Keeley Report: Whitnall Park

Jay Corgiat and I headed up to Milwaukee Saturday for the Whitnall Park for the hilly crit. It is a never-flat course that has you either going up or down with generally wide turns and a slight downhill finish that comes about 50 meters after the crest of a slight kicker of a hill. It is quite a nice little course. Jay raced the masters 4/5 race with about 10 mins of warm up (we left later than we wanted to head north and the 294 contruction/45 mph work zones greatly reduced our ability to make good time). Jay and Mike McCoy took to the line and raced well. Both were in the top 10 everytime they went by. I did not get a look at the final results of the race.
Jay joined Ben DeMong and self for the Master 3/4 race just an hour later. We planned to stay near the front and either chase down breaks or try to instigate a break every other lap, alternating to keep us fresh. About 2 laps into the race a couple of fellas went off the front. I was sitting 3rd wheel, so stood up to give chase, only to be called off by a hard-charging Ben. He was able to clamp on to the break and rode with it until it was caught a lap later. I decided to try my luck and attacked when the break was within a few meters of the field. I was joined by a gent with a mirror on his helmet (it has been my experience that is a sign of a tt guy-usually). He and I gave it a go, but did not last more than 1/2 lap.

Once reeled in, Ben jumped with another group and they were off and looking quite good, but were pulled in shortly thereafter. Jay took the cue, jumped, created a nice gap, I sat on the head of the pack and tried to avoid the cracks in the pavement that were being created by Dr. Jay’s mad crank (or so he prefers it to be called). Jay was joined by another strong looking rider, but he did not pull through and Jay was on the rivet.

As soon as they were reeled in Luke Seeman (XXX, or "Triple-Ex" as they call it north of the border) and another rider attacked and quickly built a 16 second gap. They looked strong and we did not cut into their time in the next 2 laps. I decided that I felt good enough to try to bridge. I attacked hard from the front of the pack and spent two and a half laps trying to dig into the lead. I was 8 seconds back from them on my second lap of pain, but was not able to make the connection. When it was clear I was not going to catch and there was nobody coming to help from the field, I sat up and attempted to let breakfast creep back down my throat, get my breathing under control and get some form of a game face on before rejoining the pack.

When I did rejoin, I drifted to the back where Jay was waiting to ride me back into the field if need be. He and I spent a lap at the back of the pack, which made him nervous as a kitten ("we should really move up.."; "doesn’t it look better up front"; and "this is not a good place to be" were a few of Jay’s utterances). With 3 to go we began moving up and with 2 to go we were about halfway up the pack with the break still up the road (10 second I believe). Just before the bell lap with one to go, Jay made a mad dash into the wind to move me up, I moved to the front of the pack, he drifted off the front giving a solo effort a go. With about 1/2 lap to go, I found Ben’s wheel which I happily rode into the wind up to about 10th place where I sat on a few really big dude’s wheel waiting for things to ignite. We were about 400m from the line and I felt like I was in a good spot as we finally caught the break. I did not want to commit too early so I stayed patient and waited until the guys up front sprinted before standing (some guy was desperately screamin "go,go, let’s go!" into my ear, at nobody in particular, but everyone knew that sprinting this early would guarantee a low result). Up the final hill we went, the base of which marked a spot that I felt I could sprint through the line from. I stood up and began spinning as hard as I could, jumping out of a Mad-city velo rider’s draft as we neared the crest of the hill. Things were looking good, nobody on my wheel,nobody coming up on us and I was moving quicker than the other two guys that were within a bike of me. We went over the top of the hill and began the downhill to the line. Legs were cashed, had to shift down as I spun out. Physics bedamned, apparently head-to-head a 155lb leprechaun cannot go downhill as fast as a 200 lb man with tats on his calves.

I took second by 1/2 bike, 3rd place was about 3 inches behind me. It was a great race, especially since we had a plan, we executed about as well as we could and delivered a great result.

