- » Podium Insight catches up with Hinsdale native Chad Hartley (Kenda): “I’m right back to where I was and I think I’m just a little more polished and efficient in the tactics department.”
» EMC2 catches up with a local media personality. “When only dentists and lawyers can afford bike racing, only dentists and lawyers will race bikes
Photo by Luke Seemann
Weekend wrap-up: April 24-25
Some local highlights from the weekend's racing in Wisconsin and Iowa:
- » Karl Schult (Capital Bicycle Racing Club) is off to a great start this season. After the 3's field split in two at a damp and cold Whitnall Park in Hales Corner, Wis., (photo above) Schult and Brandon Meinke (Team Pegasus) maintained the slimmest of gaps for the last lap and a half; Schult took the win after a tough uphill sprint. The next day in Fitchburg, Wis., he finished 2nd in the 35+ 3/4's and 5th in the 35+ 1/2/3's. Previously he won the 3's at Joliet and came in 2nd at Hillsboro-Roubaix.
» Having missed that separation at Whitnall Park, Ben LaForce (ReCycling) had to settle for winning the field sprint. The next day he made up for it by winning the 3's race in Fitchburg, the first victory in ReCycling debut season.
» Glenview's Kaleb Koch (ISCorp) had a pretty good weekend, too. Saturday he won the 4/5's and got 3rd in the juniors 15-18. On Sunday he headed to Iowa City, Iowa, for the Old Capitol Criterium, where he was the top 13-14 junior and 4th junior overall in a race won by teammate James Bird of Kenilworth. He wasn't done yet, going on to place 3rd in the 4's.
» That 4's race was won by Patryk Limanowicz (XXX Racing-AthletiCo), who also won Saturday's road race in Iowa. He's storming through the 4's: Those are the 9th and 10th races he has won since starting as a 5 just seven weeks ago.
» Nice results from Flatlandia: Kim Gialdini won the bunch sprint in the women's 4's at Whitnall Park, and Kristen Meshberg placed 4th and 3rd in the women's P/1/2/3 in Iowa.
» Bicycle Heaven swept Iowa's 5's races. Justin Somerville and Eric Christ came in 1st and 3rd on Saturday, then 3rd and 1st on Sunday.
Saturday results Whitnall Park Iowa City Road Race
Sunday results Fitchburg Old Capitol Criterium
Whinall Park reports Chicago Cuttin' Crew (4, W-P/1/2/3): "The candelabra caretaker decided the best way to stay out of trouble was to drag the field around."
Kim Gialdini (Flatlandia; W-4): "The others where tiring! Ding, ding, ding! Time to hit it."
Josh Hughes (Half Acre Cycling; 4): "I could feel the energy sapping out of me as we completed the last few laps."
Luke Seemann (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; 35+ 1/2/3, P/1/2/3): "I haven’t ridden against such a prestigious kit since my days in the 5’s racing against U.S. Postal and Pink Floyd."
Andrew Zens (Spidermonkey Cycling; 4): "Last lap, time to HTFU."
Whinall Park photos John Wilke
Iowa City reports Kristen Meshberg (Flatlandia; P/1/2/3): "There were also some other really strong women in the field so there was some good competition even if we didn't have big numbers."
Steve Tilford (TradeWind Energy/Trek Stores; P/1/2): "Probably close to more jumps than I’ve done the whole season combined."
