It is sad to say goodbye to the only real road race somehow close to Chicago; I have raced Hillsboro-Roubaix for the last three years with two different teams with mixed results but this year was a great and memorable one because during that trip I was accompanied by the finest bike lovers around, Half Acre Cycling.
This year was supposed to be different from past ones; I am finally getting to my desired fitness goal as I have been working hard to accomplish that (it is about physics, less weight = more speed)... I totally had in my mind to place top 10 and get some elusive upgrade points as I want to upgrade in the road races, not in criteriums.
I do not know but it seems to me that the Cat4s this year were ex-athletes or current triathletes, Cat3s or 2s in disguise, or just a bunch of dopers. The race was fast from the start, I sat on the back as in previous versions of the race but the field was pushing hard enough that it took me about ¼ of the first lap to be at the front; usually road races are like sex, mellow at the beginning and hard at the end.
Finally I meet up with our Dan and Karson from Johnny Sprockets; we stayed with the front group for a bit while Wildcard and xXx in high numbers were controlling the pace as 4-5 riders sped away; one xXx, one Wildcard, one Bloomington rider and other two unknown ones. I saw them getting more and more time and I started to get more and more frustrated with the “super fit-exathletes-Cat3s or 2 in disguise” from all over the Midwest that were doing nothing.
If you have ever raced next to me in the past, you will know by now that I am an angry old man with a dirty mouth while racing… Dan and I tried to organize the peleton to bring back the 4-5 escapees, but the two of us cannot do much against the xXx and wildcard folks who just want to slow us down.
Ask Dan if you want, but one by one of the escapees faded away and we were able to catch the last two remaining riders by the start finish line. I do not know for how long I was at front… it seems it was forever. It was then time for me to recover, eat and drink as much as I could.
Then the race turned ridiculously slow… I was expecting an attack from xXx directly as I know by then that Wildcard was protecting just one guy, the same guy we just brought back home at the start finish; he even told me that he wasn’t going to get away again because I was going to waste his effort… I think, why don’t you ask me to join your effort instead? I guess his ego doesn’t allow him. (Btw, that dude is one of the ex-athletes or whatever).
Another rider asked me if I want to win the race, I responded that if that is not your goal today what are you doing here? What kind of question is that one? Uhhh?
I speed up, and they speed up, I slow down, and they slow down… even Karson and I were side by side for a mile kind of surprised on what was going on. I think I should have attacked at that point, what could have happened? I guess I could have been really tired at the end of the race and that is all.
It seems xXx and Wildcard were tired of me holding them; in a synchronized attack, the two teams formed a perfect pace-line to town… except me who was playing between teams trying to break their pace. I believe we were rolling 26-28 m/h at that point, passing several riders of the Open Master and Cat3 field. I love when that happens, I even had time to make fun of an ex-teammate as our field sped away.
The end of the race was insane fast; basically I stayed behind the two teams for the last 8-6 miles to the finish. I felt strong, I really did… First hill went fine but I started to suffer, second high hill I was fading away, over the false flat I see people passing me, going downhill I recovered but that was too late, first left turn and the bricks felt as they were pulling me back… I see my top 10 gone, last left turn I sprinted as hard as I could… I finished.
Soooo close. I am not disappointed of what I accomplished on the road, I worked hard, I stayed at the front, I was a player, and I made that race interesting.
I am happy that Karson won, he is a great person and rider… I do not know my final place yet, I am guessing to be top 20s one more time.
Thanks Ashley, Jen, and Michael for the weekend. I am so glad we stayed in a hotel instead of driving the same day; resting helps a lot during the race. Thanks Dan for leaving power on the road for Half Acre. I got the chance to know more my teammates… Now I know that Michael Sojka loves vans, in particular the Dodge Caravan… Just kidding.