Ben and I went on and raced the CAT3 race. We had a similar plan to the first race but both decided that we only had one bridge/attack attempt each. If that attack did not net a result, we would stay in the pack for the field sprint as neither of us thought we had the gas to do too much. Neither of our bullets hit the mark in the race, a late break got off and stayed off with 6 riders. Ben tried to lead me out, ran out of steam. I tried to sprint, ran out of steam. Not sure what places we got, but it was good training and again, good teamwork.

Next up, Vernon Hills. Early reports call for rain sunday, rain races are fun.


Keeley Reports: Hillsboro, SuperCrit & Great Dane #2

Hillsboro Report:
Sorry for the delay, I have been struggling with whether to report on races where I do not perform as well as I should so as to avoid the incessant “woulda, shoulda, coulda,” “this chump blocked my wheel” and other negative things that race through your mind as you look to pin your poor performance or lack of fitness on anyone on two wheels that was within a mile said race. So, instead I will happily report that ABD was represented well in the 3/4 race. Jason Addante, Ben DeMong, Chris Karsten, (new CAT 3 squad member and rockstar) Gabe Looker and self took to the line. Weather was nice, wind was not fierce, but would still be a factor. I ended up at the rear at the start and stayed there for the first lap. Bad idea, I paid heavily with several huge bridge efforts that would, after a mere 25 of the 66 miles of the race, be the end of me. I was finally unable to bridge and was quickly joined by Jason. He was able to press on with a Vitaminwater rider and they motored ahead as I struggled. I decided that I needed to get on that or suffer a long lonely ride back. I caught back on, we picked up about a dozen other riders before the end of the 2nd lap, about 8 of which bailed on us at the start/finish. We would pick up about 6 other guys on the last lap and had a nice little battle for the finish. I took no part in it, as I was clinging on all day to our little pack. Jason had the legs to attack the group and finished 3rd in group sprint, taking 38th, I strolled in 15 seconds later for 41st. Gabe Looker would stay with the main field all day and finish 13th overall.

SuperCrit Report:
Supercrit was more of a Super Circuit, but REALLY nice course nonetheless. The turns were fast, the road wide and smooth and the facilities amazing. Raced the Masters 1,2,3 with Ben Demong and the 3/4’s with Ben and Jason Addante.

Masters race was small, only about 30 people took to the start. I knew this might be trouble as I looked around and saw large, angry cat 1 and cat 2 masters racers and lots of wind. Started on the line ( I think the whole field did too since the road was so wide) and stayed near the front for the first lap and a half. The attacks came hot and heavy and (in spite of my strategy to save myself for the 3/4 race next) I attempted to bridge to anything that even resembled a break. With the pack so small and the engines so big, it would take more than a half-baked break attempt to get off. Finally about 1/2 through the race a Lucas Oil rider got off with another rider and they built a 10 second lead, but remained in sight, where they would be for the remainder of the race. I stayed near the front and watched Lucas Oil chase down bridge upon bridge made by each of the 5 Bicycle Heaven riders in the race. It was pretty impressive, but not something that I wanted to get involved in (it looked way too painful). Hung in for the field sprint, thought I was in a good spot to ride some wheels to the front in the final stretch, but a 30 mph tailwind tends to negate the draft. In the 3/4’s there were about 75 riders, lots of firepower from XXX and Vitaminwater, so thought that a break would go and stick. I had incurred a pin about 2/3 or the way through the masters race so had to hit the wheel pit, change wheels and then climb over the retaining wall to the start. As a result, I started in the back of the pack, not too ideal, but ok if no breaks went early. Our loose plan was to be smart and all 3 of us get up to the front and alternate jumping on break attempts. Took me until about 15 minutes into the race to finally get to the top 20 at which time a break was off and running. Basically spent the rest of the race trying to stay near the front for the field sprint. I was second wheel with about a kilo to go and the guy in front of me ran out of steam just in time for the pack to surge around us at about 4mph faster than us. Had a dicey last turn, sprinted to 25th, Jason was 14th (1st place cat 4 in the race-to go with his 2nd in the M4/5 race earlier).

