I Love Bike Racing!
By William Pankonin | May 10, 2009
Race name: Matt Wittig Memorial Crit
Race date: Friday, May 8, 2009
More rain in Wisconsin. The last of it fell while we warmed up for the Masters 4,5 race at the state park in Muskego. Great course –smooth and wide with some elevation. Here’s a big race shout out to Hampshire Cycle Club for organizing a fun, safe race. Their crew was sweeping water and corners well before 7:30. The course has a challenging series of hills leading up to the start finish. The first one is small and gets you ready for the longest of the three. At the top of this second is the line, and after that there is one more little stinger just to keep ya honest, especially on the bell lap.
RACE 1 OBJECTIVES: Be aggressive. Watch for the move or make the move. Win.
Half way through the opening lap of my first race, I worked my way to the front of the group in order to be first and fast through the one 45 degree corner. Not to worry. The Lelli is rockin’ the Hed wheels, and I know from may last race in water how to push this Italian/HED beast to the absolute limit. Same story on the second lap, but this time my cornering put quite a bit of distance between the pack and me. A Rainbow Jersey Bikes rider bridges and we climbed the hills together. At the top we looked back and saw a remarkable distance between us and a sleepy peleton. I suggested to ride tempo for a lap or two just to see what plays out, since we’re only fifteen minutes into a forty-five minute gig. Our largest gap grew to twelve seconds, which looks promising when you can’t see them because of the hills and turns. After a few more laps they caught us. With two to go, racers got twitchy and I grabbed the wheel of an attack on the first hill. At the top I decided to stay up front. On this downhill there was a tailwind so I didn’t think I used too much go-go. And this way, maybe I would make the move on the climb. I separated myself through the corner -but still way too early. The pace got really hot here on climb one, and I’m still right there. “Maybe this is it,” I thought, “they’re hurtin.” The big climb hits us and we’re all up throwin’ our bikes left and right. I drilled it. Just killed my pedals. And fourteen riders went by me…
RACE 2 OBJECTIVES: Be conservative. Don’t get dropped.
Kind of nervous for this one. It was my first 3s appearance. I was able to cover that up really well, however, with my hot new Max Lelli kit (did I mention lots of Wisconsinites complimented the bike and HED wheels?). Hopefully I would be able to ride it like the speed demon it deserves! I sat in the whole race, except one lap where I didn’t like my position going into the corner. Now the course was dry, and we scorched that mother sometimes three abreast. No breaking allowed. Such good practice for me. After one series of climbs, a rider on my right rubbed the lettering off the wheel in front of him, which sent bars and balance into jitterbug mode. I placed my hand on his hip and kind of held him steady. (Thanks Coach!) Soon, it became apparent that I would not get dropped, but on the bell lap the tempo went up a notch as a gap opened in front of me. I had to put in a huge effort to bridge. Glad I did; I was able to race to the line with the group and pass the riders with broken legs. I don’t know how many times I climbed those things but by the final affair, I was toast.
Afterthoughts: I’m not a data guy. Don’t have a single E.D. on the Lelli, but my heart rate monitor told me I averaged the same rate for both races. Does this mean I did not spend too much time up front during the first race? I think so. I’m not going to overanalyze this one as I did all last week. I know –patience. We’ll see what happens during that funny little race with all the bricks and switch-backs. By the way, those WI racers can really tear up those hills. After racing with them the last two races –lots of respect for those guys.