What's Cool In Road Cycling

Extra Water, No Balloons – Wisconsin State Crit Champs

Lovely little Elkhorn, Wisconsin played host to the 2003 Wisconsin State Criterium Championship race Saturday, June 28th. Apparently, Mother Nature has a slight degree of disdain for us Cat 4 punks at state championship races, for she bestowed upon us another truckload of rain. Before our race – clear skies, after our race – clear skies, but from the moment we were on the line until the moment we crossed it for the last time, the taps were wide open. The water just flowed out of blackened skies onto us as we navigated a dead flat, 6 corner 0.8 mile long course. Corners were exited and immediately riders were faced with a multitude of features: medians, four lanes to two, off camber, manhole covers, 2-foot wide strips of cobbles, you name it. This course, with a little rain on it, was to be a crash fest.

And so it was. A crash on the second lap provided the split needed, and a group of 6 or so got away. It was hard to count how many were up there, as I was blinded by the rooster from the wheel in front of me. Sometimes I would purposely stick my teeth in the wind, just so I could actually see what the hell was going on. Otherwise, it was as though Mother Nature was a two year old with a high powered squirt gun – face shots all day. Up my nostrils, in my eyes, filling up my gaping, gasping cakehole. If I dropped my head a little for some extra effort, it was like glasses of water I was trying to balance on my head came rushing through my helmet. Who needs water bottles? My skipper chucked his, and opted instead to just open up his yap when he needed hydration. Who needs a bike? Teammate Brad dumped it in corner #6 about 2/3 of the way through the race, and ran himself into a barrier at a good 20mph. A quick glance over my shoulder after hearing that unmistakeable sound showed me Brad on his ass, legs in front of him and slightly bent, and arms straight up. I swear he looked like he was riding a roller coaster…without the roller coaster.

Project 5 (our team) had fielded 4 riders for the festivities, and we all took up positions near the front. I got a great hole shot, and pulled the entire first lap at 28mph, before pulling off and handing it over to Superman. Who’s Superman, you ask? He’s probably the worst Sandbagger I have ever seen in all my days. This dude looked like an American Gladiator crossed with a track star. After congratulating him on his eventual win afterwards, he told my teammate “Yeah, I was supposed to go into the cat. 1/2 race with some teammates, but no one showed.” Great, you a55h0#$, you’re a veritable pro, and you jump in the 4/5 field. If I wasn’t so scared of him, I’d have knee capped him. People like him ruin it for aspiring cyclists. I hope the ref’s gave him a verbal lashing, after they handed him his state champ jersey, that is.

So by the last few laps, it’s me and Tim and Kevin, all soaked to the bone, along with some pretty sharp Verizon Wireless riders (great ride, dudes) and an amalgamation of one-offs. The Sandbagger was way off the front with a wheel sucker. The Verizon boys and my team pulled back what was left of the original break. I mistakenly asked “lapped riders out of the way” before being corrected “hey man, we were you’re leaders.” Sorry dudes, my bad. In the last bit, the Verizon boys slipped up the road and got their guy across first of the chase to take 3rd. Our boy Tim got a good lead by Kevin, and he got 5th, in the money! Kevin and I finished in 12th and 13th, respectively, out of 45 starters. I’ll take it, considering my somewhat strained relationship with the state of Wisconsin!

I have to go, The Lombard Criterium is in a few hours, I have to pack and get on the road. Today, a 3/4 field, so hopefully more speed and less crashes.

About Dave:
DOB: 6/5/71
Residence: Just outside Chicago, Illinois, USA
Category: USCF Road 4
Teams: Project 5 and Evil Cycling
Why I Love Cycling: “Nothing on the planet can hurt me more than my bike.”
Fave Cycling Moment: “Anytime I sit down and trance in front of ‘A Sunday In Hell'”.
Favorite rides: “Any criterium, anyplace, anytime, and of course, Ragbrai.”

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