23 Jun Schlitz Park – ToAD (2011)
This would be the last ToAD race for me because the Glencoe Grand Prix is Saturday. This is a double edge sword for local Illinois racers having to choose between the two events. I would have done more ToAD races but the ICA made the choice to kill Peoria by taking the State Championship away from them and awarding it to the GGP. The fall out is this: if we Illinoisians want to race strong at our state criterium Championship, we have to give up some of the years highest quality races, ToAD, in order to be competitive. I suspect the ICA heads of state do not take these things into consideration when making these decisions. Enzo loves the GGP and the organizers of this great event, but as the years pass I have to question how the ICA has benefited Illinois cycling? Back to the race report.
This was a new race in the ToAD series for 2011 with the course setters raising the bar again. My comments about the new Theinsville course were quite positive, and the new Schlitz Park course is much better than I could have imagined. Brewer’s Hill then a medium length straight followed by a twisty snake alley like descent, awesome. For all you climbers, do not miss this event next year. After a 40 minute rain delay the racing resumes and the weather is great, mid 70’sF. The roads are drying out fairly well by our start time, being totally dry by the end of the race. As the whistle sounds the field starts like any other ToAD Crit, fast paced making the first climb a rude awakening. I am going to sit in the back and watch for a few laps which was not the greatest idea. The half wet/dry pavement exposed the lack of bike handling skills by many of the riders and I was taking notes.
Bob Karlow and Gene Tolli would be my team mates today and we all seemed fine going down the hill. 20 minutes into the race I decide to test the waters and go 90% throttle up the hill and open a small gap, this is good, though I have shown a card in my hand to the field. A few attacks have been going mainly because of cash primes being thrown on the table. I attack after one of these primes and hold a gap for little over 1 lap, returning to the back when being reeled in. One lap later a $75.00 prime is announced and Billy Jones (IS Corp) goes up the road, this time Bob Karlow goes after him. I am in the back and hear #317 takes the prime which makes me happy knowing this is Bob’s number. Great, the pot has been started as I plan my next attack. I will wait a few laps knowing they will offer another prime soon. This time I am out for 2 laps alone with now money being offered and the field brings me back. The next lap the prime is called, crap, just missed by 1 lap, oh well. I am now looking at all the players as we climb the hill and do not see Bob. I am wondering what happened to our sprinter and then I see him on the downhill going very slow while cheering me on as we pass him. Bob is now rolling around with no intention of placing in the money, which now forces me to turn off the training switch and turn on the racing switch. I have been using ToAD races as a training ground in preperation for Glencoe, now I must race for a good team finish with 9 laps to go. I sit in until 4 to go and move up to mid pack on the hill. 3 laps to go I move up to 3 wheel and fight to hold a front position. With 1 lap to go I hit the field on the uphill full gas and open quite a gap with Heagney(VQ) and Joe Creston(Cafe Hollander) staying with me. Heagney jumps into first wheel before the downhill and lets off the gas, this was clearly a mistake.
I am mad at myself for opening the door, but it is racing and Heagney is great at finishing races. I am second wheel and out of the final corner I jump but do not have much after such a huge effort at the hill, I am sure my age has nothing to do with it. I am passed by Joe quickly as he also smashes Heagney in the sprint. If Mike would have stayed full gas down he would have won, but the conservitive approach lost him this race. Oh well, that is why it is called bike racing, not bike winning. So at the end of the day Enzo’s finishes 3rd, 11th(Gene) and 1 prime(Karlow) also 30th. It was nice to find a podium in a ToAD race since these races are all very difficult.
Hope everyone has enjoyed the ToAD reports, it is a taxing exercise racing days in a row, working, training people, taking care of the family duties, then writing a race report. I look forward to see many of you on Saturday in Glencoe. Until then, safe riding.
A special thank you goes out to Erin Hedrick, who is working some of our races with a video camera. Erin is working on an interesting project for the Enzo’s team. Say hello if you see her.