Great Dane #2 Report
Raced Masters 3/4 race and the CAT 3 race. M3/4 was about 40 strong 10 of which were from Brazen Dropouts/Chrono-metro. Seeing that, I knew they would (if they were wise) be active. They took turns attacking in the first 15 minutes, each time getting chased down. One such attempt I ended bridging to, go there, saw that there were 4 of us, 2 of which were from Brazen with about 5 secs on the field. I figured that they had been doing a decent job of moving to the front and fizzling the pack out when they were making break attempts so this could work. I pulled through just in time to hear someone say “never mind, we are getting caught.” Turned and saw 3 guys from their team on the front chasing us down. I made another bridge attempt a few minutes later to a doomed group and decided that I would be wise to sit on for the field sprint and stop chasing anything that twitched. A guy got off solo with 3 to go, built about 15 secs. on us and was caught about 1/2 into the last lap. I was in a poor position moving towards the final, downhill turn into the uphill 200m finish. I decided to put in a big effort to move forward and not cut everyone off in the last turn. Came out of the turn about 10th wheel, sprinted up took 6th. In the CAT 3 race there were about 35 riders. Race began fairly easy for the first 10 minutes and then ramped up. There were several early break attempts. I bridged up to one with an Endeavour rider (I think) just in time for them to sit up and let the field come back. Did the same thing at about the 25 minute mark, bridging with the same rider no less, with the same results. Drifted back to the pack, a break formed of about 7 guys that was about 10 seconds up the road. The pack worked hard to close it down, splitting at one point. About a lap later, we were back together and I leisurely drifted towards and through the front of the pack. I was in the gutter, leaving no room for anyone to draft and noticed that the pack was riding easy on the opposite side of the road. Decided to give it a go, put about 25m on the field by the time I came up near the s/f line (all the while praying for a few tt guys to come help). As I approached the s/f I noticed that 2 riders were about 1/2 across to me and felt a glimmer of hope just in time to hear the prime bell. Sat up, field came back together and worked to the front for the prime. Took 2nd to former ABD’er Alex Bowden in a charge that began too late. A few laps later John Tomlinson from XXX went solo (as he had twice earlier), was quickly joined by a couple of pairs of riders and with 3 to go it was apparent that was the move to be in. It contained 7 riders and nobody in our pack seemed eager to chase as they either had a teammate in the break or were saving themselves for the sprint. I again was in a poor position with 1/2 lap to go, made a hard charge after turn 3 to move up to 5th wheel and reintegrate with the pack prior to the fast turn 4. I sat on a XXX rider’s wheel for about 3 pedal strokes out of the turn, jumped into my 12 and buried my head. I saw that I was shedding people from my wheel and thought I had the field, but was passed about 10m from the line by some rather large, rather fast dude to take 9th overall…in reviewing the finish video (my wife always takes one so that when I tell her I got top 10 in a race she can replay it and show me that I was in fact 45th or whatever), I noticed that the guy who passed me was turning about 120 rpm, myself about 80. Uphill finish I should have made sure I was in a gear I could spin quicker, but lesson learned. I stuck around long enough to see Whites and Andy Skeen tackle the P1/2 race. Within 10 minutes, the field split in 2, all 3 ADB guys on the right end. Within a few more laps about 7 guys had established a break and the field was back together. Andy manning the field, 2 Whites in the break. We stuck around to watch them lap the field, but had to attend a social engagement that evening, so had to read later that the “V” went to Ryan White. Always cool to watch the Geargrinder guys tear up a field! Till next time……