This weekend’s races: May 1-2
Several good options for racing this weekend, with road races on Saturday and criteriums on Sunday.Not far away in Indiana, the Fat & Skinny Tire Festival has a road race Saturday afternoon on a hilly, 8.8-mile course. The next day is a fast, oval criterium, and there's a discount for racing both days. Saturday's Circuit of Sauk near Baraboo, Wis., is a long haul but I've always found it to be worth the trip. Each of its scenic, 15-mile laps throws two challenging climbs at us. They aren’t particularly long, but they are steep, especially for urban flatlanders such as ourselves, and they are more than capable of shattering fields and popping riders off the back. Crosswinds can also be pivotal. The first climb is harder because after a short reprieve the road continues to pitch upward. The second climb, on the other hand, is followed by a long, windy but safe descent that can give some riders a chance to catch back on if they’ve been dropped. Two tips for these climbs: Switch to your small chainring before you start going up. Wait too long and you risk dropping your chain. Second, keep your head up and mind what the riders ahead of you are doing. Many will start to do the “paperboy weave” as they crack, and others will drift backward as they rise out of the saddle. This is not a time to worry about the draft. Find a lane and don’t let anyone disrupt your rhythm. The final stretch to the finish line is longer than you think and has a false flat. The sprint will reward the patient. Sunday's Vernon Hills crit is a milelong, mostly flat circuit with gentle corners. It's in an exposed park so wind can be a factor. Note that the Cat 5 field is filled via pre-registration. Also close to Chicago is an ABR criterium in Kenosha, Wis.
Kenosha Business Park Criterium ABR criterium Kenosha, Wis. Distance from Chicago: 1 hour
Wednesday night crits
ABD this week starts a series of Wednesday night training criteriums in West Chicago, using a loop last used for October's Fall Fling. To add to the fun and keep riders on their toes, some of the races may employ some track formats, such as points races and unknown-distance races. Like Matteson, this looks like a good opportunity to hone skills and ride at race intensity.Also starting Wednesday is the Women's Cycling Series, a series of clinics hosted by Alberto's. Finally, the popular Soldier Field Cycling series appears close to announcing the 2010 schedule, which I understand will return to the same location but with fewer dates this summer.
- » Vernon Hills Grand Prix registration is open. The 5's field looks like it will fill.
» Fliers are available for Wisconsin races through May 22. Many offer pre-registration, either through Bikereg or SportsBaseOnline. The road races don't usually fill, but I recommend 4's and 5's pre-register for the crits.
» Some tweaks in Champaign-Urbana: The May 22 Tour of Champaign criterium is moving from downtown Champaign to the iHotel course used for the Sunday race 2009. The race for Sunday, May 23, will be in Urbana and be named the Illinois Cup Urbana Grand Prix. The schedule will remain the same.
» M&M Cyclery in Mundelein will start a women's ride May 6. The no-drop ride will leave at 10 a.m. from the shop at 734 S. Butterfield Rd. Road and hybrid bikes only.
» Northbrook Velodrome race directors Val Brostrom (Bouledogue Tout Noir) and Josh Ryan (Bouledogue Tout Noir) are hosting a Madison clinic May 9. Brostrom also reports that Monday and Tuesday clinics will start April 26 at 6:30 p.m.
» Last year he rode for ISCorps and won climber's races like La Rue-Denzer-La Rue and Blue Mounds. Now Matt Busche rides for RadioShack and Sunday will compete in his biggest race so far, Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The question is: Will he finish in the top 100?
» Lemont's Christian VandeVelde (Garmin-Transitions) is expected to race Sunday, too.
This weekend’s races: April 24-25
After a one-year absence, one of my favorite criteriums of the Wisconsin calendar returns Saturday with the Whitnall Park Spring Classic near Milwaukee.The course is in the same park that Superweek has used for a circuit race, but it's a shorter loop on the west side. Each lap begins with a long descent with a sweeping right turn at the bottom. After enjoying the 1.1-mile course‘s only flat section, we turn right and head up three big-ring stairsteps that total 80 feet of climbing. At the top of the last step is the finish line, which in the past has been used for King of the Hill contests. The flier does not indicate whether that will be the case this year. The course is one that lends itself nicely to breaks, thanks to the difficulty of the climb and the potential to get out of sight. Here's video from 2008. The WCA reports that neighbors have complained about rider indecency, so please, be decent. Don't jeopardize the race because you're too lazy to find a proper bathroom. Sunday's criterium in Fitchburg, Wis., is a bit farther away but also features a hill on one of its sides. I believe this is a new course.
