Keeley Report: Glencoe Criterium

It was nice to finally race on dry roads....on Sunday at least. I believe that Mr. Cogiat pretty well covered the report on Sherman Park. It was a nice trip, save the desperate search for an ATM in what was apparently the only 1 square mile of chicagoland without an atm. Oh well, the course was nice, XXX did an amazing job of keeping the course clear of water and the rain stopped right before our race.

On Sunday, my wife, two dogs, ABD tent, ABD med kit, ABD nutrition stash and all my various race-day supplies piled into the Beetle convertible and headed to Glencoe. Got the tent setup and headed to register. It was not open, so I changed and got my gear ready. By the time i got back to the registraion, there was a line of about 30 riders and it did not seem to be moving. It was now 25 mins. to race time and I had only ridden the block to registration. So, Oz and I stood there pretending not to be nervous and trading small talk. I did eventually get my numbers and got about 3 laps to warm up before it was time to line up.

During the spin I had a chance to chat Gary Rulo up while we spun the course (can there be a nicer guy out there?). We both noted how nice the course was, with some iffy roadway between turns 3 and 4. As for the turns, 1 and 3 were very easy and wide, turn 2 was a 90, but quite narrow. Turn 4 was quite acute and narrow. In fact, there was a bed sheet behind the hay bales naming it "Amen Corner," it was sponsored by the church on the corner. That was the last time i read that sign, I do not need another reason to fear the turn.

At the line I snagged a spot on the front row and took a glance over my shoulder. To my surprise, there were about 80 other riders in the race. 8am Sunday North Shore, who knew? I spotted Jason Addante of Team Endure-iT!/ABD Naperville branch as well as two of the three usual suspects from Spin Drs (Scott and Paul). Got a glimpse of Brian Hildreth and THE SARGE in the lineup and felt pretty good about our numbers.

The race began fairly quick. I took 2nd wheel around the course the first lap and tried to take turn 4 cleanly, it was nice and i decided that I would have to do whatever it took to stay top 10 to avoid the yo-yo effect as well as any potential danger. I did what I wanted to, won a mid race prime for chicago fire tix (club level, no less) and took 2nd just shy of Matt Smith's (Big Shark) front wheel.
Had a huge gap between races, so had a chance to catch other ABD'ers in action. Witnessed Sue Semaszczuk wailing on the womens 4 field, she would go on to take 3rd and Sead Duranovich sit in a great spot during the 5's only to be wiped out by another rider in turn 2 of the final lap (he was quoted later as saying "Man these 5's are gonna kill me!").

Dogs, wife and self went and hung at the park near the beach during the big wheel races and returned to the tent to realize that we had been ousted by none other than THE Erik Zabel! Well, it was a 3 YO kid in a full Milram kit (yes, bib shorts down to his ankles), sporting a brand new 3rd place medal he had won in the kids race. I think James Sneddon got a couple of good shots of it. Oh yeah, second race was the cat 4 race, we only had 36 or so in the field. Sneddon, Ben DeMong and Theo were all present for the affair. I am pretty sure that someone put something in Ben's Wheaties that morning, the guy was all over the road. In lap 2, he was off the front solo with a NICE gap. I moved to the front to do my duty and try to give him a chance. Unfortunately, they called a prime on the next lap....Ben held through the prime but was soon swallowed up. I ended up taking a later prime (case of vitamin water, donated to ben due to lack of space in the car). A break formed with Ricardo Otero from SSW and Matt Smith. It seemed pretty dangerous, but I was about 10 deep when they went off, so I was kida caught out. Next time through the start/finish I hear the familiar voice of Ben getting closer instructing me to hop on his wheel. I did so, just as he was flying up the left side of the road. I got up to speed, sat on his wheel for a few seconds and then headed to the break. Ben got back on the front and worked with a Turin guy to try to keep the pack at bay. I got to the brak about 1/2 lap later and was completely gassed. Ricardo was coming off a pull and I opened a gap for him so I could skip a pull (I am not sure he knew I was there yet, so my laziness may have gone unnoticed). With about 1 to go I took my final pull and got gapped, chased, latched on before turn 4 and then witnessed the eventual race winner (a guy from UIC that had won an earlier prime) scream by for the win. I took 5th right in front of DeMong in 6th and Sneddon in 14th. It was cool for a cat 4 break to actually stay away so long and to be part of it...Zabel helped me fold chairs and we headed home, a few more points in the bin and ready for cat 3 (...i hope).

-Tim Keeley

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