Turns out that there isn’t a whole lot of money in the not-for-profit “business”. While all you suckers were working Friday, I spent my 8-hour-a-week work cut (i.e. Friday’s off) up in Wisconsin racing my bike. Aside from snagging a couple of podium’s from me over the past two years, Nick Ramirez (Burnham) stole one of my hometown ladies a few years ago which means he ends up in Woodstock from time to time so Friday he and Bridget followed Katie and me north.
Long omnium’s like TOAD are interesting because they pull in a lot more people than most races, a lot of people you don’t know, and you never know who is able to show up at 2pm on a Friday and race a bicycle. The advice was given to me that the first few days are inevitably going to be fast; large powerful fields with fresh legs. Additionally, as I’m on the cusp of requesting my category 2 upgrade, the 2/3 fields of TOAD are a nice way for me to assess how my cure for impatient-fucktinitis is coming along.
After a mediocre warm-up I was at the line of the biggest crit field I’ve been in all year. My plan all along was to tail-gun at least the first half of the race (one of the better ways to cure impatient-fucktinitis is to force the issue, I guess). This ended up being one of the better decisions I made of the race (It actually wasn’t my decision at all, these were my orders). Sitting last wheel allowed me to take whatever lines I wanted, suck massive amounts of wheel, and gave me plenty of room to avoid the several (7…) wrecks in the race. This conserved a lot of energy; while I watched everyone else sprinting out of turns, I was able to ride under threshold. The only thing that would have made it more enjoyable would have been a piña colada.
At 18 minutes of 50, I decided it was time to start moving up. Not halfway through the race yet, but the course was a little tight and moving up wasn’t exactly easy. In 3 laps, I had made steady progress forward and found myself hovering around 10th. Staying up front was almost more difficult than moving up (which is probably why it was hard to maintain position). The front of the field was a lot harder on the legs due to the constant surges. The race stress was also worse, especially after a wreck on the front stretch in which I saw a bike tumble 30 feet down the road and 6 feet in the air.
Soon the lap count came up with 15 to go and started ticking down. A few people took forays off the front to no avail, the race had just been too fast in the beginning. At 7 laps left when I was trying to gain a few more spots on the front stretch and the field went from a semi-strung out line of 3 wide to a wall of 8 wide and slowed down. At the same time, we rolled across the line and a prime was announced. I couldn’t hear exactly what it was, I thought I heard “Sarah” and “training”. My momentum from moving up along with the field slowing down meant I could easily get a gap with no effort.
I generally don’t care about primes and I really didn’t care about this one but there were 7 laps left, the field had been slowing down for the last 10 minutes and had just slowed down a lot. I thought it wasn’t a horrible idea to see what could happen. As I passed the front of the pack I assumed that either someone(s) would come with me, or the entire field would chase me down within a few seconds. Neither happened, which was a little frustrating (in that no one wanted to play with me) and a little reassuring (the field didn’t care to chase me down). I don’t get why people are always so content to roll around in a fast group ride for $40 while all day long in other races (typically older guys, and the p/1/2/ fields) I see people attacking and counter attacking . 3′s? Sit in, all day. Everyone is Mark Cavendish, after-all. That or I just have a really bad case of impatient-fucktinitis.
At any rate. I was building an ok gap with minimal effort. At a minimum I would win this Sarah Lee Training boxed cake, or whatever it was. I would assess things after that and decide what my goal would be. As I crossed the line, the gap was about 8 seconds I calculated. I decided to keep going. I took turn 1 a little poorly the first lap but focused in on my breathing, my pace, and taking good lines. The next lap I gained 2 seconds after hearing an announcement from the stage that I had 10 seconds on the field and felt maybe this could work. 7 laps is a long time for me to go solo though. I began to get a cramp in my belly, which was not good and is the result of me eating too much too soon to the race. Noted for next time, for now…deal with it.
With 3 1/2 to go I looked at my speed and noticed I had a problem. I had been going 25.5 each time I looked at it prior, this time round, with my gut on fire and my legs getting a little numb, I was only going 24. I looked back and the gap seemed to be shrinking. I kept going for another lap but after turn one into 3-to-go I realized I was going to be caught (or dangled out to dry). Impatient-fucktinitis struck again…frustrated, I sat up and reintegrated with the front of the field. I kept a good enough position to finish in the money when in turn 4 on the last lap another bike went tumbling in front of me. I missed the wreck, fortunately, but now I had a 50 meter gap to close as we entered the final two turns. I tried to salvage the race but I just didn’t have the legs to close the gap in time, finishing 21st out of 61.