Sunday Fitchburg Fast & Furious Criterium USAC criterium Fitchburg, Wis. Distance from Chicago: 2.5 hours
Photo by Rom Ramondong
Leland Kermesse wrap-up
Maybe wider tires would have been a good idea after all?Lower-category racers have clamored for longer, harder road races, and Saturday's Leland Kermesse delivered in spades. Dozens of riders fell victim to the serpentine hiss of a pinch flat. Those that didn't still had to stay upright through the soupy gravel and amidst the chaos of fallen riders, no different from the pro peloton trying to navigate the Koppenberg. "Take turns slow," Flatlandia's entertaining FAQ warned before the course. "Especially on the gravel. Nothing is slower than crashing." More than one rider found that out the hard way, including Jacques Launer (XXX Racing-AthletiCo), as captured here. He would be OK and finish in the top half of the 5's. Teammate William Pankonin managed to eat gravel twice and still finish 8th in the 4's. The award for persistence may go to Tony Rienks (Beverly Bike/Vee-Pak), who finished 21st despite a crash that took a big bite out of his arm. After the race he'd head to the hospital for six stitches in an injury that he described as "hamburger." And for anyone who survived those two challenges, there was still the matter of the wind, which defied early forecasts and like the mighty Kraken rose up to smite all comers. No surprise, then, than the P/1/2/3 race had more DNF's than F's. Indeed, every field was destined to blow up. Within a few miles of the P/1/2/3 race, Verizon u25 set explosives of its own when Ryan Freund and John Meyers went down the road
Race reports Dan Andrews (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; 5): "I was here to race and finish this bloody thing is what I did."
Stephen Butler (Wheelfast; 4): "The gravel seemed to last forever."
Tamara Fraser (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; W-4): "My endorphins were having a party in my brain and I was filled with sentimental appreciation for my breakmates."
Ryan Freund (Verizon u25; P/1/2/3): "John wanted to put everyone in the gutter from the gun, Steve thought we should wait a lap, and I really didn’t care."
Tyler George (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; P/1/2/3): "Last of those who finished. A fighter's position."
Arron Hampton (Psimet; 5): "I have never seen riders fall down so slowly. It was funny and it was not funny."
Chris Jensen (Half Acre Cycling; 4): "It was not only one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but one of the most awesome as well."
Dana Maglaris (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; W-4): "I gave it a huge effort to stay with the 1/2/3’s, who were attacking like crazy."
Kristen Meshberg (Flatlandia; W-P/1/2/3): "She took off on the first thick gravel section and I was terrified but forced myself to stay on her wheel."
Avi Neurohr (Chicago Cuttin' Crew; 4): "I soldiered on."
William Pankonin (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; 4): "From the back, you could tell which riders were shelled. Broken legs swerved all over the road."
Brian Parker (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; 4): "You need to do this race next year, it is that good. Can I preregister now, for next year?"
Ben Popper (Half Acre Cycling; 4): " It was such a great feeling, floating down the road. When we turned back onto the pavement, there were only five of us."
Ted Ramos (Iron Cycles; 4): "The first two laps were so hard I thought I could blow up at any time."
Jannette Rho (Chicago Cuttin' Crew; W-P/1/2/3): "You had to be strong to survive the winds and skilled to make it through the gravel."
Tony Rienks (Beverly Bike/Vee-Pak; 4): "I jump back onto the bike, not wanting my day to be over so soon."
Joe Schubert (Super Ape; 4): "At least I beat my 5-minute."
Mark Swartzendruber (Verizon Wireless; 40+): " I lost all concentration of the task at hand, being to crush him into the aggregate on the dirt roads."
Verizon u25 (P/1/2/3): "Meyers also said they spent most of the race bickering as they were completely on the rivet."
Bryan Witry (Spidermonkey Cycling; 4): "Three hours in the saddle is a long time. I loved every second of it."
Photos John Firak Gavin Gould Rom Ramondong David Tzau
- » Registration is open for your last two chances to race within the city: May 15's Monsters of the Midway and June 12's Sherman Park Criterium.
» A timely reminder from Wisconsin: Mind your privates, please.
» Masters natz race schedule is out.
» Joe Kallo (Team Tati) has designed Chainvetica, an iPhone app to calculate gear inches. Coming from a Tati rider, it is naturally orange and stylish.
