After Friday's tough race, we all needed some rest before the lakefront short course. Fortunately Scott, Alan and I set up camp at Scott's folks place in Menomonee Falls, just north of WI. They treated us to spaghetti, garlic bread and great chocolate chip cookies and some OLN tour action. Nice!!! Thanks again.
The course is technically a circuit race, 2.2 miles long with one nice uphill and one fun but short and quick twisty descent. The key here is the same as every year - the wind. As in past years, we had a headwind into the start/finish, lending the race to end itself in a bunch sprint. Today XXXRacing/Athletico was represented by myself, Alan, Alex and Andy who rode up with his pops.
The race started on time (wow) and we hit the hill. Ironically, the race actually started out quickly. Usually this race is fairly mellow due to the hills but with the SC squad having upgraded to 3, there was no one controlling the race. Early on, Cole Haus (junior who took second overall in the series) attack on the hill. I happened to be at the front of the pack on this particular climb (big guys to the front on the climbs?) so when Cole and three others following took off, I jumped with them. We quickly formed a small gap by the top of the hill. After cresting it, Cole lit it up and I have to admit, I was struggling to hold on. Whether from Friday, my size or my fitness, I was swerving in the wind. After some "shouts of encouragement" we found ourselves caught by the pack. After that we pretty much road as a group. Alex and Andy both looked great, coming to the front and attacking the hills, Andy leading quite a few. We all road safe and fairly closed using each other to let ourselves get in, out of the wind.
As we headed into lap 4 or 5 I called out for Alan (literally yelled) to see where he was at. Getting no response, I assumed he had dropped. To my surprise, after a bum rush at the base of the hill on lap three, I spotted Alan up front. Nice! So all four of us where in it. With two to go, I attacked at the top of the downhill, more just to have a safe descent (things became sketchier as the race went on) but also to see what kind of action we had going. Though I gained a solid gap (150+ meters) I knew I didn't have enough to take the wind on myself. I sat up and waited for the back to come together. At this point Andy came through and rode 1/2 into the base of the hill. Of course, that's where the attacks began. For the next 2 miles it was all about position. We all knew that your placement at the top of the last descent would dictate your overall placing.
Alex, Andy and I all worked to push through to the front. I was stoked as I found myself sitting fourth. Unfortunately that was 4th but in the wind. Cole (smart but annoying) wouldn't let me in. As we approached the start/finish I could feel myself fading. Well, why not attack two days in a row right? I tried, but it was too late. The pack surge just as I decided to jump and I found myself fading and struggling to hold onto 4th again. It was not to be. In the end it was an 11th place finish, knocked out of the top ten by teammate Alex. No worries, great riding deserves a top 10 and Alex rode really strong, I was impressed. Once again, position hurt our other finishers. Andy and Alan both got caught up in the pack at the descent and couldn't work through on the final lead-up, finishing mid-pack. Two top tens? out of 80. We'll take it!
Damn the legs are tired. Still one race to go!