As I rolled over to where Katie and Bridget were, I saw PSIMET teammate Ryan talking with the ladies.
“Awesome job winning that trainer Tim!” Katie said. Bewildered I asked her what she was talking about. Turns out, the Sarah Lee Training Cake I won was a SARIS CycleOps Fluid 2–Yeah the $300+ trainer. Very cool. So for racing like a semi-moron, like Pavlov’s dog, the wonderful people at Saris and TOAD are now rewarding my impatient-fucktinitis. At least next time I’ll have stronger legs. Thanks for the badass prime TOAD/SARIS!!
Similarly to Nick, Joel Friedman has beaten me in just about every race we’ve ever been in together, and he too is dating a Woodstock woman (The water in Woodstock breeds pretty good looking women). This time he and I drove up to Wisconsin together with his Chevy packed to the brim. We got there with lots of time to spare, just how I like it. After registering and saying hi to some people we got a solid warm-up in and moved to the starting line. Today there were at least as many people, likely more (there were, in fact, 70+).
Paradoxly, Grafton was far less interesting of a race to report on but a far more entertaining race to be in. While Joel and I drove to Wisconsin we spent some time discussing why it is we do this–hours of our lives dedicated to training, lots of dollars spent on racing. One of the conclusions was the feeling of being alive, feeling your body at its limits, and potentially coming out on top of the world (or at least on top of 70 or so).
This race made me feel alive. The fans were cheering loud (and playing trumpets loud). Some cover band was jamming out to an old Joplin tune. My heart was slamming against my ribs. My lungs were rhythmically feeding my burning legs. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I’m spending it pouring on the pain with 70 like-minded dudes. At a certain point I decided that regardless of the finish, I had fun today.
The race was full-bore from the start. Long stretches of straight, wide roads, and a large & strong field meant that it was pretty unlikely anything would escape up the road. At least today there were a few real attempts. I tried to see what it was like in the back, and in the front. Today, the front was much easier. And so we went, round and round for about 43 minutes before we actually began playing chess.
With 8 to go I found myself about 20-30th wheel. I spent 2 laps easing up to the front. Going into the 2nd to last lap I began to fight impatient-fucktinitis, “Maybe we should attack as we cross the line. You can hold them off for two laps!”
“Shut up impatience. We’re going 32mph, I can’t ride 33mph for 4 minutes…idiot”.
Fine. We’re sprinting today.
The last lap was almost surreal. No one was going to move me out of my position. I didn’t feel anything except adrenaline. I began to realize that my fitness was helping me. People weren’t trying to move up on me, people were tired. I was golden. We were flying! As we started to set up for the last turn I was in prime real estate, maybe 7 wheels deep. This was perfect.
The wind on the front-stretch was coming from right to left and taking the outside line all day had been faster (and fortunately there were no wrecks, so it stayed safe). About 100m prior to the final turn, I sensed a large mass coming into me. A guy with at least 20lbs on my bumped shoulders. Nothing dirty, I don’t think, just the nature of the moment. It sent me towards the curb and into the dirty part of the road. I had to give up 7 or 8 spots before the turn, scrubbing speed and reorienting myself to get a decent line.
I managed to make up a few spots in the sprint and finished 13th out of 71, in the money. Not a bad day at all.
My intention as of late last week was to race Monsters and Fox River Grove. I was going to play it cool in the city; sit back and enjoy the show, play my cards in a sprint if it came to that. My main focus was Fox River Grove. So when I woke up on Friday morning to find my hips crooked, I was a little peeved. For the 3rd time in as many years, a muscle in my lower left back decided to spasm like some sort of old man. Fortunately, experience allowed me to take care of this issue in time to race for Fox River Grove–to an extent–but Monsters was out of the question.
Fox River Grove
Since we were hosting the race, I had to be up fairly early and out to the course to help setup the stage, sound, and any other odds and ends. Fortunately, in large part due to the hard work of PSIMET’s own Matt Archer who organized all of the races volunteers (largely consisting of PSIMET and Rhythm racers as well as several others) and the help of Jeff Sheppard who, alongside Matt, had already taken care of all of the straw bales along the course the day prior, there wasn’t a whole lot left to do Saturday morning. I arrived around 8am and promptly helped get the stage and PA system ready. I love the buzz of hard work in the early hours that lead to an event like this.
