Intelligensia Cup Chicago Criterium pb Goose Island Beer Company
Dazed and Confused
This is a genius location for a Sunday crit. Nothing but warehouses and factories. Deserted. Urban. Gritty. Smelly.
The organizers have set up their barriers and created a course 5 blocks long, one wide, with a little chicane on the back. No cops needed, not a single cop car present or to be paid for. (Other race organizers take note). Sunny views of the loop skyline and coffee from the intelligentsia HQ complete the look. The fours race ended with a big crash, but this course is pretty easy, ours to screw up in other words.
Its starts fast and I’m enthused by the crowd crossing the line, going off the front a little and dangling for a lap, setting an early marker. Its a fight into the wind on the back straight but the finish line is a blur as you rev through at 35. Its fun racing, plenty of people want to have a dig, the speed is up and down like a dogs dick.
This race has a feel of one where a big break will go off. After 10 laps a big break duly goes off. Six riders gap on the finish straight, so I bust a gut bridging over. I arrive at the back gasping and others are clamoring for working together, with all strong guys this break has success written up and down it. Lets go. But strangely the pace drops and the bunch catches up.
A couple of doomed solos are the only other excitement as we knuckle down for the big ugly bunch sprint. One to go and I’m 12th wheel. Not good enough and I have some gas, so instinct has me jumping out on the back straignt and fighting into the lead. Two go by me just before the penultimate turn. This is good news, a leadout train to winsville. Follow them round the turns and I’m holding my leadout wheel waiting to go. Its such a long straight, don’t want to Cav it and go too soon.
Just. one. more. second.
The bunch is steaming around me both sides. One guy comes by so close he’s slowly rubbing and bumping up my thigh and shoulder, and I’m blocked the other side too.
By the time I can get out of this box the race is lost, a big roiling group of guys is ahead bashing off each other sunglasses flying as they fight the line.
Happy with a top ten, but it could have been much more.