Superweek Days 7 & 8: Rain, Pain & Return to the top 10

        The last two days the tired legs and minds have started to show at Superweek with eight of racing remaining! Fortunately, the forced off-days due to school and work has helped the ABD/GEARGRINDER riders and in Saturday’s eighth stage in Waukesha Rob White made the break of 13 riders to ultimately finish 8th and return the team to a top ten in the results. Jeff Schroetlin’s strong riding continues as well, as he escaped the field with four laps remaining in the race and held them off as he solo’ed to 14th place.
        The course for Friday’s stage in Ripon features tight turns and two challenging hills, so when the skies opened up it wreaked total havoc on the field. Several riders were dropped or crashed out every single lap, including overall leader Sterling Magnell, who fortunately returned to action on Satruday. ABD/GEARGRINDER rider Brett Stewart was the only finisher from the team, and although he rolled across the line last in the field, he still finished in 29th place!


Prinner Report: Cobb Park & Fox River Grove

Hey everyone,
So now that Ive completely blown off writing my rider reports for three weeks, I have about 8 races I need to recap. Not to worry, though, Im sure nobody in their right mind would actually want to read a report on 8 races all at once (much less write them), so Ill just start with the first three and save your time and sanity.
Cobb Park crit: Saturday June 21
It had been three years since my first encounter with Cobb Park, and the only thing I could really recall from that race was doing the wave on a bench by the lake/river for Mike Farrell as he bridged a gap to the front group in his race. I dont remember if we were trying to encourage him or distract him.
So anyway, the day I arrived in Cobb Park, I discovered two important factors in the case of my races: first, the race was going in the opposite direction than that of three years ago, and second, it was starting to thunderstorm. And so my warm-up for the womens cat. 3/4 race consisted of sitting in the car with my feet up on the dashboard as rain pelted my poor bicycle that was left outside.
Luckily, the rain stopped just before my first race and the sun came out just as all 15 ladies lined up for the womens cat. 3/4 race. The course was really quite simple and I sat at the back for the first few laps and just watched as the ladies battled for front position even though the field was tiny and we still had 40 min of racing left. Throughout the race the announcer called prime after prime and I took every single one of them, including the waterbottles, because I really had nothing else to do. I guess the announcer must have gotten pretty sick of me taking all the primes from the ladies because he finally started calling two place primes at the end of the race. And then the final lap came and I outsprinted the field by several bike-lengths, to take my first victory of the day.
Roughly 45 min. later, I lined up for the womens open race (80 percent of which was made up of 3/4 women who stuck around to make some more money). Two of the women were the same two Albertos ladies that I raced alone with in the Vernon Hills Grand prix. And as if it were a reply of that very race, all three of us ended up riding alone together, and the two of them kept me alert and constantly working to chase down their incessant attacks and counter-attacks. So thats pretty much how it went down. Attack. Counter attack. Attack. Counter attack. By the end of the race I practically had my head craned around backwards staring the other rider down, daring them to attack me one more time. Despite all their efforts and team strategy, though, it still wasnt enough because in the end I won anyway. Victory #2.
Along with medals and prize money, each winner of each race also got a pretty cool picture of a bench in cobb park ( ironically the same bench we did the wave on 3 years ago) and because I won both races I got two identical pictures. I think Ill hang them up next to each other.
Fox River Grove crit: Sunday June 22
Even though I had never done this crit, I knew there was no way I could miss it after hearing it had a giant ski hill that everyone hated. I love hills that people hate. One thing Ive always liked to do as I ascended to the top of these hills is turn and smile at my competitors, because then they hate it even more.
So as I sat on the line with my four other competitors in the womens 1,2,3 race, I didnt worry for a second that I hadnt done a lap on the course, much less even seen the hill. Maybe if I had actually ridden the course I would have known immediately that I had to turn left 50 ft from the start line. But the fact remains that I hadnt ridden the course, so instead of turning left 50 ft. from the line, I went straight. Yup, thats right, I somehow managed to go the wrong way in the first 50 ft. of my race. After being profusely yelled at by the cop standing at the corner (why didnt he tell me before I went straight? Better yet, why didnt anyone put up any friggin barricades?!?!?!?) I pulled a quick u-turn and took the correct left turn (now a right turn) when WHAM! I found myself on this really big hill. Yeah, I found the ski hill. And because it was a really big hill (that everybody hates) I just had to hammer like a mad-women up it, shooting past the entire fi eld (of four women!),opening an instant gap.
Jessis Brain: "Attack! Attack! Ride away! Faster!"
(Makes right hand turn)
Jessis Brain: "Attack! Att….oh god. Wheres the top."
Now because I hadnt ridden the course beforehand, I underestimated the length of the hill, and being the airhead that I am, made a right turn and came to the rough realization that the top was really, really far away. Sometimes I wonder if all I have in my skull is a clump of scrambled eggs. It wouldnt surprise me.
Luckily, fortune and strength were on my side today, and I managed to keep my lead the entire race, finishing about a minute ahead of second place, to take my third victory of the weekend. And thats not the only victory I made either….after the race I had to make a brief speech on the podium, and even though it was exactly stellar, it also wasnt half bad at the same time. And I didnt even use a notecard.
Till next time…