28 Jun Glencoe Grand Prix 45+ (2011)
Monday AM, time to write the weekend race report having finished filling and shipping the ButtonHole orders. My old body is feeling the effects of a hard weekend in the saddle, doing two races on Saturday and a long ride Sunday. Saturday was the GGP which was awarded the Illinois State Criterium Championship for 2011, increasing the value of a W. This was Glencoe’s 5th year and I have to say, Jon Knouse and crew have perfected running this event. Thank you Jon, all the volunteers and crew, the USA Cycling Officials, all the incredible sponsors, and the town of Glencoe, Enzo loves this event.
Enzo would split the squad into two teams on this day, four of us racing the 45+ and the entire team racing the 30+ as well. The split happens because the guys racing the 45+ will not be as sharp for the second race, which in theory will be the faster race. I line up in the back knowing I will receive a call, which is nice. This is a technical course so it helps to have a front row starting spot. Little did I know this would play a large part in today’s race. Druber, second last year, is called up along with Dave Stone, the 2010 40+ Crit Champion, both (ScarletFire Racing).Tom Doughty won the 2010 30+ race, also called up (ScarletFire).
Druber pulls on my left and I laughing say, we are friends until the whistle, then we are going to inflict some pain on this field while trying to kill each other. This may seem like a weird statement but I know this, if I am suffering most likely so are others, Laughter.
We receive the whistle and the race is on, with Druber moving to the front and setting a nice high tempo for the first lap. This pace has the race strung out creating high heart rates, a rude awaking for some. The pace stays like this for 3-4 laps when Enzo’s and ScarletFire really start throwing punches at the field. Apparently these attacks have split the field with no sign of any of us letting off the throttle. As a racer this is really fun, Enzo’s racers flying off the front taking primes then keeping the gas on, forcing the field to chase. The rest of the Enzo’s guys follow wheels when this happens preparing for the counter attack. With 40 minutes behind us, Ward has won the King of the Hill sprint competition and all of us have been off the front at different times. What I am saying is any one of us can win this race and I am getting the feeling it will be a field sprint. This is shocking to me racing on such a technical course that a break has not stuck, I assure we have been trying. As we come across the start finish line the lap counter reads 2 laps to go, I see that Dave Stone is on the curb side of the pack, which means he will not be able to move up easily because everyone has been clogging the gutter. Delfino(Higher Gear) rolls up past me as I follow his wheel to the front, which is only a few spots, approaching the technical section of the course. I decide to sneak attack the group, this is a hard acceleration while staying in the saddle. This method may catch people asleep, they normally watch for racers jumping out of the saddle. I dig hard rounding the difficult turn 3 going 31mph staying on the throttle. Now having a gap and my cards on the table I am committed to the move, I am all in. Checking the gap before the last turn and I have close to 20 seconds, which I cannot believe. This was a huge mistake thinking what Erwin Vervecken said to me two years ago, that sometimes to win a bike race you have to suffer so hard, you must die a death.
With this gap and only 1 lap to go, if I can make it through the technical section without crashing myself, I will win this race. This may sound simple but the lactic is thick in my legs, my heart rate feels like zone 5E, which stands for Anaerobic Extreme, ripping thorough corners as difficult as the bottom 4 at Glencoe with minimal blood in my brain is super hard. I finally check the gap with 3 turns to go and I do not even see the field, what the heck. I basically sit up after the last turn and soft pedal through the line having an 8 second gap on 2nd place. This is the first time on the road I have defended a title with success, and it feels nice. This W would have not happened if the team did not race as hard as we did, thank you guys. Any one of us could have won this race since we clearly had the group on the rivet. I was told that when I attacked the group just looked at each other, with Dave Stone trapped and not able to chase me until the top of the hill, which he did, way to go down swinging Dave. I was incredibly fortunate on this day having the oppertunity to race against these great racers that are also my friends off the bike, thanks you guys. David Jaggi and Ward Zauner finished 4th and 5th respectively giving us 3 of the top 5 spots. Awesome!
It was clear that Druber was not on his game on this day, his daughter’s wedding was the weekend before this race, so while I was racing ToAD races sharping the blade, Mark was watching a much more significant event, a much larger W than a master’s bike race. At least in my book, Congratulations Druber.
Thank you to A.L.L. Masonry and Louie Puig for the support. Psimet Custom Wheels, Rob Curtis. These are the best wheels I have ever raced on. Clarksville Schwinn for their support, Specialized S-Works bikes, Delfino, the crew at Barrington Village Cyclesport for taking care of my small needs that would be large if you were not there.
Soon to follow, the 30+ report.
Safe riding and racing