Menzies takes Elk Grove lead

Jul 31, 2010
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I missed today’s Tour of Elk Grove action, but Podium Insight has a great photo of the pro finish, won by Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia).

This is a teachable moment: It appears that if David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit Strategies) had worried more about his throw and less about his post-up, he would have won the stage. With a 20-second time bonus instead of the 12 seconds for 2nd, the 2008 winner would have ended the day in a tie

to the 100th of a second

with Karl Menzies (UnitedHealthcare) in the general classification.

Instead, Menzies sleeps in yellow. He’ll start Sunday 5 seconds up on time trial winner Peter Latham (Bissell) and Mike Friedman (Jelly Belly). A handful of other riders, including Chris Horner (Radio Shack), sit within 10 seconds.

This should make for an exciting criterium Sunday. Time bonuses will be crucial: 20, 12 and 8 seconds go to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, respectively. In addition, there will be points sprints with 25, 20 and 10 laps to go. Points leaders will get 6-, 4- and 2-second bonuses. Don’t be surprised if UnitedHealthcare lets a break get up the road to keep those seconds out of contenders’ hands.

In the amateur races, winners include Jeannie Kuhajek (Team Mack) in the women’s 3/4’s, Victor Rentas (Team G Force) in the 3’s and Peter Kelley (Bicycle Heaven) in the 4’s. Dave Keil (W2 Racing) rode back-to-back and won both 5’s heats. (W2 managed to nail three of the top five in the first heat, with Tim Clark in 5th both times.) Mike Shereer (Verizon u25) was the top local finisher in the 1/2’s with 6th.

Wednesday notebook

Jul 28, 2010
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Superweek wrap-up V

Jul 26, 2010
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Some final highlights from the last few days of Superweek:

  • » The crash bug bit the P/1/2’s Friday and Saturday. Ryan Freund (Verizon u25) got the worst of it in Kenosha, breaking his collarbone. Bryan McVey (ReCycling), who on Tuesday had continued his solid riding with a 7th at the Bucyrus Road Race in Milwaukee, broke his nose, and although he was able to return to race over the weekend, he drifted backward in the amateur overall, finishing 5th. Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia), meanwhile, was a cinch for the pro overall, winning the final three races and a record six overall. Cantwell previously won the overall in 2008.
  • » Kristen Meshberg (Flatlandia) raced the entire women’s P/1/2/3 series, finishing 2nd overall. Her teammate Kim Gialdini won the women’s 3/4’s overall, finishing out of the top 10 just once over the series. Stacy Appelwick (Bouledogue Tout Noir) raced less but won a remarkable four times, ending up 4th overall, and Jannette Rho (Chicago Cuttin’ Crew) sprinted to a win at Wednesday’s Lakefront Road Race in Milwaukee.
  • » Mike Seguin (XXX Racing-AthletiCo) clawed back to finish 2nd overall in the 3’s. He got some help early in the Lakefront Road Race when a sporting field stood up to let him regain contact after a flat. He late would crash while taking a dig off the front but would recover and then take 2nd in the sprint.
  • » Rookie Brian Karlow (Verdigris) hit the podium a remarkable nine times in the masters 4/5’s, four of them on the top step, finishing a comfortable 30 points ahead of the next challenger in the overall.
  • » Young Trevor Rolette (South Chicago Wheelmen) was our top finisher in the 4/5’s overall. Despite racing only five days, he earned enough points to place 3rd overall.
  • » Brent Emery ( came on strong to take the 35+ 1/2/3 overall, bumping Ricardo Otero (WDT-Allvoi) to 2nd, with Mike Heagney (Vision Quest), who finished 3rd Saturday and 2nd Sunday, climbing to 3rd.
  • » John Wilkie was busy shooting photos for Peloton Pix. I expect he’ll be adding even more as he finds time to edit his haul.
  • » Looking back at this year’s edition of Superweek, I’m in agreement with this assessment from Mark Swartzendruber (Verizon Wireless). String 17 races together in 17 locations and there are bound to be hiccups, but organization seemed better this year. Fields, however,  seemed smaller. (On the plus side, I think smaller turnouts warded off the chronic crashing that has plagued us in recent years.) I know many people cut back because of high entry fees, which were especially steep for day-of registrations. Here’s hoping that the pendulum continues to swing to the good. All things considered, we’re extremely lucky to have two big summer series available to us ask any out-of-town racer and they’ll tell you so.

