Elmhurst Intelligensia Cup
Elmhurst seems to embrace bike racing one day a year with a gusto, turning over their roads and parkland, half the police force seem to be helping or strutting about, and the fancy publicly owned mansion is made available for spectators and VIPs to drink and watch the racing.
It's a great day, 90F and sunny. The freshly laid tarmac around half the course is black and simmering, oh and super smooth. Baby’s bums envy it. I’m the only HACer in this one, but XXX Tracy and 10 Speed Matt who I know are here, and Tracy has been doing the whole series and proposes a breakaway attempt with 4 to go to neutralize a hot sprinter who’s been winning.
Off the line into the neighborhood and its fast but the longer straights suit me well. Lug up to speed and then get some benefit, blow past people before settling into a high placed spot and turns that need no braking, even the interesting left right jinking chicane. I’m feeling so good I decide to do a little salute on the front, pulling to P1 and pushing a little to pass the start finish line first and prod the announcer into giving me a mention.
Look around and I’m 10 yards up from a sluggish looking group. Well, whatever I carry on enjoying the super smooth tarmac, the chicane is particularly exhilarating taken with formula one lines. Another lap and what was never intended as a breakaway has gone on way too long, even if I’m just tooling along barely above training ride pace. I’m hoping a prime is announced. No such luck so I reduce speed to training in January pace and get caught. Pass the line and now a prime is announced. Great timing.
Its a fun race unfolding, smooth and a couple of digs at the front but no serious escapes. We are closing in on 4 to go and I’m on Tracys wheel ready, then a minor disaster. Front wheel skids out on a hot cover plate. Whoa. I hold it but my line is majorly compromised and I loose about 10 places. Luckily nobody collects me.
I’m rattled and picking up the pieces. I get it back together and surge up into the lead on the backstraight, but there’s no reaction. The breakaway is not going to happen.
Next to last lap and I’m feeling good. As usual nobody wants to work and I’m too far back, so I take literally 20 places in one blast, dropping into the lead just before the chicane. Now I always thought I was a fairly rubbish bike handler, but this time I nail it and scorch through with the perfect left right flick, and I’m 10 yards ahead just from that manoeuvre. So satisfying.
Up to the bell and I’m holding a decent top 5 place as the pace really hots up.
The last long straight and I’m still 5th wheel. Last turn, lead rider skids on a cover plate too. I go up the inside slightly baulked and then pile on my sprint, but at least 3 go by, and I wind up 8th.