03 Jul ABR Illinois Criterium Championships
Before going into the race reports from this weekend, how about the ToAD race report. This normally would be numerous stage reports but not this year. After a heated battle for 70 minutes we received the bell lap in Grafton, then the worst/largest crash I have ever seen or have been a part of. This crash removed a hand full of the top contenders from the week of racing. Bob and myself were in the group to miss the balance of the ToAD.
After licking my wounds, wondering how long, bruised ribs, cracked bone in my hand, and very stiff upper back would keep me off my bike, a test ride on Wednesday for a few hours, finding a few more small problems. Two more day off the bike and the next test will be the local group ride on Saturday. This goes fair with my fitness feeling degraded and the body not too happy with the idea of going hard.
After this ride the boys and I decide we need to go race in WoodDale, a local race that will be a notch below the ToAD level, a good place to get back on the horse. I go early to play in the 50+ race, with the idea of help the team in the 40+ event. I will race conservatively not forcing the issue like my normal 50+ self. The race ends with a 5 man break sprint. Enzo finds the W and is happy to have kept the bike rubber side down.
The 40+ race is going to be much more fun because we will have 5 guys on the field of battle. The race is about 40-45 racers with the added bonus of knowing all the players. This makes the tactics much easier knowing who can or can’t stay away on a solo effort. Dave Sherer is racing and takes a flyer to start off the race, we allow this to develop. Dave gains about 20 seconds in 3 laps, the field is lethargic so I move to the front and increase the pace for a lap. Ward does the same then back to me and we have Dave within 5 seconds and the group finishes it off. Back to racing and the attacks begin, everyone notices the black sky to the west of the course towards us quickly. A 3 man break forms and we have Bob in that move. All of the sudden high winds are blowing us all over the course, like 40-50 mph gusts. Kudos to the officials for neuturalizing the race. We find some shelter and wait out the storm,which lasts about an hour.
Upon the restart Enzo’s is firing on all cylinders and the race is fast paced. The roads are wet so caution must be used in the corners. It all stays together and we move to the front with 2 laps to go, setting up the lead out train. Bell lap, I exit turn 3 with Ward, Brian and Bob on the wheel, perfect. Gene has taken a weird flyer that confusses the field, which helps us control the front end of the race. What I see next is the pace car stopped, blocking the entrance of turn four and a fire truck coming at us! The race is stopped again, I am really bummed, we had the win for sure.
So once again there is a restart, this time 3 laps to finish the race.
With the course still being mostly wet, I use my CycloCross start taking control of the front setting a fast tempo. I do not go full gas wanting the boys to line up, which they do perfectly. So one rider takes a flyer but I close this gap quickly, now we are on the bell lap and I up the tempo. I move off the front and Ward pulls through out of turn 2. Bob is on his wheel and they are flying down the back stretch. I slide into the field about 15th and sit up going into turn 3. I can see Ward still laying the power down through turn 4, Bob is on his wheel, perfect position with 400 meters to go.
Enzo has asked Bob Karlow to finish this story, since I was at the back of the field.
Ward puts it to the left gutter with just enough room on the protected side for me to slide thru. I start yelling “go-go-go!!” Ward figures at this point it is business as usual for the lead out train. I peak behind and see the welder, (Marc Moller, Tim Henry and Dave Sherer, fighting for my wheel. Instead of going for the “W” I figure all eyes are locked on me to win the sprint, a great opportunity for Ward to get the “W” and possibly go 1-2. 50 meters to go, I am still concerned that Ward does not understand and continue to scream for him to “go-go-go!!” The line up behind me have hesitated, that is a mistake and have to go around on the unprotected side. It comes a little too close as a bike toss is necessary, but Ward comes away with the “W”! Mark Muller in 2nd and I stay on the podium for 3rd. Two spots on the box and a nice going away present for Ward as he will be moving back out West at the end of the season!!
Enzo did not play in this race so bear with me, being new to writing race reports.
This race is a smaller group having maybe 30-35 racers with a majority leaving due to the weather conditions. To our surprise the sun comes back out and the temps climb back into the 90’s. We only have 2 Enzo racers in this group, myself & Gene. Taking a look at the field there a couple of other teams well represented. This race starts out much slower than the 40+ and after a couple of laps Andrew Rizzo puts in a nice move as he is now away. His teammates come to the front and do a nice job of blocking. A couple of the Bicycle Heaven boys try to make a run to bridge but Andrew’s teammates do a nice job of welding it shut.
Gene puts a nice counter attack move in on the back straight away and the group gets fired up going full gas to shut him down. Mike Zellman (Scarlet Fire Racing) counter attacks on the start finish straight away and I cover, jumping on his wheel. We establish a small gap and then are joined by 4 more guys (Ricardo, Zellman’s team mate,Marc Moller, Patrick and Andy from Bicycle Heaven.) Gene is now at the front shutting it down nicely with the help from the other teams represented in the break. Within a couple of laps we make the catch on Andrew and the breakaway is 7 strong with 15 seconds on the field. In typical fashion there are a couple of guys not working and the field is pulling us back. After a couple of laps everybody puts in some equal efforts opening the gap to 35 second. We receive the 35 secong split from the sidelines and several guys stop working. Mike Zellman decides to attack out of turn #3 to turn #4 and is caught on the start straight away. Some of the guys playing wounded have now all of sudden come alive in that amazing, larger than life fashion!
On the next lap Andy attacks the group after the start finish which does not last long. I have been taking some fast pulls on the back straight away realizing the gap is shrinking and figure they are paying top 6, I want to stay away. With all of the attacking and several guys not working the main field has the break within 15 seconds. The race has 12mins left and I try to motivate the breakaway to keep working together. Another look back to check the gap, it seems nobody is paying attention to this with less than a handful of laps to go. Mike, myself and Andy put in hard digs pushing the pace and with 2 laps to go Andrew attacks. He stays away for 1.5 laps until the bell lap. Mike puts a dig in across the start finish and I counter, now we have a couple of seconds on the group and Andrew is now within striking distance. Mike counters hitting the left gutter. I think this is perfect since Mike is like a huge sheet of plywood, a great draft and leadout. I shoot to the left and Mike makes a DANGEROUS move back to right and as we are approaching Andrew, who has lifted at this point, realizing he has been caught. Mike just about plows me into Andrew and I have no choice but to lift, hit the breaks or crash! This opens a gap going into turn #3. I have to go full gas being passed by Patrick & Mark going into turn #4. I finish fifth and Gene picks up a $50 dollar prime. To nobody’s surprise Mike (who not a sprinter) has screwed the pooch and Patrick takes 1st place. Mike ends up loosing the race, as I see it. Two Scarlet fire guys in the break, it was their race to win.
Thank you Bob Karlow for the race report. Kudos to Village Cyclesport for continuing this great event. Thanks to A.L.L Masonry, Lucky Brake, Giant Bikes, Psimet Custom Wheels, ABR and the officials. his was a safe race and great call by the officials during the weather event and restarts.
At the end of the day, Enzo’s have riders in 4 races, winning 3 jerseys, and 5th in the other race. Look for the 1-2 race report/racing clinic. Two guys lapping the field which were both Enzo riders!!!
See everyone at Superweek