Full results.

Tour of Elk Grove preview

Jul 26, 2010
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Here’s hoping you’ve been doing your VO2 intervals and your brake pads are in good shape: It’s time for the big-money, big-money, no-Whammy experience that is the Tour of Elk Grove.

Amateurs get two days of criteriums on a flat, five-corner course. Payout is deep, and primes have historically been generous.

The first corner is a tight U-turn. Expect packs to bunch up here, especially in the lower categories.  My advice is to try to stay in the middle or outside: Go inside and you’ll get pinched and have to scrub a lot of speed. If you go outside,  be careful not to get run into the curb. Follow a good wheel and don’t lose your cool when someone veers into your line. The upside is that the turn is taken at a modest pace, so if there is a crash, it probably won’t be catastrophic. Get up, fix your chain and go take your free lap.

Whatever you do, downshift several clicks before the turn and get ready to sprint. You’ll need a massive acceleration out of this corner every time, and you don’t want to be overgeared. Stay up front as much as you safely can, for the accordion effect doesn’t get much bigger than here.

It’s a long sprint from the last corner with a slight chicane. Keep your head up, as lines tend to wander and overeager sprinters may crack before they get to the finish.

Note that the Cat 5 fields all have fewer than 10 spots remaining as of Sunday. Also, note that the race is looking for volunteers.

The pro men get a stage race, starting with Friday evening’s 4.5 time trial, short enough that sprinters can grab a good general classification and then move up with time bonuses over the next few days. Saturday’s 96-mile road race navigates more than two dozen corners on its 9.6-mile circuit, while Sunday’s climactic criterium uses the same course as the amateurs. This is a fun race to watch. I like to sit about 150 meters from the finish to get a prime view as the sprinters wind up for each prime.

Among the 96 pros registered is fan-favorite Chris Horner (Radio Shack), who returns to Elk Grove just one week after placing 10th at the Tour of France. He’ll be riding solo, however, facing full squads from the top NRC teams, including all four previous winners: 2006’s Hilton Clarke (UnitedHealthcare),  2007’s Mike Friedman (Jelly Belly), 2008’s David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit Strategies) and 2009’s Karl Menzies (United Healthcare).

Saturday and Sunday Tour of Elk Grove USAC road race, criteriums Elk Grove, Ill. Distance from Chicago: 0.5 hour Previous wrap-ups: 2007 I, 2007 II, 2007 III, 2008, 2009 I, 2009 II

Tourmalet dispatch

Jul 22, 2010
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Robbie Ventura (Vision Quest) was kind enough to send greetings from today’s Tour de France. John Meyers (Verizon u25) is also somewhere on the mountain. In fact, I think I may have just seen him at 1.6 km dancing in a giant banana costume.

Wednesday notebook

Jul 21, 2010
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Links, Superweek,

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  • » USA Cycling this week named John Tomlinson (XXX Racing-AthletiCo) to the track team that will compete at the junior world championships in Italy next month. He’ll be joined by Jessi Prinner (ABD), who will again compete in the road race and time trial.
  • » Tomlinson is racing this week at the presigious Tour de l’Abitibi in Canada. Racing with him are James Bird (IS Corp), Chazz Martin (IS Corp) and Brandon Feehery (South Chicago Wheelmen).
  • » Olympian Colby Pearce is providing two seminars on the track in August. He’ll also be competing in the Roger Delanghe Trophy Race in Northbrook on Aug. 5. This will be the first such race since Delanghe passed away in November.
  • » Voytek Glinkowski (WDT-Allvoi) told me this weekend that there were only three 4/5’s spot left for this weekend’s Allvoi Cup. Women’s spots were running out, too.
  • » John Wilkie of Peloton Pix has been taking great shots this Superweek, but my favorite action moment may be this shot from Evanston by Lisa McMahon. That’s Adam Lesniakowksi (PACT/Dish Network) accelerating past Rob Karlow (Verdigris) and Mike Heagney (Vision Quest) in the 35+ 1/2/3’s sprint.


