Lincoln Park is an interesting course. Some slight elevation changes and a wide open course. It is the second time I’ve raced year here out of the three years it had been held. It runs on some of the roads that surround the Montrose Harbor cyclocross course. I don’t know if it is the proximity to Lake Michigan, but wind seems to be a normal factor in the race. A strong thunderstorm rolled through the Northwest suburbs around midday but thankfully rolled north of the city. We instead got to contend with sunny skies and a steady 15+ mph wind out if the south.
For the Men’s 4/5 race, I made the same mistake as last year. I didn’t warm up well enough. I wasn’t ready for the surges at the beginning laps of the race. I blew up too quick and led a group of stragglers around to be pulled by the officials. Fifteen minutes of racing in a thirty minute race. Not good. I placed 31st out of 52 finishers. John Cline joined me in this race.
The Men’s Cat 4 race went better. I surfed around the pack most of the race but found myself in a bad position going into the hairpin last time. I’d planned to come up the inside and cut the corner tight, sprinting off the turn and picking up positions. It had worked in earlier laps, but unfortunately I was not the only rider with this idea. Finding myself in the middle of the pack going up the incline to the hairpin I could see a food of riders going up the inside on the left. I found some open space on the outside and took it. With the crush of riders inside I ended up getting pushed all the way to the curb coming out of the corner. My post was clear, but required bunny hopping a storm grate and nit being able to cleanly accelerate out of the corner. Bad positioning going into the corner = bad positioning coming out off the corner. I really need to concentrate on better positioning at the end of races. I think I end up subconsciously trying to save something for a sprint I don’t get to participate in because I’m too far out when it starts. On contrast, watching and talking to Katie Isserman after the traces have me some good insight into a good strategy. Katie hung toward the end of the pack most of her race and moved to third wheel in the pack with three to go. (Teammate Sarah Szefi made a bold move with ten to go by soloing off the front. Ellen Ryan of xXx and Dani Marie of Ego pb Sammy’s tried to cover the attack but ended up in no man’s land not being able to bridge to Sarah but staying away from the rest of the field. On the bell lap, Katie gapped the remaining pack on the back stretch and cruised to fourth. Way better planning and something for me to chew on before my next race. In my opinion. The women’s 123 race provided some of the best racing off the day and was very entertaining to watch. I finished 32nd out of 50 finishers. Andrew Lowe, John Cline and Randall Swanson joined me in Men’s 4 race.