» Cyclocross as fashion.
» Jim Saplis (Team Apache) is raising money to fight cancer.
» Why does the Bike Snob hate Chicago?
Photo by Luke Seemann
It's somewhat demoralizing to pop halfway through a race, doubly so to then read reports of how slow the first half of said race had been.Such was my P/1/2 experience at Saturday's Hillsboro-Roubaix. After a fidgety first 45 miles, attacks started in earnest midway through the second lap. A small group was finally able to get free and put together a gap of four minutes, but a breakneck pace brought them back by the end, splitting the field in the process but still leading to one of the largest P/1/2 sprints in Hillsboro history. In that sprint Ohio's Team Panther had total control, putting together a leadout that not only made Chris Uberti's win look easy but bagged 3rd- and 4th-place finishes as well. Here's interesting video from Dave Henderson (Columbia Bike Club) that shows the last 8 minutes of that race. Kristen Meshberg (Flatlandia) was the top Chicago-area finisher in the women's P/1/2/3's, placing 4th in the field sprint and 8th overall. After the first seven women declined the invitation to the prestigious Nature Valley Grand Prix, however, the golden ticket fell to Meshberg, who happily accepted. Looks like about a dozen women 4's entered town together, but it was Stacy Appelwick (Bouledogue Tout Noir) who got over the masonry first, taking victory by a few seconds. Christina Peck (Chicago Cuttin' Crew) was the next Chicago finisher in 4th. Proctor Cycling had a good day. Brett Bohanan won the 5's, and then Dan Damotte was part of a threesome that got a gap over the bricks in the final approach of the 3's. He won the ensuing drag race against Karl Schult (CBRC) and Bryan Rheude (Comma-Van Wagner), the latter of whom was racing for the first time since a season-ending cyclocross injury. As I'd expected, the 4's field was in shambles by the end. I've heard tell of many heat-related cramps and a handful of crashes, including one mishap in the feed zone when, against my advice, someone tried to grab not one but two bottles and wound up up close and personal with the spectators. Two riders were able to stay away and finish almost two minutes up, with John Whipple (Team Tati) demonstrating the strongest engine. With a whoop he rolled in more than 20 seconds ahead of Tim Speciale (Psimet). To my recollection that is the biggest win in Tati's short history, and the brick for 2nd place isn't a shabby scalp for the new Psimet squad. The gentlemen of Verizon Wireless had their way with the 40+ race. A break of about a dozen had been whittled to just four down the homestretch, with Dave Stone (Verizon Wireless) and Mark Swartzendruber (Verizon Wireless) going 1-2. Behind them, their teammate Chris Mosora beat Randy Warren (XXX Racing-AthletiCo) for 5th. A minute and a half later, Downers Grove's Doug Braun (Tower Racing) narrowly won the field sprint for 7th. Team Mack also showed well, getting two of the top five in the 50+ and a 4th in the 40+. I've come across little criticism of the new course. The P/1/2 men finished on the heels of the W-P/1/2/3 women, but I know of no overlapped fields, so in that regard the extension and new schedule worked as intended. The narrow roads, however, once again proved problematic in nearly every race, especially with any right-to-left crosswind. Moto-refs are always nice to have, but enforcement remained spotty. A handful of riders were disqualified for violating the centerline, but many of those were unaware of it until after the finish, robbing the DQ's of their power of deterrence. There are two issues here: One is fundamental fairness. Any rider who tries to hew to the right is going to quickly himself at the back and eventually off the back. But far more important is the issue of safety. When we're splayed across the road and riding blindly over rollers, we court disaster should a vehicle approach from the other side of the climb. There's chatter of road closures in the future. I know it would require considerable expense, difficult logistics and tremendous help from an already accommodating Montgomery County, but for the sake of the race
Hillsboro reports Bill Barnes (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; 5): "I was still feeling good
Rob Curtis (Psimet; 4): "It took forever to make my way back through the pack and then they hung out in front of me like a carrot for a while."
Dan Damotte (Proctor Cycling; 3): "It was pretty crazy. Can’t believe that it actually happened."
