Prinner Report: Quad Cities (and Not So Radio-Ready)

Hello ABD,
        Even though school has gotten pretty crazy in the past two weeks, I still managed to find time to travel to the Quad cities, and then Nashville Tennessee for some major hard-core racing.  I’d like nothing more right now than to just sit and vegg out since I only have two days of school left, but I figure these reports are too important to hold out on any longer.

        Two weeks ago I hopped a ride with Sue to drive down to race the infamous Melon City and Quad City criteriums.  I was really looking forward to upping my results for this weekend since the best I’ve ever done was top twenty, and even then that was only when I wasn’t busy crashing myself out on every available corner.  The field was just as tough as ever with several pro-elite teams scattered throughout.  Meredith Miller from team TIBCO was there, as well as Amanda Mill from team Lipsmackers.  I also noticed how many of the teams had radios strapped to their ears, and thought about how cool it would be if Sue and I had earphones like that.

Jessi Prinner speaks into radio, “Pssst, Sue, are you there?”

Sue: “Yeah, I’m here”

Jessi:  “Sue, I’m riding about five riders back on the left.  Now I just move up one spot.  Now I just blew my nose.  The lady next to me has some really cute gloves.”

Sue: “Jessi…”

Jessi: “Oh no!  This lady just cut me off.  Okay, now I’m turning…”

Sue: “Jessi…”

Jessi: “Alright, I’m still on the left, about four riders back now.  Someone drew a smiley face on the road…oh wait, maybe it’s a frowney face…”

Sue: “Jessi!”

Jessi: “What?”

Sue “I’m right next to you”

Jessi: “Oh, right.  Oh!  You’re the one with the cute gloves!”

No, now that I think of it, that wouldn’t work out.  Sue and I would probably just end up talking about the weather and telling each other “Knock knock” jokes when we really should be focused on racing. 

        Anyway, the race was a total of fourteen laps, which may not seem like much on paper, and wouldn’t be if the course was flat, but fourteen laps sure seemed like plenty by the end of the race.  Everyone, of course, attacked on the hill, and I even managed to get a small break going with three other riders for one hopeful moment.  Nothing got far, though, and the move was shut down within half a lap, as it was too easy for the field to gain ground on the downhill.  The course itself is unique in the fact that it has a weird shape that squiggles through a park, with a steep, fast downhill, (at the bottom of which lies a speedbump) followed by a steep, slow uphill.  From past years I learned that the first rider to the top of that hill on the last lap is almost guaranteed victory, because by that time everyone is so gassed that an actual sprint is almost nonexistent.   So my plan was to be first up that hill.  It’s too bad about 30 other riders had the same plan in mind, because by the time the last lap came around, everyone was gunning for the front, and one rider (Meredith Miller from TIBCO) already had a significant gap up the road.  So the rider mentioned ended up winning the race, while I got neatly boxed in on the left with my last time up the hill.  Pooling together everything I had, I used my sprint to loop and dodge around a minefield of scattered riders, all jockeying for position towards the top, and finished with a respectable 8th place.

        The next day I crossed over the Mississippi River into Rock Island to race the infamous Quad cities criterium, also known as “Rage in the Cage”.  The skies looked threatening, and for a while the forecast predicted thunderstorms for my race, but by the time my start time arrived, the clouds were looking less bleak, almost as if they decided to stop crying for a while to watch the Pro women 1,2,3s race.  From the moment the whistle was blown, the race took off in a frenzy of attacks and counterattacks.  Team Lipsmackers coordinated their moves well, one right after the other.  I made sure to stay positioned near the front to be ready in case any major breaks developed, and tried several failed attacks before one break finally stuck.  The group consisted of six heavy-hitters, including Meredith Miller, Amanda Miller, Catherine Walberg, Kristen Meshberg, and Toni Bradshaw.  This power group consisted of the right recipe for success, and each of us pulled through consistently and worked together like a well-oiled machine.   At first, I thought the break wouldn’t survive seeing as though it was only halfway through the race, and our gap lingered at about 20 seconds for a few laps.  Then, Meredith Miller took a crazy strong pull for about half a lap and our gap instantly increased, and it was all uphill from there.  By the end, we were roughly half a lap ahead of the field, and as we rolled by the center barriers I could peer over the spectators and see the actual pack rolling by as we rolled by.  I could probably have thrown a waterbottle to one of them they were so close. 

        With under ten laps to go Meredith Miller began her brutal attacks that tore apart our breakaway, but none of them actually succeeded.  With just two laps to go, we were all together, and as well rolled though start-finish, a gambler’s prime was called for $60 on the next lap.  It’s no coincidence they call these primes “gambler primes”, because in order to win one you have to sprint on the bell lap, which is risky considering you could get gassed with just one lap to go.  I took this risk into consideration during the whole 2nd to last lap, and debated the worthiness of the risk.  But hey, $60 is a lot of money to a junior like me.  I thought of all the things I could buy with that money; a pair of shoes, a helmet that was on a super good sale(not that I would need one or anything), a hamster, a pair of head phones, 60 songs on iTunes, 60 snickers candybars, an iPod stereo that I could turn up really loud…the possibilities are endless.  So, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I went for the gambler’s prime.  I really don’t think anyone else even tried for it, because when I looked back, I had a huge gap between the break and me.  And then I thought:

Gap + 1 lap to go = VICTORY!

So I floored the gas pedal and figured, “Hey, I already took one risk today, might as well take them all!” For almost an entire lap, the gap stayed, and just as I rounded the second to last corner, the group came roaring by me with Meredith Miller winding up her sprint and Kristen Meshberg hot on her wheel.  Meredith took the sprint, and I, feeling like dog chow, took fifth place.  Not bad, though, considering I stepped up from 18th, to 5th in one year, a huge jump considering the size and strength of these races.  Not only that, but I made podium as I was awarded the “Most Aggressive Rider Award” for burying myself at the end, and got an interview with some radio announcer (he was taping my voice, so I’m worried parts it might show up on the radio).  Overall, I’d say Memorial Day weekend was a success, and definitely one I’m adding to my race resume.

That’s all for now…
-Jessi Prinner

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