Jim Lund Report: Sugar Grove TT

Yesiree. After getting only about 4 hours of sleep and waking late, I left my house and hooked up with Rob Kosman. Together we rode over to registration. I was hoping to do the loop once for additional warm up, but by the time I finished buying a USCF license, and crossed route 47 over to the start/finish line in the industrial park where the start/ finish was, it was just about time for me to go. I figured I could warm up a bit more for the first few miles of the TT since it was 30K. Heading out of the start finish, we faced North/West, into the wind, but quickly rounded left through the advertised “sweeping” 180 degree turn and heading South with a slight downhill ( and through some glass )toward the first right hand turn that takes you out of the industrial park and onto Westbound Wheeler road. I settled in at around 24 mph and held that until the next right turn onto Dugan road, where I headed straight into a lovely West/NorthWest side wind. Here I slowed to about 22 MPH. About three quarters of a mile up the road was a right turn onto Scott road heading me East, with a nice tail wind and I was able to get the pace back up to 25 MPH or so. I held that pace for about a mile, until the left turn on Harter road. I felt fine until I hit the first slight rise in the road and that’s where I started to fall apart, and got passed by my minute man Chris Mosora of Lucas Oil. I slowed down to around 16 MPH and just recovered enough for the left turn onto Lasher road heading West into a lovely headwind. I managed to stay tucked down and keep the speed between 22 and 24 MPH until another rise in the road where I died yet again. This cycle continued for me as I drove West into the headwind. Finally when I got to Swan road and headed South I was able to recover enough to get the pace back up to around 26 mph ( now, thank God for that Northwesterly wind I was cursing while heading into it). From Swan road, I cut the apex of the left turn onto Scott road Eastbound and almost felt like I was going to go down ( not sure why it felt this way, maybe just they way the road dips there) Got it up to around 24 MPH heading East for a very short piece, before turning Right and heading South on Davis road, where again the tail wind helped me get the pace back up to around 26 MPH. A short distance South on Davis to the left turn onto Wheeler road heading me East again, and at this point I was pretty much able to keep that pace ( 26 mph ) almost the rest of the way back down Wheeler, and most of the way back to the finish line. All said and done, I haven’t seen the official result, but I came in around 50 minutes or so. The cycle of getting into a rythym, then dieing, recovering, really hurt my effort, but it was good training and shows me just how much work I need to do. BTW I thought I was humming along quite nicely in the sections with tail winds only to be passed by Bob Burke ( 50+ rider ) near the end, and also found out talking with Cory Hickman after the race, that he was going 36 MPH on Wheeler, where I was going 26 MPH. Very demoralizing. And then of course there’s the ageless Supermench Tom, “BIG T” Doughty, out there for two races, who I heard did the TT in around 40 minutes. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did Cherry Valley first ( twice ) and then hit this race on his way home. I’ll have to call him and ask him. Rob Kosman said he did around the same time as me.


Alumni Report: Sarah Tillotson from China

Ni Hao! (What’s up in Chinese)

Alright, so as many of you know I am visiting China right now with a bike team doing the Tour of Chongming Island. We have been in over here since Sunday staying in Hong Kong before flying into Shanghai. As with any new travel experience the first few days are such a sensory overload. From sun up to bedtime every minute of the day is full of new sights, sounds and tastes. The older you get (and I just turned another year older while being here) the more fun the foreign is. Just when you think you have the world all figured out try immersing yourself in a totally new culture to totally baffle you. Better yet, try traveling in intimate quarters with a bunch of total strangers while everyone deals with the challenges and delights of a foreign country. Trust me, that really shakes things up.

Our first couple days in Hong Kong were lovely. Our team sponsor for this race is a man named Louis Shih who is the owner of a large bike clothes company called Champion Systems (love their clothes by the way). He lives in Hong Kong and made sure that we were well situated there. Hong Kong is a lush, tropical, group of mountainous island. It’s both rural and urban, sophisticated and traditional, I would move here in an instant if life allowed it. As a former British colony there is a lot of English spoken and the various races and ethnicities seem to live in total harmony. There is almost no crime in Hong Kong and must do with the very high standard of living that almost all of its citizens enjoy.

We stayed in a funny little sports complex outside a country park (like a National Park) which was an expansive swath of land along a chain of bodies of water that was part reservoir, inlet, and coast. The riding was gorgeous if not somewhat illegal. All the cool scenic rides we did were all down very narrow one way roads that were off limits to bikes. The first day we came upon a very old cemetery that could only be accesse! d by cli mbing up a steep overgrown embankment which we did in our bike shoes. The burial site was unlike anything in the States. All ashes were kept in urns in either cubicle compartments or these ornate stage-like things. The next day we rode past a reservoir and down to the ocean. There was a seaward wall constructed of these larger than life concrete jacks all fitted into one another. We rode along the inside of the jack wall and it made for a very surreal landscape.