Everything was very smooth and I’m proud to be a part of the team that helped pull all of this together in such short notice. I’d also like to take a minute to give a shout out to Art Osten of Fox River Grove and all of his people who helped us make this a reality. And of course Rob Curtis for having the gonads to pull it all together. There are several others but if I keep at this I think i’m going to start getting ushered off the podium to cheesy symphony music.
hanks to May’s lovely unpredictable weather, my Wednesday ride was cut short and with the intention of riding on Friday and Saturday, I didn’t ride on Thursday. My back changed all of that and needless to say my legs were fresh but a little heavy come Saturday morning as I didn’t ride (due to my back) since Wednesday. Every time I bent over my back let me know it still wasn’t right. I could hardly walk without looking like I had been the victim of a very unfortunately placed corn cob (use your imagination, or don’t).
The Race (Cat 3)
The time was rolling by pretty quickly and I realized that 1pm would be there before I knew it. I geared up and started to roll around on my bike with fellow Cat 3 Raviv Wolfe. Before I knew it was time to line up. I felt funky. I had been running around so much all morning that racing sort of felt like an afterthought, yet I wanted to do well at this race.
The first lap told me I wouldn’t get dropped this year. Jason Knauff (Burnham) took it upon himself to set the pace up the hill on the first lap. It was brisk but not brutal for me, I suspect the same couldn’t be said for a few in the field. About halfway through the race, with Knauff pushing the pace up the hill again, a lone rider attacked near the top of the hill and a gap began to form between he and Jason, who’s wheel I was on. I’ve been appropriately scolded lately for being impatient and reacting without thinking. I did my best to assess what was going on. The gap was growing but it wasn’t so large that a huge effort would be required to bridge/close it. Jason was fading back but it wasn’t really him I was worried about, rather it was his teammate Dustin Morici who wisely spent much of the race mid-pack.
Like the golden retriever I seem to have become, I went around Jason. I figured the gap would either close or one or two more people would come with me. I managed to bridge up to him fairly easily but unfortunately no one else wanted to play. In retrospect that told me all I needed to know. We spent the rest of the lap pushing the pace relatively hard but as soon as we climbed the hill, a quick look back told me that this was futile. I saw up and reintegrated into the pack just prior to the crest of the hill.
I hadn’t wasted a huge amount of energy but I was a little frustrated that I wasn’t more patient. The rest of the race we tooled around each time up the hill someone took the liberty of setting the pace. Each time ’round it seemed faster and faster and my legs weren’t telling me that this would end well. I specifically remember the two climbs prior to the bell lap which turned my legs into spicy sauce.
Coming into the front stretch as we entered the bell lap, the field shut down. No one wanting to waste any energy prior to what would likely be two hard efforts, the first on the hill and the second in the final stretch. I had lost faith that I would have been able to stay in the top few wheels climbing the hill and I felt like I caught the pack sleeping. I moved left and attacked down the front stretch. Prior to the turn up the hill I looked back. I hadn’t created as much of a gap as I would have hoped and I began to attack the hill as hard as I could.
I felt that I could corner faster than most of the field, based on the way people were braking into the turns all day, and so I felt that if I could just make it to the top of the hill alone I would have a pretty good chance of holding on. This didn’t happen. Halfway up the hill my legs began to shut the hell down. The words of my mentor rang in my head, “Live and die by these choices”. I pushed the pedals as hard as I could but eventually I couldn’t move. As the pack passed I cursed myself and actually unclipped my left foot in exhaustion.
I don’t recall who it was, someone from Rhythm watching on the hill asked me if I wanted a push. I shook my head “no” and started pedaling as best I could. I had never felt so exhausted in such a short period of time. I couldn’t see straight and was seeing dots as I descended the hill. That didn’t end so well. As I made my way to the bleachers I plunked down and sat for a while feeling like I had just gotten out of a bar fight. Everyone assumed it was due to my back–it wasn’t (although, I couldn’t stand up straight).