Bahati Foundation in flux

Jul 20, 2010
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The Bahati Foundation, which is fielding several riders at Superweek, including founder and former national champion Rahsaan Bahati, is ceasing operation, according to Bicycling Magazine’s Bill Strickland.

It’s not a huge surprise given the team’s financial difficulties earlier this summer. I’m not sure what this means for the riders racing this week, or whether the squad will still field riders at next month’s national championship in Glencoe. VeloNews reports that the current management will form a pro-am team for the balance of the season.

Bahati withdrew from Monday’s road race in Whitnall Park but won the field sprint for 4th Sunday in Evanston.

Update: Bahati released a statement Wednesday evening saying that the Bahati Foundation would continue, but that the team would be “undergoing a reorganization ... All the riders and staff who have been loyal to the team are moving forward with the new team.”

Superweek wrap-up IV

Jul 20, 2010
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More highlights from the past week of Superweek:

  • » Feedback has been positive for the new Lake Geneva course, which opened for business Wednesday with an interesting profile and picturesque views. Greta Neimanas (XXX Racing-AthletiCo) put her time trial skills to use by soloing away from the women’s P/1/2/3 field with 10 laps to go, and Ryan Freund (Verizon u25) got in another elite break, finishing 3rd in the P/1/2’s after lapping the field twice with two others.
  • » Tour of America’s Dairyland sensation Jannette Rho (Chicago Cuttin’ Crew) finally made her Superweek debut Friday and finished 3rd at in Brookfield, Wis. At Saturday’s Schlitz Park course in Milwaukee, she joined Stacy Appelwick (Bouledogue Tour Noir), Mia Moore (XXX Racing-AthletiCo) and Canada’s Nettie Neudorf (Portage Junkyard Dogs) in taking advantage of Brewer’s hill and lapping the women’s 3/4’s field, with Appelwick taking the win and Rho rolling in 2nd. Kimberly Gialdini (Flatlandia), meanwhile, has ridden a very consistent series and has a solid lead in the overall with just three races left.
  • » Ricardo Otero (WDT-Allvoi) clings to a one-point lead in the 35+ 1/2/3 overall, having finished out of the top 10 just once.
  • » Although he has lost his grip on the overall, Mike Seguin (XXX Racing-AthletiCo) earned his first win as a 3 at Brookfield. Victor Rentas (Team G Force) has a number of top 10’s to his name and is the highest-placed local rider in the 3’s with 3rd.
  • » Rookie Brian Karlow (Verdigris) is having a dynamite Superweek and will no doubt be joining his brother Rob soon in the higher categories. After winning at Homewood, he’s twice finished 2nd and twice 3rd and now enjoys a healthy lead in the 35+ 4/5’s overall.
  • » Young Trevor Rolette (South Chicago Wheelmen) is also nearly perfect in the 4/5’s. He’s won twice, in Richton Park and Willow Springs, on top of three other podiums. He starts the day 10 points out of 1st in the overall.

Full results.

Lake Geneva reports
Greta Neimanas (XXX Racing-AthletoCo; W-P/1/2/3): “Nobody ever wants to sack up and take a pull because they’ll get tired, or it’s too hot, or they have a hangnail.”

Verizon u25 (P/1/2): “Going into the finish, Mike Sherer kept Ryan is as good of a position as possible to help him fend for the win, but the pair was ‘jammed up’ on the back side in the final lap.”