Natalie Evans (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; W-4): "I’ve never been so happy to see cobbles, knowing I was almost finished suffering."
Tamara Fraser (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; W-P/1/2/3): "This is a RACE. No one gets a free ride to the finish line."
Arron Hampton (Psimet; 5): "Shift, jump, check bottles, grab his wheel and I am bombing the descent."
Dave Henderson (Columbia Bike Club; P/1/2): "This race should either have a rolling enclosure or not be held at all."
Kristen Meshberg (Flatlandia; W-P/1/2/3): "I'm going to Nature Valley this year!!!"
Avi Neurohr (Chicago Cuttin' Crew; 4): "Disappointing results were softened by a five-hour bus ride with Stag beer, several thousand calories and being smushed on a couch with 13 stinky friends, trading stories."
William Pankonin (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; 4): "I was now all over the front, trying to get some kind of chase organized to bring 'em back. Nothing doin'."
Peloton Star: "At the same time he was also swerving to miss the women who were finishing their race, as well as spectators jamming the road trying to get a good view of the action."
Jeff Perkins (Chicago Cuttin' Crew; 4): "Then we hit the hill before the cobbles and everything went to hell."
Rob Ragfield (Wild Card Cycling; 4): "I baked in the sun the whole second lap. I was out of water, thirsty, tired, miserable."
Jared Rogers (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; 4): "It was at the feed zone that I made my only mistake of the race, and it would prove to be a fatal one."
Jamie Sanchez (Half Acre Cycling; 5): "I don’t really know how to describe how it is riding on those bricks when you have almost absolutely nothing left."
Jonathan Schottler (Columbia Bike Club; P/1/2): "It seemed like everyone was day dreaming of a victory as they continuously slammed on their brakes and flew off into ditches."
Joe Schubert (Super Ape; 4): "I would take them all down the line even if it was for 50th or 60th place."
Darren Sherkat (Team Mack; 40+): "The 40+ race was quite a slugfest, and we were putting in some serious blows."
Hogan Sills (Verizon u25; P/1/2): "I had to work my tail off jumping around guys who left gaps, and with a strong pull helped bring back a good sized group of riders to the main field."
Joe Tortorelli (Verizon Wireless; 3): "So it came down to the last climbs into the city."
Team Tati (4, 5): "We're rebuilding Team Tati this year, one brick at a time."
Neil Thomas (Team Mack; 40+): "I found myself racing in the gutter, which on a windy course is the last place that you want to be."
Chris Uberti (Panther; P/1/2): "Finally going into the third lap the race suddenly turned on and went from a big, easy group ride to some really tough racing."
VeloNews: "On the eve of the Hell of the North, Christopher Uberti (Team Panther) and Rita Klofta (Pista Elite) took wins in the Hell of Illinois."
John Whipple (Team Tati; 4): "Fifteen miles of intense suffering with no electronic distractions. It was just me, the bike, the road and the wind."
Jeff Yielding (Revolution Cycles; 3): "I opted to race my cross bike. Why not: Bumpy roads, bricks and gravel. Seemed like a good idea."
Andrew Yeoman (Team Pegasus; 4): "People who were up front got organized quick immediately after the cobbles, right when I and everyone else needed a moment to compose ourselves."
Andrew Zens (Spidermonkey Cycling; 4): "How cruel of a sport cycling is."