Reluctantly I got ready for the 1/2/3 race an hour later. The field was small and it paid 7 deep. Liam, Rob Kelly, Freund, Wayne Simon, Patrick Fasse…I was content to just to sit in and see how I could do. So for much of the race I just sat in. On the second time up the hill Liam attacked. I knew there was nothing I would do about it but I thought “That’s either really dumb, or really brilliant”. It turned out to be brilliant. That early in the race, no one seemed to want to go get him. A lap or two later it was clear that Liam meant business and Freund launched his attack and rode away. A lap later, Rob Kelly. That was the last I would see them.
I continued to do as little work as possible. There was no reason for me to push the pace and I had already raced earlier. With about 4 or 5 laps left, Wayne rolled up next to me and said “When I attack, just ride wheels and you’ll get a free ride to the finish”. That sort of happened. When Wayne launched his attack, it was so ferocious that those that did try to keep him from getting away gave up in about 50 meters.
I stayed 2nd and 3rd wheel until the bell lap. My attack from earlier in the day was fresh in my mind. I felt that the biggest mistake I made was launching it so far away from the hill. Right as I was pondering if I should try it again, Cesar Hernandez who was on the front, stood up to stretch his back. That was a mistake. I shifted two gears down and hammered it across the line. I continued up the hill. Looking back I saw that they were fighting to catch up but I knew it was futile. I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. Cresting the hill with a gap I shifted into the big ring and continued to push it down the hill. I took the turns fast but respectfully. Sat up on the front stretch with plenty of a gap and rolled across for 5th place, well inside the money.
It was nice to do fairly well in this race, losing only to arguably a few of the areas top riders. Still much to learn though. I’m not sure I have the power to beat little Morici up a hill but I sure as heck didn’t need to take myself out of contention as I did.0
“I wish I was a little bit taller.”
Back in the day I played a lot of basketball. Street ball I guess you could say. Lots of 3 on 3 with my fair share of Gus Macker Trophies. At 6’3″ and more weight than I care to mention, I was the big guy. Yet, I wanted to float outside, shoot the rock from behind the line, dribble between my legs, ya know, be DRose.
Well past retired from recreational hoops and the complex remains. I love rides I should not (Dairyland Dare), I love races I should not (Fox River Grove & Hillsboro), I love crawling up Blue Mounds more than drafting in the paceline, ect…..
PSIMET pulled off a last minute save of Fox River Grove and the race went off with great success this past Sunday. I raced twice. I got dropped twice and pulled once. I desired to do much better here. I really wanted to punch the Ski Hill in face. My first race was the 30= 4/5 and the legs didn’t respond. I rode up front for 2 or 3 laps then slowly faded away. I finished up solo for 17th.
Next up was the CAT 4 race. I didn’t really warm up, I had a flat at the start line, and I was dreading the effort to come. Eric Christ from BH was on the start line. He brought the pace and pain, along with a few others and I was shot out the back quickly. The entire field was all blowed up. I didn’t realize how hard I had been dropped as there were small groups all over the place. Perhaps that one I could still see was the main pack? Uh, it wasn’t. Twenty minutes into the race I think my legs were repsonding. At that point I was pulled.
I wish I was a baller.
*Mr. PSIMET, thank you for stepping up and putting on a fantastic event. You and your family, teammates, crew and volunteers deserve a loud and clear, WELL DONE.
Training to Race
I’ve done 7 races already this year but it doesn’t really feel like enough. The constant battering of myself for the good of my season (that is: training) is growing tiresome. Cold training rides. Wet training rides. Training rides I get yelled at. Training rides in the hills. Training rides in the wind. Training rides on trainers. Training, training training. I know it’s for a good cause and I will stay the course–hopefully to the dismay of my opponents–but every now and then you have to break it up with some fun. That’s why races like Whitnall Park can be a godsend.
Sometimes it just doesn’t feel right…
Whitnall Park was never on my radar and I wasn’t even sure I would be able to make it there Saturday morning when I woke up. A business meeting in Chicago meant I had to catch the 12:30 out of Ogilvie to get home in time to grab my stuff and make the 90 minute drive to the race. My calculations put me there with about an hour to register, get dressed, warm up and get to the line…if all went well.
The train was 15 minutes late but fortunately I have the coolest girlfriend on the planet and she had already packed the car with the items I didn’t already have loaded. She made me some lunch and was walking out the door as I pulled up. Seriously, coolest girlfriend on the planet.
