Dunne Report: Downers Grove

Downers Grove report, Sat Masters 4-5, Sunday Cat 5 #2

Where do I get my “I survived Downers Grove” T-shirt?
Saturday was a beautiful day, a bit windy and I was hoping for a top 20 placement in the Full field Masters 4-5 in Downtown Downers Grove.
By the time fellow ABD riders Gary Rulo and the Sarge and I entered the course; we were already lined up at the back of the starting field. Gary’s comment “were going to have to do a little work” rang true. ABD rider Paul Zelewsky. was lined up just down the way from us. Together ABD had a good presence. The usual suspects were also in attendance. Tower, XXX and Bike Heaven all had a strong showing in the field.
As the race started, Gary and I moved up and found Paul and started to make good progress up the field. That is until maybe lap # 4. An accident on the uphill in turn 4 collected both Gary and I. Paul managed to just miss THIS wreck. The Sarge passed us asking is we were OK. Both Gary and got up, assessed our damage and moved to the wheel pit for our free lap. We rejoined the pack and continued to hook up with Paul moving into good position. The race itself was not as fast as I expected. Maybe the wind help keep the group together. During each lap between corner 2 & 3 I could hear the ABD faithful cheering us on. With 3 laps to go, the pace picked up between turn 2 and 3. A few attacks were brought back by the group and I could tell that it was going to be a bunch sprint. Paul, Gary and I had made up positions between the downhill turn 5 & 6. We hung tight just around the top 10 and had very good position coming out of turn 8 heading up the start / finish hill. Then about 20 meters before the start /finish, a rider (do not want to name team) pushed through along the barricade. He forced past me and Gary, by as he passed Gary, he hooked a XXX rider (Rob) and they both flipped into the barricade. You know what happened next, 3, yes 3, ABD riders down at once. Luckily everyone seemed OK. (I did hear the next day that a South Shore Wheelman was hurt, but will recover ). The XXX rider’s bike was broken ½. Seeing this, I feel lucky. I managed to remount and finish the 2 laps, but the damage was done. Bottom line is we had a good race going, we all felt strong for the final 2 laps, but as luck would have it was not our day. I had fun; the skid marks on my body will go away and not much damage done to my bike. Although I did not reach my goal of top 20, I can still make a good story about crashing twice in one race.
Sunday Cat 5 #2
More of the same
Lined up 2nd row behind a South Shore Wheelman with fellow ABD rider Jim Lund. Whistle blows and with in 3 seconds I am on the ground again. The guy in front of me falters clipping in and boom, 4 guys ride up my …..back. I replace my chain, remount and chase the field. I manage to catch them around turn 7. I regroup, try and recover and then work on making my way to the front. With 3 laps to go I’m in good position and holding. One lap to go and the front of the field are moving single file through turn 5 & 6. I make a move up to around 5th place between turn 6 & 7. Entering turn 7 faster than any other point of the race, made for some interesting lines through the corner for some riders. The rider to the inside of me bobbled and forced me wider than I wanted making me have to force my way back into the street before that fast approaching outside curb came up and grabbed me. I was pushed back a few spots, but managed to pass a few riders up the finish hill for 8th. .
All in all a fun weekend of racing, Considering my training the last few weeks has included Guinness and only a few days of riding a week, when I was not on the ground, I felt pretty good. I am looking forward to more racing with the Sarge, Gary and Paul.

John Dunne