Saturday, October 22, 2011

Spectacular Saturday

Great weather greeted me this morning at Doyne Park in Milwaukee as I lined up for the sixth race in the WCA Crank Daddy’s Cyclocross Series.  It was my fourth race of the year and my first since Oct. 8.  During the last two weekends I felt a little guilty for not racing, but before today’s juniors race I had a good pre-ride and I knew I was ready to compete.  The start of the race was fast but didn’t put me in the red.  I was in control of myself and my bike, ready to work my way steadily through the field for four laps.

Nice plan.  Didn’t work.  On consecutive laps, riders crashed right in front of me and left me nowhere to go.  These breaks in my momentum were costly.  I followed a Masters 35+ guy for the first half of the final lap, then passed him and bridged up to three riders in my category.  Team Extreme’s John Senkerik pulled us around for a while and it was clear that the other two were happy to follow.  I passed those two near the pits and hoped I would have enough left to overtake John before the finish line.  I was right on his wheel as we reached the barriers but he got back into his pedals quicker than I did and I simply ran out of time.  He was about 50 feet ahead of me going into the last turn, started his sprint earlier and beat me by a second or two at the line.  I finished 7th out of 20 racers in Masters 45+ Cat 4.  My first Top 5 finish would have been a possibility if not for the crashes that detained me.  The podium still seems out of reach, though, as there are three or four guys who are just dominating the category each week.

Props to the My Wife Inc. guys for today’s course and all the hard work that goes into hosting a race.  Today’s event originally was scheduled for Kletzsch Park but had to change venues due to a scheduling conflict.  Race organizers had only a few days to lay out the new course.  What we got was a very fast course—not too technically demanding, but more than serviceable.  I spent at least half the race in the big chainring.

I realized today that mine is not the only Diamondback Steilacoom on the WCA circuit.  Daniel Dolney, a Cat 4 from ISCorp, has one too.  You see all sorts of bikes at cyclocross races.  One guy raced today on an old Trek 820 with skinny tires.

So, today helped to solidify my position in the Top 10 on series points.  I expect to be back in action next weekend for Halloween Cross at Washington Park in Milwaukee and for the Sheboygan Bicycle Company Classic.  I don’t expect the weather to be as nice as it was today, but as long as it’s dry I think I’ll be OK.

Late this afternoon I did an easy ride around town to soak up what remained of the sunshine.  While I was at it I also established a new personal record for mileage in a single calendar year.  I have reached 4,813 miles in 2011, beating the old mark of 4,800 that I set in 2009.  Nice, but now anything short of 5,000 will be a disappointment.  On to Sunday, then a week of vacation …

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