In one day we had breakfast that consisted of hotdogs, macaroni soup, and McDonalds style hash browns and dinner at a fishing village restaurant where there were 50 or so tanks of every imaginable live sea creature that we, the diners picked from. The lobster, sea cucumber, starfish, scallop, eel or what have you was scooped up by an employee, put into a plastic bag and delivered to the kitchen for cooking while we patiently waited at the table. My chopstick skills are becoming much better as the week passes and I have yet to see a fork.

Yesterday we flew into Shanghai, a two hour flight, that actually resulted in about 12 hours of travel. Famous last words spoken by our director before embarking, ‘ travel never goes smoothly in China. Something always manages to complicate it’. Suffice it to say, things got complicated. At one point I broke down into one of those laugh/cries where you don’t know if you are crying because it’s so funny or ridiculous or hopeless or exhausting or all the aforementioned. Thank goodness that day has passed and things have stabilized. The race starts tomorrow. We rode the TT course and all seems to be running smoothly. The structure of the bike race is almost a welcomed reprieve from the wonderful upheaval of the last several days.

I will update again shortly but wanted to let you know a little bit of how the race experience in China has gone thus far. Another side note and possible topic of the next email: one of the girls on my team is trying to earn points to! go the Olympics at this race while another woman on the team just confided that she may have a cancerous tumor in her neck. (She had thyroid cancer a year ago and discovered this new lump before coming here but is waiting to have it removed because either way she wanted to come on this trip cancer be damned). As you can see there are many forces at play both macro and micro-ah, the joys of bike racing!

Talk to you soon,


LaRue Report: Paris Roubaix Tour


Nancy and I got back from Roubaix. Man what an experience. We rode the last 115k of the course. We left from the hotel in Valenciennes and rode 5 miles to the famous pavê section Arenberg forest. This is rated as a 5 star (the highest rating). It felt more like a 9.9 on the Richter scale. We then rode several other sections of Pavê until we reached section 5 which was about 8k of cobbles another section of 5 star. I got about halfway th rough and wanted to start crying. I had to look down at my arms because I thought they were on fire and ready to shake off. I know everyone thinks that they should go to the Tour de France but this was the neatest tour we have done. If you get a chance this would be worth doing. I would make it a week of classics starting with Flanders,Gent-Wevelgem, then the queen Roubaix. I thought that cyclist at this level were great but after this I think they’re gods. That was one of the toughest ride I can remember in a long time. Of course you know my memory is short.

Well the next stop is the Giro in 4 weeks. I will send out a LaRue report then.


Gina Kenny Report: Hillsboro Roubaix

Wow. Not only has Jessi’s riding improved, bringining her to “prominent name” status, her race reports have improved as well. Thanks for the entertaining read! = )

As for the Women’s 4’s race– We actually had nearly 50 starters. Pretty unbelievable. Pretty soon into the race, there was a crash — I heard some loose gravel but didn’t see it. I just all of a sudden saw girls going down everywhere. I was far enough back that I was able to break before adding to the pile but was right smack in the middle of a row and couldn’t get to either the left or right. I couldn’t latch back on to the group. I passed some girls and worked with some others for most of the race. I’m still slow as heck on the hills but do seem to be improving — even passing a few girls! = ) Dawn was able to get around the tangle of girls and bikes quicker than I was but she, unfortunately, ended up spending the majority of the race riding by herself which had to suck with those windy sections. Myself and three other girls were working together until the last hill, two passed me, I passed one. The two that passed me slowed way down for the cobblestones so I barreled past them and finally caught up to Dawn. She latched on and passed me right before the finish line making her 24th and me 25th.


Jessi's Hillsboro Report

My trip down to Hillsboro indeed brought back many interesting memories. I could again envision myself age thirteen laying by the side of the road getting a back rub from my mother just 10 miles from the finish line, crying tears of pain as all the cat 4 women I had worked so hard to drop slowly passed me again. Another image, a year later, of a dark, dreary, freezing wet day shivering at the start line with 20 other juniors (I was the lone girl of course) and riding by myself for hour after hour after being popped from the pack.

