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Big Chicken(5 posts)

Big ChickenMR_GRUMPY
May 12, 2003 5:56 AM
Yesterday, I was a big chicken, when I bailed out of doing a Crit in Chicago. There were 25-30 mph winds, with gusts in the mid 50's. Did anybody else go to that race ? It was the one at the U. of Chicago.
Saturday I had a Time Trial that was wet and windy. The only info I had was my HRM. There was so much water, my bike computer stopped.
change your alias to GRUMPY_SANDERS nmshirt
May 12, 2003 7:32 AM
First race I've skipped all year, and I feel bad.MR_GRUMPY
May 12, 2003 8:26 AM
I also feel good that I didn't have to fight the wind in my little car to drive down to UC.
I was there. Notes from the back…TFerguson
May 12, 2003 6:10 PM
Race Report: Monsters of the Midway Criterium, University of Chicago, 5/11/03, 10 laps of 1.1 mile city streets.

Things are a little confusing and running late as there were two flyers that had went out listing different start times so they have to wait till ½ hour before they latest listed time for each race.

The course is rectangular; ½ mile west, short 1 block south, ½ mile east and another short 1 block north bringing you out of corner #4 and onto the front again. The winds are West-Southwest at about 25, gusting to 40. On the front stretch it is mostly head on with enough of a left side component to keep the pack hugging the right gutter, puddles and all. The two short stretches are nasty cross winds that have more than one rider complaining about the side profile of their aero wheels. The backstretch is a riders delight and, with no headwind penalty out front, the pack really spreads out here.

I and fifteen other hardy 50+ riders start our 10 laps straight into the wind, across the side shoot and down the backstretch. Here there is a very stretched out kind of attack that sorts itself out into three groups as we make the curves and head back into the wind. I'm near the front of the third group and give all I can muster, cross that 5-10 second gap and join the second group. My first bridge ever! (It is still a bridge when it's not to the lead group, right? Lie to me; it's OK.) About half of us in this group have sights on the first group and start going to the front (I can't help myself), but the other half keep it pretty unorganized. I do a good hard pull for about a third of the upwind stretch and that turns out to be too much. When a pull aside, I drop back a little too far and then can't get back on down the backstretch. Use ‘em and drop ‘em. I'll probably never learn, it's just too much fun.

Anyway, I get to the end of the back stretch just flying, make corner #3, look back to see if the third group is still organized enough fall back into and try again (not), lean hard and fast through corner #4, run into one of those 40 mph gusts and just about stop. It's all I can do to keep the meter reading double digits. I get to the start/finish line and the placard says 7. All that took place in 3 laps? I keep going by myself for the longest 2 laps ever. Those guys in Italy don't know pain. I know pain.

In lap 5 another guy catches me and we start working together. It's unbelievable how much easier it is to share the pain. A moment ago I was talking myself out of quitting, now we've got a rider in our sights about a third of a lap ahead. Each lap we're a little closer. On the last lap coming out of #4, we've just about caught him and start our sprint early. I fall off but my temporary partner gives good chase and may have beat him. I cross the line 10th and really feel good about the day's effort.

It's a fine day in the windy city, at least for us. For the later races it started raining.

Nice report! nmBipedZed
May 13, 2003 10:57 AM