Photo by Luke Seemann

Dust dusts ’em, Fly V flies ‘V’

Jul 18, 2010
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Debbie Dust (Bouledogue Tout Noir) went for sprint points 10 laps into Sunday night's 35-lap women's P/1/2/3 Evanston Grand Prix and kept on rolling, eventually lapping the field while maintaining a 50-second gap over a lone chaser to take her first Superweek win.

In the men's P/1/2 race, Fly V Austarlia's Jonathan Cantwell and Ben Kersten escaped from a large but dysfunctional break midway through and built a gigantic lead over a field that could never get a chase together once it neutralized the break. The two finished side-by-side with 2008 champion Cantwell, currently higher than Kersten in the overall, taking the victory. Coincidentally, Kersten and Cantwell also went 1-2 Saturday night at the Boise Twilight Crit, in that case with Kersten finishing first in a bunch sprint. Notable riders in Sunday's field included Karl Menzies (UnitedHealthcare) and Rahsaan Bahati (Bahati Foundation), both making their 2010 Superweek debut. Other local results include Tony Rienks (Beverly Bike-Vee Pak), who put in a long solo effort to win the 35+ 4/5's; Adam Lesniakowski (PACT/Dish Network), who took the bunch sprint in a 35+ 1/2/3 race that was halted and abbreviated because of a quick thunderstorm; and Justin Somerville (Bicycle Heaven) winning the 4/5's. In the 3's, Burnham Racing had Nick Ramirez off the front for the last several laps, but had to settle for 2nd and 3rd from Chris Curran and Nate Iden after Andrew Buntz (University of Iowa) launched a long attack to bring him back and take the win. The BK Stacker and the dicey Turn 4 tooks their share of victims but most races were relatively crash-free this year, at least compared to previous editions. Full results.

Reports Cathy Frampton (Project 5; W-3/4): "Then fluky things started happening."

Arron Hampton (Psimet; 35+ 4/5): "I pushed through it, arse on the tip of the saddle, funny pain face on full display and grabbed me some 5th place."

Photos Lisa McMahon Omar Patalinghug (4/5's video): 1, 2, 3 Cecile Redoble Luke Seemann Ed White

Wednesday notebook

Jul 14, 2010
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Links, Race news, Glencoe Grand Prix,

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  • » Don't forget tonight is the special Bastille Day race at Soldier Field. These are fun races to watch as well as to take part in.
  • » Turnout was light at this weekend's Great Egyptian Omnium, but feedback is positive over at the St. Louis Biking forum, and Scott Rosenfield (IS Corps) enjoyed himself.
  • » The professional riders of Team Vera Bradley Foundation will be holding a women's clinic on Friday, Aug. 13, in conjunction with Alberto's and the Glencoe Grand Prix, where the squad will have six riders after fielding three at the Tour of Elk Grove the week before. Proceeds benefit the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer.
  • » The Glencoe Grand Prix has been profiling some of its riders, including legend Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom), whom I'm excited to see will be joining us in August.
  • » Chicago has a new bike park.
  • » The Chicago Department of Transportation is holding a meeting tomorrow to discuss the path at Navy Pier and the potential of a "flyover" bridge.
  • » Our state time trial championships will be Sept. 4 in Harvard, Ill.
  • » Video of Kaleb Koch (IS Corps) winning the 15-16 scratch race at juniors nats. He makes his move around 1:56.
  • » Sex advice from bike messengers.