All these past memories of the hilly road race only left me in a quandary at what today’s fresh, new Hillsboro experience might bring.

The day started at chilly low temperatures, and after circling the small loop in town twice I was forced to resort to jumping jacks as a final desperate attempt at a warm-up. This year was the first year I would be riding with the big girls, the catty 1,2,3s, and I wanted to prove myself as a persevering rider with greater potential than they could have ever though possible. As of this moment, I just looked like a scrappy teenager doing jumping jacks in the middle of the road.

As I looked around, I calculated my chances of victory. If there are 30 riders in a bike race and one rider is dropped per mile for 44 miles, what is the probability of Jessi winning the bike race? I’ll give a free powerbar to anyone who can figure that one out.

Today’s race would definitely be no cup of tea; just looking around I could spot prominent names of some of the most ruthless women in the Midwest. Sure, I’d competed against a few of these strong women here and there, but today it was as if the Prominent Name Convention had come to town and every single prominent name in the Midwest decided to show up.

I was still yapping my trap off to Sue as the starter whistle blew, and I scrambled to get my feet clipped in as the race began. It only took about 4 miles into the race for the attacks to begin; I guess Prominent Names don’t like to stay together that often. None of the attacks lasted longer than a minute, or gained more than a few feet. For the first time in my life I used my brain, and figured that if the Prominent Names’ attacks weren’t working, than mine probably wouldn’t either, so I became a wheelsucker for most of the first lap.

You know the saying "When the going gets tough, the tough get going"? It goes something like that. Well, the same applied for this race. The race soon turned into Café Ride Gone Wild with attack groups catapulting themselves at every opportunity. Everyone knew this was the moment of truth: this was the decisive moment of who would make the break and who would get whisked out into the empty cornfields of Illinois, forced to take the scraps left behind after the riders up the road got first dibs on podium. The terrain turned to a grade steep enough to deliver the final blow needed to splinter the pack. Just seven of us came out together. And I was one of them.

The paceline began immediately, all of us working together swiftly and efficiently to insure no stragglers clawed their way back on. I could name every face in the pack and match at least one first place victory with each face as well (except one gal from St. Louis).

The race continued on this way for the rest of the first lap and the entirety of the second lap. Near the end of the second lap, another lady somehow conjured up the Herculean effort to ride herself back into our group, increasing the number to eight. After so many miles of such brutal pacelining, I was beginning to fatigue, and each hill I would fall back farther and farther.

Finally, as the last hill loomed overhead, I scraped together what little power remained from the far reaches of my being, and stood up in a mad frenzy to just stay in contact with the other riders in the group, knowing there was just one mile to the finish line. It was to no avail, though, because I quickly became gapped by five who hammered their way out of my reaches up the road. My mind momentarily flickered with disappointment because there were only five paying places in the race, and it was disheartening to ride 44 fierce miles only to finish just out of money range. I still continued my relentless struggle up the hill with the other two dropped women, never abandoning hope of some miracle.

And then, as if God himself had answered my prayers, the most amazing and spectacle of the twenty-first century occurred right before my scrappy little eyes. One of the ladies dropped her chain. And then there were four little Indians. I ascended the top of the hill and shook my legs out as I scorched down the descent into the cobbles. I paced myself with the other two women, barely noticing the battering cobbles jarring my teeth, knowing I was clinging to my last chance at a podium finish. The final turn came and I sat patiently behind in third position, knowing how long the final straight was. Lady 1 and Lady 2 slowly ramped it up, eyeing each other side by side. As the pace quickened and they started to sprint, I got boxed in as Lady 1 sat in front of me with the curb to my left and Lady 2 to my right. It was not exactly the ideal situation in the final moments of a race, but I slowly backed off and kicked it into high gear as I sprinted around both of them sliding right into 5th place.

And with that I think it’s safe to say that in the course of just 3 hours the once scrappy teenager doing jumping jacks in the middle of the road has just graduated to the title of Prominent Name.

Until next week…

-Prominent Name

(Jessi Prinner)