This weekend’s adventures took me to my parent’s transplant home of Traverse City Michigan for the 3rd Annual Cherry-Roubaix. I missed the first two due to varying circumstances so I was really looking forward to making it this year. Unfortunately, my health threatened to derail my plans on Thursday when I got extremely sick with flu like muscle aches. Needlesss to say, I wasn’t 100% in my right mind during most of the races this weekend, but still managed to have a little fun and represent us Chicago folk pretty well up in the Cherry Capitol of the world.
The whole week the town had been partying with bike related stuff, including some events grouped as the “Fixed Gear Symposium.” Well on Friday, they mixed bike racing with their weekly party called “Friday Nite Live” – a lot of people with good music, food and a really chill vibe. The event? 150M sprints in downtown Traverse City. This was absolute sweetness for a self proclaimed sprinter like myself. I’d be competing in the fixed gear and men’s open gear categories’.
The concept was simple enough – get up on one of three start ramps, get a 10 second count down, go all out for 150M and beat the other two riders. Can’t be that hard right? So the first wave was the open geared category and there were like 27 of us. I wait…and wait…and wait and then finally get called with the last wave. It’s me and another rider…who just happends to be wearing a BMC kit. I’m getting clipped in and the guy below my ramp says “you know who you’re racing right?” I reply “yeah” as I think to myself “and it really doesn’t matter ‘cause if he’s gonna kick my butt he’ll do it with ease.” Well the rider I was staged with was newly minted Pro Larry Warbasse of BMC’s U23 Squad. Traverse City is his hometown so why not come out and have a little fun right?
We get our countdown and I take off down the ramp. About 2 seconds into our run I can tell that something isn’t right ‘cause the crowd is letting out “oohhhs” and “aaawwwws.” Well, I’m not looking back so I just keep going as fast as I can and try not to kill myself as I go flying into the ultra short shut down area. As I am making my way around the block back to staging (so I can do my fixed gear run) I run into Larry and ask what happened. Turns out that when his bike met the pavement he unclipped (which sucks). We got to chat for a few seconds on our way back about his return from Utah and some other tid bits (really cool guy). I later learned that he won the Fixed Gear hill climb by like 30 seconds over the nearest competitor. When I got back to staging I found out that Frankie Andreu mentioned that the unknown xXx rider from Chicago might be someone to watch out for. If only I felt better…
The rest of the night would see me get 3rd in my second open gear heat (and somehow get eliminated) and get 2 1st place finishes on the track bike before getting knocked out by a Cat 1 in my first elimination round. Oh well, I need to get some rest for tomorrow anyway because climbing up that start ramp was wearing on me each trip.
It’s a nice, sunny, not-a-cloud-in-the-sky, kinda hot and sort of windy day. This would be a nice day to race if there was just a little shade. Oh well, at least it wasn’t raining. Before the race I ran into teammate Ernie Majarucon (who took 2nd in his race), former teammate Newt Cole (top 10 in the 45+) and everyone’s favorite fan Nikki Cyp. It was cool to see some familiar faces at a race that was 5 hours away from Chicago. Also representing the Chi was Half Acre (Jamie Sanchez, Tim Strege and Todd Simeone) and Rhythm Racing (Evan Jahn).
Our race was slated for 30 minutes +1 on a 6 turn course that included a stretch of cobbles. Technical courses are always cool to race on, but I have never really been a fan of cobbles. I mean, it’s 2010 already, can’t we get some smooth pavement to run on? But I have to say, these were some of the smoothest cobbles that I’ve ridden on so it really wasn’t that much of an issue. Gun goes off and I get a hole shot clip in and hit the first turn in like 3rd wheel. This is gonna be sweet.
Jamie was on the front in between myself and another rider. Then he started to get a gap and the other rider wasn’t closing it. Seeing as we’re both from Chicago, I decided to sit tight and see if he could get a little separation off the front, which he did. The gap got bigger and bigger and all the while the Peloton is saying “let him go.” I’m thinking, “yeah, let him go ‘cause if the gap get’s big enough no one is going to bring him back.” We’ll, they let that go on for a while before they had enough and started chasing. Me? I just stayed top 5-7 wheels the entire time and let everyone else do the work. They would eventually reel Jamie in about 10-12 minutes into the race despite some good blocking by his teammates and some soft efforts on the front from yours truly.
Most of the remainder of the race saw me cruising on the front and trying to not fall too far back. At 20 minutes in I found myself on the front and decided I would test how I was “really” feeling. I put the pace car in my sights and took off after it. Funny thing, it just sped up and tried to get away from me. Stupid pace car! We’ll I strung the field out for a little bit and realized that I wasn’t really 100%, but I still had some juice in the legs. But at 4 to go I got pushed to the back somehow and had to work my cherries off to get back towards the front. In the process, Evan and another young rider got off the front which caused everyone to ramp up the pace which made it even harder to get back into a good position. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do it fast enough and found my self in a tight bunch sprint. The separation between 9th and 12th (where I finished)? 2/100ths of a second. Not the best, but I’ll take it for a guy who could barely stand up two days before this race. Evan finished 3rd and Todd took 11th.
After the race I saw the family, hung out with Nikki for a while (thanks for the ice) and saw Newt rock 6th in the 3’s. Now here’s to a few days of rest before 4 days of brutal racing down in STL.