Photo by Luke Seemann

Superweek wrap-up II

Jul 14, 2010
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A few of the many highlights from the first Illinois leg of Superweek:

  • » Bryan McVey (ReCycling) is having a breakout series in the P/1/2's, racing aggressively and making many of the breaks. After lapping the field and getting 2nd Monday in Richton Park and finishing 6th Tuesday in Willow Springs -- a race whose field sprint included a tangle of bikes -- he is the top amateur and is 7th overall, 22 points down from leader and 2008 Tour de France participant Aurélien Passeron (Garneau Club Chaussure).
  • » Ryan Freund (Verizon u25) made the break Saturday in Geneva, lapping the field with two others, continuing on to the nominal chase group and even attempting to attack beyond that. It came down to a three-up sprint, where he finished 2nd to Passeron, above.
  • » Kristen Meshberg (Flatlandia) has hit the top 10 in all four women's P/1/2/3 races, including a 2nd at Geneva. She held the leader's jersey after Monday's racing in Homewood, but she now sits in 3rd in both the overall and the sprints competition.
  • » Stacy Appelwick (Bouledogue Tout Noir) is off to a great start in the women's 3/4's. After winning both Saturday and Sunday and finishing 2nd Tuesday, she sits in 2nd overall.
  • » Nick Gierman (Burnham Racing) won in dramatic fashion in Geneva. With nine laps to go he countered a large move to go solo and made a large gap for himself. With less than two to go -- and after some lap-counter bungling -- two riders bridged to him, but as gassed as he was, he was able to launch an early attack and sprint to the win.
  • » Geneva was where Drew Kushnick (Spidermonkey Cycling) picked up his first win in the 4/5's. I wonder how long he's been practicing his post-up. He'd follow that up with a 2nd at Willow Springs.
  • » Mike Seguin (XXX Racing-AthletiCo) is doing it both ways -- getting in the breaks and doing well in the sprints -- and has yet to finish outside the top 10. He leads the 3's overall.
  • » Mark Winston (2CC) proved his uphill sprint at Spring Prairie was no fluke. After a suicide break was reeled in late in the Willow Springs 35+ 1/2/3's, he navigated the challenging stairsteps for the bunch-sprint win, followed by Dave Reed (EMC2) and Mike Heagney (Vision Quest).
  • » Chris Mosora (Verizon Wireless), meanwhile, has been having his way with the 35+ 1/2/3 series, winning out of a two-man break in Geneva and winning again in Richton Park. After finishing 5th in Willow Springs, he has a tight lead over Adam Lesniakowski (PACT/Dish Network) and Ricardo Otero (WDT-Allvoi).
  • » Ed Ekstrom (Tower Racing) leads the 35+ 4/5's overall and is 2nd in the 4/5's, just two points behind teammate Alex Nemeth.
  • » I liked the modified Willow Springs course. I wish races could have been longer -- such are the tradeoffs with great locations sometimes -- but the shorter laps increased the impact of the climbs, relative to the longer course used for our state road race. Then again, the short course and concurrent races led to the occasional neutralization, which is often frustrating to both fields. The corners I was worried about were wide, fast and safe, and it made a big difference to have centerline fencing all along Archer. Considering the crazy amount of race prep that went into that course, it's fairly remarkable that the early races started only 20 minutes late -- and that delay was only thanks to a tree that had fallen on the course.
  • » A second 4/5's race was added to accommodate demand at Willow Springs, but that won't be an option at Sunday's Evanston Grand Prix, which is always popular. Online registration closes Friday, but if you miss that, Superweek's Andy Garrison says to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to guarantee a spot.
Full results.

Geneva reports Nick Gierman (Burnham Racing; 3): "As this rider slots in behind me, my mark was hit and off I went. Over the bricks and through the turn, dancing on the pedals like a ProTour sprinter does."

Arron Hampton (Psimet; 35+ 4/5): "We were racing for third, which I realized right after I lit up that last match."

Matt Riezman (Spidermonkey Cycling; 4/5): "Midway through the race, huge gaps started forming on the hill and getting caught behind them made my race tough."

Tati Cycles (35+ 1/2/3): "Nobody will pay any attention to your team until you've beaten Mark Swartzendruber, even if it is in a sprint."

Verizon u25 (P/1/2): "The final lap almost resembled a match sprint as they cautiously eye one another, waiting to open the sprint until the final 200 meters."

