 3 and 4 and then a uphill after turn 5. It was shaped like a T with the longest
straight away being the top of the T and the start/finish in the middle of that straight away. We
were able to have a little pow-wow with Wayne before his race since it was right before ours.
We wanted to try to see if we could get one of us away again today; maybe Kelli or me since
yesterday it was Leah. We were going to sit in for the first 10-15 minutes of the race and then
have Leah attack first, once she was brought back, have me attack, then so on with Kelli. If
something stuck then we would work with it and see what happened. The first lap all 3 of us
PSIMET women were near the front. The LPV women took turns attacking early in the race

strung out the field. Kelli chased down one of the attacks down. Like clockwork, Leah attacked
right after turn one about 13 minutes into the race. It strung everyone out and we were back
together about a lap later. Then I attacked around turn 2 and I was caught a little bit before the
start/finish, where they called a prime. I slowed a bit and got on a wheel and stayed there as the
girls sprinted for the prime. The pace stayed a little higher and sometime in the next few I
noticed there only 6 of us. I took a pull a couple laps later and then sat in. At that point we are
thinking we are a break and didn’t really know how much of a gap we had on the field. I find
out after the race that the group behind was just 4 women including my teammates, the rest of
the women had been shelled. The girls keep rotating thru; Wayne lets me know I shouldn’t be
working. At some point I can tell Jannette knows what I am doing and sits on my wheel for a
while. We are counting down in laps and then Jannette attacks coming thru start/finish and tries
to break up our group of 6. By the end of the lap we are back together again. I remember seeing
2 laps to go and next thing I know I see Leah flying by us, I think it took everyone a few seconds
to realize, “hey wait there goes our race”. I jumped on a wheel as we chase her. Flying towards
the start/finish we start to catch Leah. One to go and I go by Leah after turn 2 and know I need
to move up, NOW! Both LPV women and at least one Interbike lady is in front of me along
with 3 other women. I stand up and crank up the hill on the back side of the course go around
turn 7 fast. As I come out of turn 8, I past the last 2 women and am in first place. I start my
sprint early, I am riding my new PSIMET wheels and I can tell you this, I felt really fast in that
final sprint. I came across the line in first place! This wouldn’t have been possible without my
teammates and coaching from Wayne. My first win in a women’s open and still recovering from
my hip injury last fall! Looking forward to racing this season!