14 Jun Enzo’s Tour Of Galena Race Report 2011
Enzo’s Tour Of Galena Race Report
Hosted by xXx Racing
This was the first year for the Tour of Galena bicycle race, presented by xXx Racing the Number one bike club in the USA. There is good reason why xXx has this rating. The concept of the ToG is another ACE in their hand, bring the midwest one of the best race series since I have been racing.
For all of you that decided not to race this event, you made a poor choice. The ToG is your chance to taste, what I call a hard man’s/women’s race. Three races in two days, a 4.4 mile prologue Saturday morning, with a difficult road race in the afternoon. By the end of the day you are quite satisfied while your legs constantly remind you that they have been hit with long hard efforts, followed by a flat Criterium on Sunday.
Anyone that wants to really test themselves should not skip this race next year. It is my vote that xXx enters a bid for this RR to become the Illinois State Championship. This would be the best road course the Championship has ever seen.
My starting time for the TT is 9:56.30 with both of my omnium team mates starting a few minutes in front of me. Enzo’s team for this event is Bob Karlow, Gene Tolli, and myself. Our plan is to own the omnium podium which is quite arrogant, we know this will be very difficult but we like to aim high. The weather is overcast with temps in the low 60’s. I decide to warm up on my trainer in the hotel room, while Bob and Gene warm up outside together. I have a warm up routine for TT’s, the first 45 minutes is on the trainer followed by 15 minutes of on the road of short hard efforts, then to the start line. Prologue’s are different tahn TT’s, you need to really open yourself in order to handle the high level of intensity out of the gate. This I equate to the first lap of a USGP CycloCross race, stupid fast. The 4.4 mile distance is not long enough to pace yourself. The problem is later in the day we have a 60+ mile hilly Road Race, making aggressive prologue tactics a risk, possibly wasting valuable efforts that may be needed later in the day.
I have come to Galena to test myself and race my bike, so that is what I am going to do. Having 3 laps of the course on Friday, I decide to leave the TT bike in my car, using my road bike with a disk. I do not feel a TT rig will be much of an advantage since there is a 1k, 14% grade on this course. Not only do we have to climb this wall but we have to descend this 3 turn section as well. A brief idea of the steepness, I was going 46 mph through the bottom right hand turn, not a curve but a solid 80 degree turn, that was cool.
The boys are on the start line and I cheer Gene as he stands on the pedals starting this tough 4.4 mile test.
Bob is Gene’s 30 second man which works out well for Gene. He expects Bob will catch him which helps Gene to go a little deeper, laughter. Now I am cheering Bob as he leaves the starting line. I also will be cheering my 30 second man, Brian, Aka Lamy, who is a friend of ours and rides for Team Mack. Now on the line I get the 10 second warning, then the 3,2,1 and I am off. Not much to talk about in the first 1.8 miles knowing I am going fast catching Lamy before the downhill section. At the 2.2 mile mark I hit and rock the orange 55 gallon barrel they used for the turn around marker. This makes me laugh and I tell my self to relax at the abse of the hill, I shift into the 27 cog early. I want to stay steady on the climb saving some gas for the efforts later in the day. Lamy passes me gaining about 8-10 seconds by the top of the climb. Once over the wall I return back to full gas passing Lamy 300 meters before the line. I am happy with my effort and go to find the boys so we can cool down together. Both Bob and Gene seem happy with their rides, though Bob had to slow down descending the hill because of a car on the course. We receive the report later that I won, Gene is 2nd and Bob was 4th. We are all jacked up knowing we have a great chance of high places in the overall. This is a good start.
