Project 5 Racing

Tour of Galena – June 8-11, 2012

Final turn of Crit

XXX put on a fantastic week-end of interesting racing out in the hills of Galena. Put this omnium into your race calendar for next year. It will challenge you – and isn’t that one of the reasons we race?

Friday, Circuit Race: 6 laps of a 7mi course. Those of us on the line knew each other – the incognito Les Petites Victoires (LPV), Psi-Met army w/Seargent Jeanne, and most of the rest of us solo riders representing our teams – Spidermonkey, XXX, Tati, ABD, etc. It was going to be a fun week-end! We had a 2.5 mi neutral rollout from Depot Park in Galena. Another nice feature of this Omnium is that all but the time trial (TT) start from basically the same location in downtown Galena. Parking is easy. Bathrooms available.

After the neutral rollout, an LPV goes off the front. The pace of the pack picks up slightly. Then the pack flows to the right at the loop intersection. What?!?!? Right? During myy recon of the circuit course, I went left. My head starts trying to flip the course around in my mind. Before I get very far, we are starting a climb. Soon there is a sign with a truck practically flipping on it’s back – and what does it say? 15%? Oh – that’s the dangerous downhill of my recon, only now we are climbing it.

I stay with the leaders cresting the hill. The rest of the course is basically downhill – at least compared to that climb. Lap 2, there are 6 of us going into “the hill”. Lap 3, I lose contact with the other 5 on the hill. Lap 4, on the hill, my leg cramps hard forcing me off the bike to walk up. Those that are still on their bike pass by me – no smiles but grunts shared. The heat and hills have taken their toll. Lap 5, same as the 4th… but I get lucky in that Jeanne Kuhajek, Psi-Met, passes me within a mile or so of the finish. She shares some encouraging words and goes on to win. Her gift to me was that I didn’t have to go out on the course for the 6th lap.

Saturday a.m., Time Trial: 6 mi out-and-back hilly -did I say hilly? course. Imagine a ribbon of carpet – a runner – you grab it and give it a snap… see that series of waves? Double the height of the peaks and valleys and now you get an idea of the course. Only Jessica (ABD) used a TT bike, part of her preparation for U23 National Championship in a couple weeks. I was second starter, following Cady Chintis (LPV) – she was my rabbit. As I started, I saw Cady crest a hill ahead of me, then disappear into the valley. I pushed to crest the same hill – she looked even smaller in the distance as she crested another hill. And so on. No one passed me. Cady started to stay the same size so I knew I was matching her speed. Then it was over. Jessie blew away the field. I finished 6th – not so bad.

Saturday p.m., Road Race: Hot, hot, hot!!! Stayed in shade. Doused self with water. Sandra Samman (XXX) agreed to do feed for me and a couple others – thank you! 3 laps of 20 mi course. We set out. Jessie, Jeanne, and Mia (LPV) commanded the front on the hills. I hung in with the lead pack as a few racers fell off the back. Thru the feed zone, so many “volunteers” offered water to all of us – it felt like it didn’t matter what colors we wore, whether or not we were on the course, we were all in this together, to survive successfully and improve – like teamwork. I grabbed a water bottle – cold! Ahhh! Put it in my back pocket and as I made the first right turn, PLOP! It fell out of my pocket – oh, such sadness enveloped me. Luckily I still had some water with me – but not cold.

About 2/3′s into lap 2, my leg cramped to a rock – no ability to turn the pedals – and I was forced off the bike, losing contact with the lead pack. Liz So (LPV) was near me and suffered the same fate. When we were back on our bikes, I mentioned to her that I was considering calling it a day. Her response = “not even for training?” Then I cramped again, having to walk, as Liz rode away. But her words stuck with me. Approaching the start of the final lap and feed zone, I decided to finish this out. I grabbed a bottle from Sandra. Then Rob Curtis handed me a frozen Psi-Met water bottle – was this a trick? I shoved it down the back of my shirt – ahhh!!! After a few miles, I got a dribble of water out of the bottle and then shoved it down the front of my shirt – ahhh!!! A few more miles – just a dribble. Say what? So I put it in the cage. In the distance, I could see Liz. My new motivation was to catch up with her and that her for her encouragement – I felt better for sticking with this race than quitting.

A few miles out from the finish I caught up with her. I thanked her. Then I cramped again on the same hill as the previous lap. Bye, Liz. But I finished – that is priceless. (oh – and that frozen water bottle thawed almost immediately once in the cage and I enjoyed some bone chilling water in the final miles. Thanks, Rob.)

Sunday, Crit: Another hot day. Flat course. We go in circles. A couple of attacks. Some surges when primes are called. Then, in the final laps, I hear an LPV ask of her teammate, “where’s Mia?” I don’t hear the answer and question it myself – I haven’t seen her most of the race. Within the next lap, Mia “attacks” – oh, there she is, she must have been conserving her energy at the back waiting for this moment. Jeanne goes off the front chasing Mia down. I wait for someone else to chase Jeanne. No one does. Final lap, Jessie moves up the inside before the final turn. I am on her wheel for most of the way, but get jammed up at the turn. I don’t have much of a sprint so I lose many spots in the finish – 9th. It is only after the race is over that I learn that Mia lapped the field. I missed that move.

So – fantastic, tiring, hot, week-end of racing. See you there next year?

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