Andrew Zens (Spidermonkey Cycling; 4/5): ""

Geneva photos Luke Seemann Tati Cycles Nikki Cyp

Homewood reports Debbie Dust (Bouledogue Tout Noir; W-P/1/2/3): "Even more negative were the riders who literally tailgunned the entire race and then suddenly appeared in the front with two laps to go."

Evan Jahn (Rhythm Racing; 4/5): "He won! We won! For the first time it feels like a team victory and not just individual."

Matt Riezman (Spidermonkey Cycling; 4/5): "I ran out of something."

Chris Uberti (Team Panther; P/1/2): "Thanks to attrition I was able to sneak into a money spot."

Homewood photos Tati Cycles Nikki Cyp

Willow Springs reports Arron Hampton (Psimet; 4/5): "Braking at the front on a downhill back stretch seems odd."

Andrew Zens (Spidermonkey Cycling; 4/5): "Lots of squirrels in the field today, and to be honest I was one of them."

Series photos Peloton Pix

Koch seals deal at junior track nats

Jul 11, 2010
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It's official: Kaleb Koch (IS Corps) is a national champion, winning the 15-16 time trial Saturday, his third win in as many days, to secure the omnium in Trexlertown, Pa.

His teammate Chazz Martin was not a stranger to the podium, but his destiny would not be the top step this year: He finished 2nd in Saturday's 17-18 scratch race and 2nd again in Sunday's team sprint, a total of four such finishes over the weekend. Meanwhile, John Tomlinson (XXX Racing-AthletiCo) finished out the weekend with a 2nd in the 17-18 flying time trial and a 4th in the Madison.

FLASH: Glencoe adds Cat 5 race

Jul 10, 2010
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Next month's Glencoe Grand Prix, site of this year's national criterium championships, have added a second Cat 5 race with a race time of 7:15 a.m. Register at BikeReg. I expect it will fill up just as quickly as the first one did. Note also the Cat 4 race is closing on capacity, too.

Koch wins again at junior track nats

Jul 09, 2010
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Kaleb Koch (IS Corps) won again at the junior national track championships in Trexlertown, Pa., Friday's 15-16 scratch race, giving Chicago two victories on the day after the points win from John Tomlinson (XXX Racing-AthletiCo).

Also on Friday, Chazz Martin (IS Corps) earned his second silver of these championships by placing 2nd in the 17-18 match sprint. This all came one day after Koch won the 15-16 match sprint competition. I should note that I may have gotten ahead of myself when I said it gave him the national championship. For age groups below 17-18, national championships are given only to the omnium winners. (This, my friends, is why I avoid covering the track.) However, after winning the first two events, Koch is well positioned for said omnium as racing continues through the weekend.

Photo by Luke Seemann

Sulzberger repeats at Beverly

Jul 09, 2010
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Bernie Sulzberger (Fly V Australia) opened Superweek with an impressive win in Beverly Friday evening.

Sulzberger was one of seven riders who went up a lap. With seven laps to go he escaped with Chad Burdzilauskas (Kenda). They built a large gap working together, but on the bell lap Sulzberger attacked at the top of the hill and entered the final downhill corner alone to cruise down the homestretch. It was a small field despite $3,000 in primes, and fewer than 30 finished. Bryan McVey (ReCycling), Tomasz Boba (WDT-Allvoi) and Frank Rowley (South Chicago Wheelmen) were the top locals, finishing 15th, 17th and 19th, respectively. Full results.

Nats wins for Koch, Tomlinson

Jul 09, 2010
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Glenview's Kaleb Koch (IS Corps) earned his first national championship Thursday by winning the 15-16 match sprint in Trexlertown, Pa.

Koch was the top qualifier with an 11.6-second 200, then proceeded to win each of his sprints. "I couldn't have done it without all the support that I have received this year from everyone," he said. "Jon Fraley (WDT-Allvoi) and Tony Ruffalo really made all of this possible. If it wasn't for their training help, I would not have had the speed out there that I had today." Meanwhile, Koch's teammate Chazz Martin earned the silver in the 17-18 kilo. Racing continues through the weekend.