After some lunch and a nap, we ride to the course from the hotel. This is going to be the race we need to do well in since you are rewarded the most points. I am not going to try to describe this course in detail, but each lap has 4 significant climbs that are connected by long rolling sections of ridges, being exposed to sun and wind. As we climb out of town we make a left turn having to ride up a steep wall followed by another incline which the feed zone is on. I was happy that the group stayed netural here but at the top Howard (CommaVanWagner) takes off. I am amused by this and make a comment out loud. Something like, wow good for Howard, he can have my part of a 65 mile solo attempt. Howard and a few of his team mates skipped the TT so he was not much of a concern for us. As he is gaining time quickly, on of his team mates looks at me and tells me I should chase him down. I laugh at him and make a smart ass comment, which he does not like, I do like to stir the pot. We finish lap one of three with Howard still up the road having 1.5 minutes gap. Now that we all know what to expect from the course a few of us take some tempo pulls as to slowly bring him back. We have Howard in our gun sights, about 400 meters or 20 seconds when Nels Hackl(PYOC) attacks, the perfect move. I do not react, though I realize Nels is a threat, having been his team mate for a lifetime. The group make no change in the pace allowing Nels to bridge to Howard. I watch to see how they are working together but on the next climb, Nels has dropped Howard. Now the group seems to take notice, adjusts the speed catching Howard. As soon as this happens we slow down again, and Nels really opens his gap close to two minutes. We are only able to see him on the long climbs. We start lap three and on the wall I can tell fatigue is setting in my legs, now reduced to sitting on the back. On the first large climb I am dropped from the group, though I have been here before and do not panic, I crest the hill at my pace then settle into TT mode, within 5 minutes I rejoin the field. I ask Bob and Gene how they are feeling, they are tired but fine and I remind Bob that everyone is starting to hurt, that we are not alone in this boat of suffering. He said that made him feel better. One more climb to go though the wine hill is very difficult and half way up I am forced to watch the group slowly ride away from me. Reaching the steepest part I can see Brian Haas(Alberto’s) attack trying to break up the group. No dice, they all stay connected except me. I make the top alone shifting into the big ring and return to TT mode. I am flying on the fast downhill barely making the left turn back on the main road. This crossing has a a local police man stopping traffic, a contributing factor not slowing for this corner. Once on the main road I see the pack and know they will be playing games, changing speeds fast then slow. I am locked in at 31 mph slowly gaining on them. if I can reconnect I may be able to score a few extra points. This does not happen being slowed by a few cars on the road, since the pase car has passed me. When I cross the finish line, I am only 10 bikes behind Nels. As I pass him I tell him great race, you almost had the W. Those of us that have won a bike race in style, long for these awesome victories, though they are far and few between. Great Race Nels, you win the most agressive rider in my book.
Now I did not see the sprint but the final was Heagney(VQ) first, Bob Karlow second, Brian Haas third, and Gene Tolli fourth. This is great for the team with Bob and Gene riding a great race. As race director, I am very happy. The omnium standings are now, Bob Karlow 1st, Brian Haas 2nd, Gene Tolli 3rd, with me in 4th.
Sunday the boys are all rested, the energy is very high going into this flat criterium. I think we are all happy to have a day away from the hills. Have Brian Karlow in today’s race is going to help to us which is really nice. Our plan is to move Gene up a place knocking Brian Haas down to third or fourth if possible. This will be difficult since Brian Haas has been racing very well this year, but four against one are poor odds for anyone.The team has talked and we will use Brian Karlow to set tempo, win primes and bring back any attempts that try to take the W away from the Enzo’s squad. The race starts and I go full gas for 3/4 of a lap which sets the stage nicely, with a counter attack coming from Lamy, who is in 5th for the overall. This race is attack after attack and the team ends up winning all the cash primes, the GIANT CUPCAKE, and the race. Coup #1 was releasing Brian for the last prime $40.00 with 3 laps to go, I stall in the final two corners and he crosses the line with 200 meters on the field and settling into TT mode for the final 2 laps. Coup #2, while going into the final corner Gene is a few guys from the sharp end so Bob stalls slightly, knowing Brian Haas is on his wheel, giving Gene a gap that Haas will not close. Bob beats Brian in the sprint and we are sure Gene has moved into 2nd with Bob working the final like a puppet master. Little did we know that Gene would nip one to many guys at the line taking the overall from Bob, a one point difference. None of us knew this until the results were posted. What a good problem to have, your number one GC guy takes second place helping your 3rd place GC guy move up to 1st. Kudos to Bob for controlling the final knocking Brian Haas into third. Do not get me wrong, I like Brian Haas and so does the rest of the team, but that is racing. Sometimes you have to kill your friends, but that stays on the race course.
All in all the weekend was a great success for the team, ominum results for the 30+, Gene Tolli 1st, Bob Karlow 2nd, Wayne Simon 4th. Brian Karlow winning the Crit and 2 primes, one which was the giant cupcake, see photo.