19 Jul Prairie State Series Sharon Road Race
Bob Karlow winning stage two of the prairie State series in Crystal Lake on Sunday put him into the leaders jersey. With critical help from the boys, John, Vic, and Brian Karlow, Team Enzo now has a responsibility to protect Bob and keep the jersey. It is a weird thing having the leaders jersey in a series like this. The racing tactics change quite a bit, not really looking for wins exclusively, you have to keep watch over the 2nd,3rd, 4th and 5th place riders. If the opportunity arises to grab a win you take it, but you must reduce your exposure to the other overall players.
That being said, it was Enzo’s choice, after being heckled by Bob in a phone call Wednesday AM, to go and race/help protect the jersey. I told Bob that I was somewhat dehydrated from doing Tuesday intervals. That is correct, though I have not been racing my bike I still have been staying somewhat sharp, though not race fit.
So my excuse for mediocre form was in place, and I was off to the RR which started at 1:10 with a temp of 92F. The team players were John, Bob and Myself and the field was about 20 people. I was happy that it was not 8 or 10. Small field races are always really difficult, having less places to hide and recover.
It was good to see the usual suspects at the venue, Lisa, Brad, Todd, Heidi, Dave Fowkes, Steve, and others. On par with the ToAD, Prairie State is run by the same group and they are promoters that kick ass!
Every detail is nailed down, which is awesome. I also run into Druber at registration, laugh and call him an old guy in front of the reg people.
So the race is 57 miles of flat, hot, light wind, sunny, exposed open road, roughly 11 miles per lap. The start is typical of most road races, slow and easy. This is perfect since my warm up consisted of riding from my car to the starting line. Because of the workout last night, my biggest enemy was going to be the heat and leaking oil. After the first mile Druber cannot stand it, he goes to the front and starts laying wood, 28-30 mph for a minute then settling into steady 27. I am sitting third wheel, my job today is not allow any gaps to form, keeping the race together, which is our plan. Bob will follow wheels and in the crosswind sections, one of us will act as a windshield for him, forming a protective cocoon, which will save his energy for the finale. This tactic works for 40 miles when an attack happens in the feed zone! This is not the greatest form, since feed zones are supposed to be neutral. I have been guilty of this once or twice so I will not say too much about it. The fact is the person that made this move worked extremely hard gaining about 30 seconds at one point. Druber had gone across when the gap was about 10 seconds and that helped extend it to 30. By the end of lap 4 Druber had returned, being really depressed about his injury, I understand Mark. Shadows and dust, my friend, that is all we are!
Start of lap 4 and the body has been trying to cramp at the harder changes of speed. The Jens Voight approach has been good so far and I tell my legs to shut the F up, I am going to finish with the pack. Now we are in the final lap, and I think I am going to make it Bob has been saving his energy all race as I make comment to him how awesome it is that Whipple is setting tempo. The group is happy to stay at this pace, while I am still okay though hanging by a thread. At mile 51 the body wins and I have to take a leg out of my peddle after it was cramping for a while. Half a lap short, I knew it was going to be a suffer fest, but having Bob in the jersey was more important than the dose of humility I would swallow today.
The race plays out with attacks coming in the last 3k’s, in the end we hold on for 3rd, and sixth. I am the first 55+ finisher, being the only 55+’er in the field, laughter.
Anyway it was good to play again, seeing a few of the boys, and knowing I am only going to be faster for the next race.
Heidi and I are off the work the Ragbrai Expo in Council Bluffs, IA. on Saturday. This is a labor of love and I hope we can help some of the 60,000 riders find a little more comfort selling them ButtonHole. How do people ride without Chamois cream during the long hot days in Iowa? Seems crazy to me.
Safe riding and racing.