17 Aug Glencoe Grand Prix Masters 45+
Enzo here with the GGP 45+ race report. The 45+ was a large field, as one would expect, since the GGP was hosting the US Men’s Pro Criterium National Championship. This concept has always forced me to scratch my head and here’s why. Downers Grove, the previous host to the Pro Crit. Championship, would always draw huge fields for category racing, though the only National Championship was for the Pro’s. For me this is just another bike race nothing special, but the majority must see some added value, thus the increased field sizes. Back to the subject, we line up as Dave Fowkes gives us the race rules and instructions for the day and the whistle blows.
Having done my recon carefully I know this course will be too much for the less experienced riders in our field. I am referring to the cat 4’s that who are about to have their legs ripped off by the seasoned racers. This is a tight technical course with a hill and I figure 2 or 3 hot laps should shrink the race down to a reasonable field size. I am not the only one thinking this, hehehehe, as I follow wheels into turn 1. Exiting the turn the throttle is down and we are up to 31 quickly, with Voytek being first into turn 2. I back off a few bike lengths since my Polish countryman is carrying way too much speed. When he realizes he has overcooked the turn, he has two choices, T-bone the large curb or plan b, which is to grab a handful of rear brake and back it in. Plan B it is, unfortunately for Tim Denman, he did not create space and he goes skidding and tumbling as Gary Doring and I wisely slide through on the inside, with Gary sprinting and yelling come on! I am laughing at how stupid this is, a crash in the second turn on lap 1. I respond to Gary’s taunts and follow his wheel until the hill and decide to attack really hard, maybe 1000 watts worth on the hill and settle into my LT. I continue past the start finish line pulling off and looking back to see a single string still exiting the last turn, Perfect. Now Druber pulls through HARD saying lets snap this thing off right now, I love this and am forced to dig deep sliding into the line.
Marc Zionts, Druber and myself, mostly Marc and Mark are killing it and after 3 laps we have about 20 guys left out of the 60 that lined up. At this time I know we will create a break that sticks soon, so I take another hard pull on the hill section. Druber now seizes the moment and attacks out of turn 9, a crosswind section, and has a gap. Andy Kerr seeing the danger crosses the gap before it is too large and the two of them are clear. I look back to see if any of the fodders are planning on a chase as they are looking at me to do this. Now pay close attention fodders, this is how deep you have to go to win races. I look at my HR monitor which is reading 170, this is 8 beats above my LT, which means I am in the red, the same as the rest of the group though I realize the race is up the road and attack. F#@* my heart rate, I want a chance to win today drilling it full gas up to the 2 leaders. My HR is now 2 beats under my MAX, and my body is really pissed, but I am on and we are gone! I sit on for 1 full lap and say, OK boys I am in, and start rotating pull for pull. Now we are really making time on the group and just as I start to really recover Andy says go ahead, skipping a rotation. No big deal until Druber and I both realize Andy is done and hanging on. Too bad, we are not going to give up and go about the task at hand having 8-9 laps yet to race. Now some would take exception to Andy, who has a formidable sprint sitting on, but Druber and I both know Andy has integrity and will not pimp us by sprinting. Now for a taste of Druber’s twisted humor, Ken Labbe’ offers a 2 pack of ButtonHole Chamois Creme to the winner of the next lap, but I do not hear this. We just happen to change rotations after the hill so I am pulling through the start/finish straight and I hear Andy telling Druber to pull through, that I do not want to win a prime that I have given to the promoters. Now Druber starts laughing and says something like, Oh No this is his prime, Real funny Mark.
As we enter 2 laps to go I make sure I am paying close attention at the end of my pulls for the Druber attack, which surprisingly never comes. Now on the bell lap I pull through into turn 2 staying on the front into the hill where Mark passes me adding a mile per hour only to ease off a bit. As we round turn 9 Druber gives me the elbows to pull through, no dice and he starts watching me through his legs. I wait for his chin to drop again so he sees I am still on the wheel but as soon as his head goes up, Bamm, I attack about 100 meters from the last corner. Looking back while flying through the final turn having caught him by surprise, the gap is large enough allowing me time to zip up the Verdigris skinsuit and enjoy the W. This was a really fun day of racing on a great course. The day was difficult making the victory that much sweeter. I love when forced by the other players to dig really deep, having to go much harder than you thought possible. Thank you Druber and Andy for that. Also thanks to Jon Knouse and the GGP crew for all the hard work that goes into this type of race, the traditional Crit, racing in the center of a town as opposed to an industrial park. Many fans cheering while drinking beer on the streets, make for a real European style bike race. Once again Enzo’s ButtonHole Chamois Cream is on the top of another podium.
Soon to follow a recap of the 30+ race.