|(Steve Cummins photo)|
In 2011 I had a disappointing day at the Estabrook Park cyclocross race in Milwaukee. On that occasion, my own inability to get clipped into my pedals ruined my start and put me hopelessly behind. Today I returned to Estabrook for the first time since that disappointment, only to have another.
It was no trouble getting clipped in as the Masters 45+ Cat 1/2/3/4 race began. I made a strong start from the middle of the second row, putting some very good riders behind me. For a moment I dared to entertain the thought of a high finish. I was running with the big dogs … until I ran into one of the biggest. JW Miller (Erik's) has been a prolific winner in both cyclocross and mountain bike racing. But even the best make mistakes. On a course that narrowed quickly after the starting chute, Miller got entangled with a pole and some course tape and slowed abruptly. I was inches behind him and had nowhere to go but right up his back. In the seconds that we needed to separate, Miller and I lost a bunch of positions. He was bleeding a little and I thought I had done real damage to his bike, but he was able to resume.
Today’s field was very strong and I knew that the crash had ended any chance of a Top 10 for me. As I resumed, my first order of business was to retake the positions I had lost to my closest rivals. Brian Petted (Team Extreme), Jeff Wren (Team Extreme), Scott Willms (Emery’s) and West Bend’s Troy Sable (unattached) were ahead of me now. It took me a little while to move up, and I never did catch Sable, who would finish in 21st place, the last man on the lead lap. The race leader put me a lap behind as I was approaching the finish line for what otherwise would have been my bell lap. Knowing that the leader had just come through, I redoubled my effort to overtake Peter Tampa (Rat City Racers). I caught him on a sharp little hill with just a few hundred yards to go. That gave me 22nd place out of 29 overall. I was 13th out of the 14 Cat 3 racers. I had the legs to be 3 or 4 spots higher. Mike Curtes (Twin Six) took the win, followed by John Lirette (unattached) and Tedd Jacobson (KS Energy Services / MOSH / Team Wisconsin).
Today was my 200th day of cycling in 2015. This is just the second time I have reached 200 rides: I did 204 back in 2012 and that record should fall next week.