Monday, May 4, 2009

2009 Vernon Hills GP

Where do I start?

OK I tried to start this report like 10 times. Honestly I think I was intimidated by the sheer number of pictures I have to post. Lots of coding. So....this is Vernon Hills 2009.

Enough said. No seriously....there is more but that's the just of what happened that day. Bicycle Heaven came out with a decent sized group finally. All sorts of jokers. MJH2, RR, RA, JAnd, JF, BF, etc....OK time to ditch the abbreviations. Time for real names. Ugh. Sorry guys.

We had a crew for sure. A mix of 4's and 5's. The first target was the cat 5 race. We had Joel, Bryan, Ryan, Don and Justin all set to roll. I don't think anyone was expecting much except for Joel. Justin and Bryan went OTB pretty early on. What sucked is that they both got faster as they went throughout the race. Key sign that the warmup wasn't hard enough.

Matt, Rob and I all felt like proud papas on the sidelines, yelling advise at every opportunity regardless of how good it was. Our main concern was trying to make sure Joel didn't go too early. Funny I am sure he's had that same concern his whole life....

....sorry watching a Meg Ryan film. They affect me.

ANYWAY...we kept yelling at him to take it easy. He kept wanting to chase everything like a hungry dog staring at a pile of discarded dinner bones. "Joel! Get off the front! WAIT!" we yelled time and time again. The whole time we had Bryan early on and then Ryan trying to mark and chase some guys that I had pointed out beforehand. As a result they were fried coming into the final laps. A ,istake on our part, but not to worry.

So with 3 laps left they announce a prime. This is a common tactic in cat 5 races to call a prime with a few laps left. What it does is it causes they fast guys to go earlier than they would have and it strings everyone else out. net result is that there are fewer cat 5's sprinting and presumably it is a safer sprint in the end. It wasn't until after they were past that it dawned on us that Joel would have no idea what a prime was.

This means that all Joel would see would be a guy going off the front as they came around again. He would no doubt chase for sure. Then he'd be stuck out in front in the wind and slowly wilt. Yeah right....

Well when the pack came around there was a tri-chi rider off the front going for the priime and....Joel right behind him. We yelled at him to hold up as he went by. really all that did was confuse him. As they crossed the line the guy in front slowed up (having won the prime) and Joel looked around like "WTF??!" He was trying to figure out who was going to work with him.

It took the better part of a quarter lap before he realized he had a gap and should do it alone. He had to hold the pack off for 2 laps. In a harsh Chicago wind (that's hurricane wind in other places). When he came by the first time he had opened up a gap.


As he came around again he emerged from the lapped traffic with a defiant fist pump. The whole time all I could think was, "don't take your hands off the bars or they'll disqualify you!" Somehow he sensed it and made it a 1 handed victory.

OK, OK...then on to the 4/5 Masters race. We got an opportunity to work for Jason. It's just what Matt and I needed. Matt worked his ass off early on and was in good position when they called a prime. He couldn't resist. He looked back and asked me if I was feeling like I could go. I said yes. He said, "Good....go" and then took off. He knew I knew he meant after the prime. He went for it. He won it.

After he took it I moved to the front and put some work in. Looking at my lap times from the Garmin after the fact I pulled the pace up 2mph to 26mph. It was working well and Jason was tucked in nicely.

Then on the second to last corner where people had been getting pinched (FWIW I was bumped and hit about 4 or 5 times throughout the race. One time I actually get a "NICE SAVE!") the guy on the inside of me came out. I went out in response. The whole time everyone behind me was yelling but there was nowhere for me to go. It sucked. I could hear them pile into the curb behind me. I looked quickly once I was free and saw a guy had jumped the curb. Yuck.

I had to sprint to get back on the back of the front pack and burned up enough that I had no real kick for the end. I did what I could. They placed me 12th but it was more like 18th. The starting field was close to 75 so I took it as a victory.

We put Jason on the 30+ podium in 3rd.

After that we hung around for the rest of the day to see the pro/1/2 field. Ara, Rob, and Rich took the P/1/2 race. It was a blast watching them. Puts it all into perspective.

Now for the pictures:

Many pictures from

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