27 Jul Superweek — Evanston 2011
I am sure some of you have been looking forward to this race report since there are a number of stories of what transpired. The team had 5 racers and a plan of finding the W, being one of the largest crowds to watch a bike race in the Midwest, it is always fun to win at these well attended events. The course is quite demanding with 3 technical corners and a long finishing straight, Enzo’s really likes this course. Nailing the win at Downer’s the day before, the team morale is high and we have a plan to race aggressive creating a break with repeated attacks.
The whistle sounds and it is on. The race starts fast with Druber pushing the pace early. I always like this method of starting, it warms the engine room up quickly, like the first hit in a hockey game, you know you are not here to practice. The attacks begin when Druber lets up and after 15 minutes we finally have a break formed. Not the perfect combo for us, Druber, Heagney, Gene Tolli, and another guy I do not know, but it will do. The Enzo’s squad works the front and within 6 laps the break has 40 seconds, mostly out of sight.
The surges continue but nothing of real consequence, so I follow wheels and rest for a few laps. With 11 laps to go, and the break safely up the road, it is time to bridge. The key is to not bring anyone or only 1 or two at most. Did I mention I have the diamond legs today? I wait until the back section, where I can take advantage of the difficult corners, attacking into turn 1. I am joined by Stathey, with Robert Kron following his wheel. They connect and not asking for help, I keep the speed high allowing them to recover. Stathey pulls through at the start finish line pulling to the back straight. Robert balks on his pull and I bark, “we are only three guys you need to pull”, then say “10-15 second pulls will be fine”. I have seen this game before from Robert so it is no surprise. I am happy to have the extra 10-15 seconds rest. I am taking long pulls since the legs were feeling great. We hear the split and we have closed the 45 second gap to 20 seconds in three laps. Now I am fired up knowing we will make the connection/bridge giving Enzo’s two guys the break of seven.
Now, I must be vague describing the next lap. Robert has now pulled from the entrance of turn one around turn 3, with his pedal stroke telling me he is laboring, I check the speedo and we are going 24.5, not fast enough. I start pulling through, being in a straight section of the course, before I know what has happened my front wheel is airborne and I am going down. Correct, I crash in a 3 man break! This is a first for me; I have never crashed while in a breakaway until today. Needless to say I am extremely angry, feeling like I had a chance to win or at least help my teammate find the W. Today this is not going to happen, in addition to loosing skin, a skinsuit, and not finishing in the money. Some say it is part of bike racing and this is true. I have a different opinion with regard to this mishap, which is all I have to say about that.
At the end of the day, we end up with Gene finishing 2nd, Bob Karlow winning the field sprint for 5th, and Ward finishing 15th, last in the money. Marc Zionts 23rd and me 44th. I heard later there was a huge crash in the last corner, with one of our guys washing his front wheel and causing this pile up; my apologies to the field. Though after talking to Ward, who was on the inside of Brian through the final corner, he said it looked like Brian’s front wheel hit the small tar snake and washed out. This could happen to anyone and we have again talked about the correct way and position for last corners in big race field sprints. We will have to wait another year to win Evanston, taking 2nd for the last two years.
Next up, Humboldt Park and Brewer’s hill in 100+ heat.