Some events from earlier in the day at the race had me feeling a little anxious. I don’t like racing when i’m anxious. The mind tends to wander and I begin to get superstitious. A wise man has recently lead me down this path of thought: If it’s (“it” can be anything) not meant to happen, the signs are clear. Heed them. I was starting to feel like this race wasn’t meant to be. I was being rushed (I hate that). I was getting anxious (I hate that). My mind was leading me to believe that something was off (I hate that). I pressed on…
I didn’t get a very good warm-up but the field was very large, much to my delight. More room to hide, get the legs flowing.
For the first 20 minutes of our race nothing was really happening. This was in part because it was the first 3rd of the race but also because the field chased anything that flinched. Around this time, I noticed a gap had formed and 3-4 riders were in it. The field was letting them trickle away.
It seemed too early to play that game but I still didn’t feel that my legs were ripe for the day and I was more-or-less just wanting to know how I would handle a P/1/2/3 race (it was the first I’ve ever done without having already raced that day). I hit it prior to the crest of the downhill leading into turn 1. I was hoping to connect before the uphill but I didn’t quiet make it there. By the time we reached the top of the climb I had nearly connected, looking back at the pack though, I noticed that they weren’t too far off and I was on the edge. I called this one quits and drifted to the back to recover.
I spent the next 20 minutes tail-gunning the field to get the heart rate down and watch from afar. I noticed that a strong looking group had formed a gap. For a while they sat there a few seconds away. I decided again that I should try and do something. I asked the devil over my right shoulder “Would it be dumb to try and bridge that”.
“You’d have to go from the 5th wheel or so, not from here (at the back), and do it after the top of the (up)hill”.
If at first you don’t succeed…fail again
I moved up into position with the intention of attacking on the next lap. I noticed that the group was now a chase group of 2 other riders, which I later learned included Chad Hartley (good luck with that, Tim). Leading into the downhill a few riders attacked. The field didn’t let them get away and as we reached the base of the climb the field began to ease. It was earlier than I wanted to attack but it seemed as though the field was ripe for the taking, so I attacked at the bottom of the decent and sprinted up the hill. I was a few hundred meters from the chase group. I looked back and noticed I had some people on my wheel. My perception was that there was no significant gap between the 4 or 5 of us and the pack. I was gassed. I sat up (more on this in a moment).
I realized that I didn’t have the legs to play with the big boys today. Oh, and I was racing like a moron. I was content to concede that I wouldn’t be on the podium today. I sat in and let the chips fall as they may. As the race wound down it was clear that we wouldn’t catch anyone up the road. They were, in fact, all out of site. Being in Wisconsin racing mostly with Cat 1′s and Cat 2′s (whom I don’t yet know), there were few wheels that I knew would be players in a final sprint.
I decided to watch the wheel of Rob Kelley, who I know can rip the legs off of many in the final 200m. As the final laps ticked down though I began to realize that any sprint finish would be very tight and given the work I had already done I really didn’t think I would be a player in a final sprint. I decided to catch them off guard.
As we entered the last lap I was in just the right spot, front 10 wheels. I felt great. The thought of the prior work lingered though. We climbed the hill, a near-sprint up the hill (as I suspected it would be). Just prior to the final turn as the peloton hammered through the headwind into the gutter on the left (leaving the inside exposed to the wind), I swung wide–exposing myself to the wind. I stood up and sprinted roughly a kilo out. I looked back and noticed my “gap” was pathetic. I continued to sprint as hard as I could. I looked back again and noticed that this may just work.
As I rounded the final curve my legs were basically in shut-down mode.
I weighed my options:
Get 8th in this April crit. This would be fantastic. Die at the line, get swallowed up by a wall of riders on moderately cramped road: This could end horribly.
I checked the ego to the curb, sat up, and pulled into the gutter finishing nearly dead last. I immediately regretted sitting up, but such is life. It’s always easy to say you could have kept going when your heart has returned to 120bpm.
I raced a little idiotic–letting intimidation dictate my aggression– but it was fun. I guess that’s all I can ask for on a rare sunny April afternoon.
Let’s pretend this is hypothetical. You might say that it’s hypothetically hypothetical. I attack, you get on my wheel. I don’t connect and die, and I sit up. You sit up and look at me like I’m an idiot. I didn’t ask for your help. I also didn’t tell you to come with me. This may or may not have happened twice. Here’s my question: Instead of bitching to me about how I failed to drag your ass to the break, why don’t you go ahead and take a pull? Just saying.0