Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tour de CU Race Report

Tour de Champaign

Druber hosted a great weekend of crits with Scarletfire Racing and my old club Wild Card Cycling in Champaign-Urbana.  Saturday’s course was the rectangle in the research park.  The field was pretty deep with Panther, Nuvo, and Tx Roadhouse showing up.  Some strong Chicago area guys turned up, too.  The pace was quick but not insane.  Breaks were attempted throughout (I threw my hat in a few, too) but nothing stuck and it came down to a bunch sprint.  I helped my teammate BJ move up and he finished in the money during the sprint.  A good result for two young cat 2’s playing bikes with the big dogs.  We still have a lot to learn!

Nick was usually off the front more than this.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Rangel

Speaking of learning, I got my first shove/punch in a bike race here.  Turns out if you want out of the pack, you don’t ask (though I would have gladly moved), or get your bars in front and steer the other guy out of the way, you just shove them once and then jump through the gap!  Not something I’m going to emulate from a "more experienced racer."

Urbana Grand Prix

After staying up WAAAYYY too late catching up with good friends Saturday night, I got an early spin in with BJ on the course.  Wow, what a course it was.  8 turns, short straights, with some wind whipping through the buildings in a few places.  There were a total of zero easy places to move up!

We predicted that the race would be full gas till people started blowing up.  And that’s kinda how it went.  Strung out single file for 70 minutes.  BJ got into the first or second lap break but the horses were let loose and he dropped back to the field to recover.  JJ and Uberti stuck the break and went 1-2, 40 seconds ahead of the field.  Those guys are super strong.  I certainly didn’t have the legs to do something like that! 
Coming into the closing laps BJ and I tried some teamwork and it kinda flopped.  Regardless, a little perspective highlights that we’re not getting spit out of the back of a fast p/1/2 crit, but trying to work out some tactics.  It’s encouraging but all we have to show for it is my 16th place finish (first one out of the money – womp womp).

There were some impressive rides, particularly Nick Ramirez (Enzo’s/Psimet): attacking off the front in the closing laps and holding off the field for fourth.  It was a bummer however to see Dan Damotte (Big Shark/Michelob Ultra) eat it after turn 4 on the last lap. 

The whole weekend underscored the need for discipline in racing.  Saturday's race I knew would be a bunch sprint, but I didn't stick to that plan.  Sunday's race my legs weren't there like Saturday, and I while I am very glad to have spent the time with friends, I know I should have gone to bed an hour (or two) earlier. C'est la vie.

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