Hillsboro photos John Bennett Verizon u25 John Wilke
This weekend’s races
It doesn't yet have the history or the following of ye olde Hillsboro-Roubaix, but Saturday's Leland Kermesse has the potential to grow into a Midwestern spring classic.The course is flat, but the three gravel sections will be more dastardly and game-changing than the so-called cobbles of Hillsboro. As at Hillsboro, stay loose and keep that chain taut. Again, wide or knobby tires are not necessary; 25mm tires wouldn't hurt, but I wouldn't run out and buy some just for this. Expect a minor scrum leading into each gravel section; position will be key. With only one or two good lines, it will be difficult to come around any slower riders ahead of you. If a big gap does open, be patient and then attack hard once you're back on smooth pavement and hopefully you'll be back on terms when the pack hits the gravel yet again. The race is USAC-sanctioned this year, and Flatlandia knows how to host a fun event. Expect a few surprises. Alas, the weather is looking downright pleasant, hardly befitting a spring classic, unlike the epic wind and thunderstorms of 2009
Saturday Leland Kermesse USAC road race Leland, Ill. Distance from Chicago: 1.5 hours
Sunday GDVC No. 2 USAC criterium Madison, Wis. Distance from Chicago: 2.5 hours
This weekend’s races
Now that I am an expert in all things Belgian, I must concede a sober reality: The bricks of Hillsboro have nothing on the cobbles of Europe. They are not nearly as violent nor as long. I'm not even sure I will notice them.Nonetheless, Saturday’s Hillsboro-Roubaix, what I like to call the Hell of Downstate, has earned its reputation as a spring classic in these parts, and the P/1/2 field is looking particularly loaded. Everyone goes home with a good story, if not a good result. The course’s defining landmark is the circuit through town that closes each 29-mile lap, which is longer this year to accommodate the growing fields. This video from 2008 includes several passes. The circuit starts with two short climbs. The first bump contains the feed zone. The second climb is steeper and just a few riders wide. Cones will mark the centerline, and weaving around them will risk disqualification. Turning left off the climb, a steep, straight descent on dodgy pavement sends you screaming into the bricks
Sunday GDVC No. 1 USAC criterium Madison, Wis. Distance from Chicago: 2.5 hours
Men of Steel Training Criterium USAC criterium Auburn, Ind. Distance from Chicago: 3 hours
FLASH: Hillsboro has room for 4’s
Thanks to some cancellations, there are currently 8 spots available in the 4's for Hillsboro-Roubaix. Registration will stay open until 9 p.m. tonight.
- » Superweek released its 2010 schedule while I was away. There are still quite a few holes, but overall it looks fairly familiar, including the big opener in Beverly on Friday, July 9, and the popular Evanston Grand Prix on Sunday, July 18. Blue Island is not there, but new venues include Palos Hills and Palatine. There's no traditional road race yet, but the series returns to Milwaukee's lakefront, albeit on the 2.2-mile "short course."
» Half Acre Cycling is bringing the Leland-Kermesse women's 4's purse into parity with the men's.
» ABD will be hosting a series of Wednesday night training criteriums. Details to come.
» Registration is open for the Tour de Champaign-Urbana.
» The Illinois Cycling Association is on the Twitter.
» The Chicago Cuttin' Crew and Team Pegasus are taking Hillsboro-Roubaix and making it interesting.
» Nick Frey (Jamis/Sutter Home) pays a visit to a school in Glencoe.
» If the next bike courier to deliver a package to your building is a 6-year-old with a pretend radio, this is why.
» Lemont's Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Transitions) has a new crib.
» Ritte Racing is very funny, and the bikes are beautiful to boot.
Hillsboro-Roubaix reg winds down
Hillsboro-Roubaix registration closes tonight at 9 p.m. The P/1/2 field recently filled, and the 3's field has only 25 spots left. Organizers are asking to be notified of rider cancellations so that wait lists can be attended to beforehand. Refunds will be given.Full preview to come.
Race Report: Monsters of Midway
Bicycle Heaven Racing Team: The Bicycle Heaven report for Monsters of the Midway, “Double Trouble̶... Anatomy of a Race Series: Glencoe to implement F1 style grid
Jon Knouse - GGP Race Director: I meant to say louder.... Anatomy of a Race Series: Glencoe to implement F1 style grid
jasonK.: So you’re saying F1 is cooler and more euro than CX?...
- Wednesday Notebook: May 15
- Race Report: Monsters of Midway
- Wednesday Notebook: May 8
- Race Results: Tour de Champaign
- Anatomy of a Race Series: Glencoe to implement F1 style grid
- Wednesday Notebook: May 1
- Race Report: Cobb Park Criterium
- Race Report: Whitnall Park Criterium and Kettle Klassic Road Race
- Glencoe Grand Prix - June 1, 2013
- Wednesday Notebook: April 24