It was, well Super, just as it sounds. I had taken two weeks off from work so that Sarah and I could host part of the HPC Powered by Altarum women's national pro team and so I could race a bunch of the Superweek races that were close to home. I must say it was an excellent two weeks of vacation that ranks up there with the Ireland trip a year and a half ago. Just wish Kate and Evan could have made it out to race. Get well soon Kate! The HPC girls were awesome and it was great to get to know them, especially Genevieve who is from New Zealand - always fun to learn about new places!! Can't wait to have everyone back next year.
Waukesha - Rainy. Two and a half hour delay before things got under way and once they did the field was immediately shattered. First 15 people into turn 1 of the technical eight corner crit course stayed away for the entire race. Everyone else was forced to close huge gaps to stay on anyones wheel. I went down on lap 6 or so after following some bonehead's line into turn 8. I soon as I got on his wheel before that turn I had a bad feeling and sure enough I washed out at 22mph. Checked for injuries, a little blood, bike was okay - stem needed to be straightened and off I went to the wheel pit. Got back in and just didn't have my wits about me to continue. 37th Place.
Evanston - I did this race on recommendation of Kate and Evan last year because they said it was just an awesome venue........they were were spot on! Numerous shops and restaurants lined the course that zig zagged through their downtown. The field was sold out for the 4/5 race with 75 riders and was a fast pace from the gun. I was feeling a little nervous in the corners because of the crash the day before in Waukesha, but with five to go I found my confidence again. A little late, but nonetheless it was back. Finished 48 out of the 75 person field.
Cedarburg - Oi. My legs were heavy during the warmup and I knew it wasn't going to be good. Add in that just shy of half the course was uphill. I teeter toddered at the back of the field for maybe four laps before getting gapped. I couldn't get back on and my legs felt like (in the words of Brian Petted) ham hocks. BOOOM! I exploded. Done. Finished. Pulled out. DNF.
Racine - This is a new venue for this year. It was also my first time to Racine and it just about lives up to everything that people talk about it. It is an armpit of a city, EXCEPT for the downtown area. I didn't even know there was one until I raced there and it is an okay venue. Meh, once you start the race you don't comprehend where you are anyways so who cares! The field was pretty small, maybe 35 riders in total. Pace was fast - duh it's Superweek. I was carefull in two of the turns because the crosswalks had this painted concrete that I found to be slick while warming up on the course. On Lap 1 somone in front of me nearly washed out on it as well. I worried about the crosswalk a little too much and ended up going off the back after six laps or so. Worked with a bunch of people that were also off the back. Finished 19th - one shy of the money. Only in Superweek can you be out the back still be able to score some cash!
Downer Ave - This year is the first year that all categories are able to race on this course. It only used to the pros that raced otherwise so I was really excited for this course. The course is pretty much a triangle with two huge straightways, so it was exceptionally fast. A field of 67 riders made their way into turn 1, to which I was towards the back. Had my usual problem of getting clipped in. I have this problem a lot at the beginning of races because I'm so antsy and I'm "go, go, go," in my head. I have no problems getting clipped in warmups or training rides, just at the start of the race. I need to find a way to duplicate stress levels and get clipped in under those circumstances.... Anyways, field was strung out on the straightaways and guys were falling off the back left and right, which led to me closing gap after gap to stay on with the field. Ugh. Accordian effect sucks. I finally fell victim and went off the back. Finished 44th.
Whitefish Bay - Team Extreme pulled through; Jim G., Mike H. and Dave N. decided to give it a go with me. Jim G. said a few days before that he was done for the season, but after he watched me at Downer giving it my all, the motivation sparked with him to keep truckin'. Still a little trouble getting clipped in, but I made up ground with turn 1 being close to the start / finish. Tucked in nicely in the first 1/3 of the field and hung on for the segment of "Dump the Chump" (exceptionally fast pace for the first 5-6 laps to ween out the weaker riders). A break of three went away shortly thereafter and they had a good ten second gap on the field. I found some legs to go to the front of the field and up the tempo to bring back the break. I sat up front for a lot longer than I wanted to (just shy of a lap) as no one wanted to pull through after I gave the ol' chicken wing. Finally some did after I did most of the work and the break was reeled in. I tucked back in to recover and I see Jim G. shooting up the inside putting in a super attack! It didn't stick, but softened everyone up. Only a few more attacks that were quickly chased down and we were to the bell lap. The pace ramped up just before turn 3 and everyone was jockeying for the top five or six wheels into the last corners. Unfortunately I didn't have the legs and faded a bit. Finished 18th.
By far Whitefish Bay was my best race of the season. I felt so proud of myself to be at the front of the field chasing down that break. I can feel myself getting stronger and overall improvement in tactics and riding in general. There's only one more crit left this season (end of August) and I'm going to try to jockey my schedule so I that I can race. I want it.
I'm starting to evaluate my goals for next season and decided that one of them is to be in the top 25 for Overall Points at Superweek next year. If I do six races again that means all have to be top 10 places. I may do more next year, but I feel that this is an obtainable goal.