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Notes from the back…(4 posts)

Notes from the back…TFerguson
Sep 2, 2003 11:29 AM
Race Report: Sherman Park Criterium, Chicago, IL, 8/30/03. 0.9 mile circuit with very broad curves.

First, the race I didn't report. Downers Grove 40+ Citizen. This was my last goal race for 2003 and I did everything wrong. I could have lined up in the front row, but didn't. Why? I don't know. Maybe I was thinking they were going to call me up to the front as a star. "And now race fans, let's put our hands together for last year's 39th place DNF!!" I don't think so. Then we got the whistle and I carefully picked my way into the third group. I guess I just wanted to give the others a head start. During the race, I can blast through this whole group in the corners, but cannot accelerate with them on the straight. 20 minutes in and I just plain give up in total frustration. Was I still in the top 20 (my goal)? I'll never know.

Then last Saturday I went out to do my hill ride, which I hadn't done in a few weeks. It's about a two-mile lap around a lake with some small rollers leading up to a pretty good (Illinois) hill. I usually do about 5 laps. I hit it hard over the rollers, up the hill, a little sprint over the top and recover the rest of the way around. Saturday, I didn't even get to the hill on the first lap. My legs were screaming and I was completely out of gas. Can anybody say, "over trained?" I took the next six days off.
Bicycle races were held in Sherman Park, on Chicago's south side, soon after it opened in 1904. The park is three blocks long by two wide with a road gently curving around near the perimeter for almost a mile. There are no curves that can't be taken flat out and no hills. The only fault is the glass. Even though the big pieces have been swept up, the asphalt still glitters with tiny shards.

I arrive plenty early, register and start warming up. About a half hour easy and I push it for a quarter mile, recover and do a little sprint with my cadence getting up into the 140s. My legs feel great! It's been weeks since I felt like this. Overtraining - so many lessons to learn.
Notes from the back - Part 2…TFerguson
Sep 2, 2003 11:32 AM
Thirty-nine Cat 5s line up on a beautiful fall morning for a thirty-minute race and we're off. When we're bunched, I can move up and back in the pack at will and when we're strung out on a prime lap, I can pass if I want. I can't believe the difference between this race and the last. Also, this is first time that I have ever raced with someone else from my club and I now have visions of a lead out for him at the end. There are a couple of attempts off the front, but with no hills or even a corner, nobody gets more than 25 meters out. The pack just picks up and lets them hang there at 25 meters until they realize the futility and fall back in. The only real excitement is whenever somebody raises his hand in the middle of the pack with a flat tire from the glass. With three or four laps to go I'm sitting almost at the back and there's another prime that the pack is ignoring so near the final sprint. At about a quarter mile out, the guy beside me decides to give it a try and takes off. I go with him. We pass another, who went off the front, with me about two bike lengths back. I catch him and sit on his wheel until about 40 meters out, shift up two gears, stand and give it all I've got. I went up one gear too many and can't build up a good sprint cadence, but have enough with just power to take him by about a wheel. My first prime ever! (It's a pair of XXX Racing socks. Any suggestion on the best way to frame socks?) This, of course, kills any chance of me helping my teammate in the sprint but I finish with the back of the pack at 24th.

My second race is Masters 40+, which in this area, is one of the more difficult classes. The 30+ are still racing Pro/1,2 and the 50+ (like me) are – well older. There are three teams with four or more riders – Northwave, XXX, and North Branch. I also have a teammate in this race. He finished 6th in the Cat 4, so neither of us are fresh. The whistle blows and we're off to a moderately fast start. A Northwave rider attacks with a couple of others going with him. No XXX though, so they don't have it any better than the Cat 5s did. Northwave counters immediately, but again is pulled in. After a couple more Northwave attacks, they seem to be doing a little better and my teammate figures it's worth covering one. His group is brought back and I cover the counter. This is racing! We're back in and he covers the next one. I manage to cover one more before I'm cooked. I do a few solo TT laps and call it a day, but what a wonderful day it was.

Fergie gets a prime!shirt
Sep 2, 2003 7:54 PM
Excellent result, excellent report.

You don't want to frame those socks, though. You want to turn them into puppets and act out your prime win for your grandkids. :-)

Way to go!hrv
Sep 4, 2003 7:29 AM
Great job on your prime win; it gives ne'er-do-wells like me hope!

Only things I ever won in sports was a six pack of Coke in a speedskating race in college and a couple of pewter beer mugs in a windsurfing freestyle competition (my wife was the main judge on that one; save that story for another time!). I'm ready for some biking shwag!

Keep up the effort!