"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


And to the back you go

The remainder of the racing for last weekend was not nearly as interesting as Kenosha. In fact, it gets pretty boring looking at 50 to 80 spandex-wrapped asses as you try to avoid getting dropped in the rubber band effect.

Starting at the back in the Humboldt Park Criterium was probably the worst decision of my racing career, and by the time I got back home and downtown in Grant Park for Sunday's Chicago Criterium, my legs were quivering slabs of powerless meat.

I love the Bayview area of Milwaukee. It's a lot like the Milwaukee Avenue corridor with great restaurants, fun bars, and far less slumming yuppies, skinny jeans and fixed-gear bikes. The race course was a spacious park about 4 miles from downtown, a unique layout - with a hairpin turn just 50 meters after the start finish and then a decent hill absolutley littered with potholes and rough pavement. The downhill finish was negated by a ripping headwind that actually started at the turn after the hill, and this setting definitely helped the eventual break get off.

Myself, I saw none of it. Because from lap 1, I was at the back struggling to catch up with the rubberband effect the worst I've ever experienced, and from laps 5 through 25 of the 35 total, I said to myself just before the 120 degree turn, "this is it, you're getting dropped." Andrew Treumper was valiantly trying to bridge up to the break that had gotten off early, and about halfway through he did fall off the back and I was alone for the rest of the race.

The pack finally conceded to the break of 5 and let up on the last 10 laps, but even then with the turn followed by the hill I was in recovery-land right after every time around to the finish. I held on the end, and I was just glad it was over.

Back in Chicago that night I slept like a log after a relaxing dinner with Maggie, and the two of us rode downtown the next morning with Jack in tow under the promise of a beautiful day to register for each of our races.

It was more of the same for both of us. Maggie got dropped from her 4s field and I spent the day at back of both of mine - the 3s and the Master's 1/2/3s. Her result was purely from lack of experience - in her 2nd race only - and my was both extreme fatigue and some lack of motivation. They were my 10th and 11th races since Superweek began on the 11th, and both were huge fields over well over 80 riders. The team did manage 4 podiums, including a win however, so it was not an unsuccessful day at all.

The 3s race was a decent speed, but there was so much chaos in the middle - at least three crashes - that it was almost impossible to get through to the front. I simply sat at the back of the Master's race panting for mercy as the Bissel team got a man off the front and worked for him. I was told it was still 2 mph slower than the previous year, so I can at least be grateful for that.

I've got a lot of work to do mentally before I am competitive in the 3s. Overall there isn't much difference in the speed, besides the speed you go to the back when you lose even a modicum of concentration at the front. It is so much more aggressive up there. Everybody is trying to steal your wheel, and gap on a turn that would've been inconsequential in the 4s is filled with a new rider now.

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