Chicago Criterium Cat 4/5 Heat 2

Last night I entered race #9 of the 10 I need to upgrade from Cat 5  to Cat 4 on the road.  One more to go,  which will be checked off the list this Saturday at the Tour of Elk Grove, as I race back to back in both Cat 5 races at 9am & 9:30am respectively.

I had spectated and pre-rode the course on 7/1 earlier in the month to determine if it was safe.  I liked the course, some-what technical with good speed, which I felt would play well to my strengths.  Signed up for the B race with Mike Hemme and 48 other riders.  As always seems to happen, I line up in the third row to the far outside.  Whistle blows, and off we go.  The first few corners are dicey, as people are hitting the brakes where they shouldn’t be.  Lap 1 goes by with no incident, and people start settling in.  I move up into the top 6 on the road and am sitting in comfortably. In hind-sight, I should have just stayed here all race to contest the win, but Hemme was off the front and I wanted to try to bridge up to him.  So, like the idiot I am, I flew off the front for about a lap, bringing the field with me.  When I saw everyone still behind me, I wanted others to pull.  Being only 4 laps in, it was hard to convince people to take over the lead and the pace quickly fell.  I dropped into the pack to recover.  Unfortunately, I dropped too far back and would have had to make some big gambles to get back to the front.

The laps just flew by as they tend to do when you’re red-lined. Every lap I’d hear Julie yell encouragement and tell me to move up.  I wanted to, but it was hard to go around more than 2 people a lap.  So, I was content to sit in and rotate around the people directly infront of me. Came up on 3 to go, and Hemme’s tire blows coming into the start/finish straight.  I figured there would be a hell of an accident.  Luckily everyone made it through just fine. The next 2 laps were pretty much all-out and I just focused on beating the guy in front of me (which coincidentally happend to be team-mate Danny).  I did beat him on the last lap and with no results up at this time, I figure I finished in the upper 20’s / lower 30’s out of 50.  Not glorious, but another great work-out done and one step closer to attaining my goal to upgrade.

Saturday will bring race 3 and 4 in one week’s time. Then it’s time for a break until Oakbrook or Cyclocross.  Look out dirt, the big blue Half Acre train is coming to tear you up, and I can’t wait!

-Dave Bowers