Update: John Tomlinson (XXX Racing-AthletiCo) on Friday earned his second national championship, this time in the 17-18 points race. In 2009 he won the 17-18 scratch race. Tomlinson said that after being off the front and picking up some points early and "after a ton of Mach-speed accelerations from some fast guys," he and Daniel Farinha (SJBC) escaped with about 20 laps to go. They traded sprints and lapped the field with about five to go. "I had no idea if I had won," Tomlinson said, "but I knew I was podium since only two of us lapped. Turned out I was three points up on my breakmate." Tomlinson still has the scratch to look forward to. If he does well, he could earn a spot on the national team that will compete at the world championships in Italy.

Wednesday notebook

Jul 07, 2010
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Comments (2)
  • » Great news from Dixon, Ill.: The Ronald Reagan Criterium will be back on Saturday, Aug. 28. This was a surprise gem last year with great organization and a really fun course.
  • » Soldier Field Cycling has rescheduled its rained-out race for Wednesday Tuesday, Aug. 17. If you were registered for the June 23 race, your registration will transfer over. And recall that next week's race will have a French flavor.
  • » Our use of the roads was the subject of a recent Highland Park Traffic Commission meeting.
  • » U.S. Paralympics named Greta Neimanas (XXX Racing-AthletiCo) to its world championship team, which in August will compete in Canada. Neimanas and several of her Paralympic teammates will be racing part Superweek, too.
  • » Some Spidermonkey Cycling and Burnham Racing riders headed east for this weekend's Fitchburg Longsjo Classic Stage Race.
  • » Wisconsin's Matt Busche (Radio Shack) is at the Tour of Austria and on Tuesday came in last in the break. A man after my own heart.

Weekend wrap-up

Jul 07, 2010
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Project 5 put together a fun little neighborhood criterium on Saturday.

The flat, non-technical nature of the milelong course made breaking away difficult in some races, but Chris Mosora (Verizon Wireless) was one of three riders who had the magic to do so in both the 30+ and the P/1/2/3 race. Patryk Limanowicz (PACT-Dish Network) aced him out in the 30+, so Mosora took the sprint out of the equation by escaping the P/1/2/3 break in the final laps to take a deserved win. Because of a time crunch -- affected in part by a bell-lap crash in the 4's -- the 3's race was folded in with the P/1/2's. Quentin Capista (Project 5), a rising star in the USAC 4's, took advantage of ABR's "you call it" categorization and raced as a 3. He was the lone 3 to make the break and fought hard to hold on, thus winning his category and placing 7th overall. Alberto's brought its red army to bear on both women's races, leading to Nancy Heymann and Angela Rochester going 1-2 in the 3/4's, but in the open it was Debbie Dust (Bouledogue Tout Noir) sprinting to the win. Dust would later race with the 50+ men and put in a dangerous flier at the end, but Wayne Simon (Verdigris) turned on the jets on the final lap to reel her in and sprint to the win Elsewhere, quite a few heavy hitters showed up for the Marion Classic in Indiana, where Ryan Zook (Start 2 Finish) grabbed a top 10 in the P/1/2. Full Tour de Villas results. Full Marion Classic results.

Tour de Villas reports Nat Bricker (University of Florida; P/1/2/3): "A guy from Team Helen's was pulling everyone around and berating them for being little girls."

Debbie Dust (Bouledogue Tout Noir; W-open, 50+): "I wanted to be patient but just couldn't stand the parade-speed of the group so I attacked early."

Project 5 "My teammates and I have a new appreciation for the amount of work involved in coordinating a race."

Andrew Zens (Spidermonkey Cycling; 4, P/1/2/3): "I rolled in with the pack and a smile on my face."

Superweek preview

Jul 06, 2010
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If it's July, it must be time for that annual tour known for top international talent, crashes and controversy.

Also, the Tour de France is going on. That's right, Superweek is back for its 42nd year with 17 consecutive days of racing, including six venues close to Chicago. It continues to draw top talent, among them a full squad from Bahati Foundation, which is registered for the entire series. (Some of that talent needs host housing, by the way, especially in the Chicago area. More information here.) Today is your last day to pre-register and avoid a late fee. Important note for masters: Thanks to the suggestion of Team Mack, 35+ 1/2's can race Beverly for $20, and if doubling up at Geneva, Homewood or Willow Springs, the second race will be $20. Promoter Andy Garrison says to register in person in order to take advantage of this option; there will be no late fee for doing so. Here's what I know about some of the races:
  • » Beverly Hills Cycling Classic, Friday, July 9. For spectators, it doesn't get much better than this. This challenging neighborhood course enjoys fantastic support from the residents, who plan a block party around the race. Racing is for P/1/2's only, but all cycling fans and in fact all sports fans should considering coming to watch. With its steep kicker at Turn 1 and a fast descent into the homestretch, the course will be a rough introduction to Superweek for local riders, many of whom will be in lawn chairs by the 20th lap. It's expect that at least one break will get away and lap the field, after which the sprint will favor the team with the most survivors and the best organizaion for the leadout.
  • » Geneva and Homewood, Friday-Saturday, July 10-11: Both are new courses in new host cities, but both are downtown crits, which is promising. Note that Mill Race Cyclery is helping in Geneva and is looking for volunteers. Homewood and Willow Springs need volunteers, too. T-shirts will be given for your troubles.
  • » Richton Park, Monday, July 12: Flat, non-technical criterium around a park.
  • » Willow Springs Road Race, Tuesday, July 13. I'm curious how this course will play out. It has to potential to be a lot of fun. Except for the P/1/2's, race lengths are on the short side -- with the women 3/4's racing longer than the 4/5's, which may be a first -- so speeds should be high for a road race. The finish will be at the top of the same series of big-ring climbs employed in our 2009 state road race. Position on the final lap will be key. You'll want to be patient and save your sprint until the final rise, but at the same time you can't afford to get swarmed on the initial approach or get stuck behind cracked riders. A good leadout will do wonders. The course is an abbreviated version of the state road race, and will include a fast sweeping descent onto Archer. I hope it doesn't turn into our own private Stockeu. Meanwhile, a rider tells me that the shoulder on Archer is in dodgy condition. He recommends favoring the yellow line on this section. Note that the pivotal Willow Springs Road stretch will be closed to traffic, and fencing will separate traffic on Archer.
  • » Schlitz Park, Saturday, July 17. Fun crit in Milwaukee with a steep hill.
  • » Evanston Grand Prix, Sunday, July 18. Oh, Evanston. This is always a fun race to watch with great crowds and a fun downtown setting, but it's forged a reputation for crashes, from the pros on up to the 4/5's. For photographers looking for crash porn, there are two spots to set up camp: The first is Turn 4 as Davis turns onto Orrington. Riders on the outside have a habit of clipping the barriers in front of Hotel Orrington. Even more problematic is the famous BK Stacker in Turn 5. Here two lanes become one, and the outside curb pinches in more sharply than you expect. If you’re not directly behind someone’s wheel into this corner, you may be in trouble. Meanwhile, riders at the front will be taking the turns smoothly and blasting out of them, leading to a significant accordion effect in the back.
  • » Whitnall Park Road Race, Monday, July 19. This 2-mile circuit race takes place on the scenic rollers of a botanic garden. The finish comes after a fast, leg-burning climb and than about 50 meters of flat road.
  • » Lakefront Road Race, Wednesday, July 21. One of the more interesting road races you'll do, located along a beautiful stretch of Lake Michigan. The 4.5-mile course includes two steep kickers, a fast sweeping descent and a short passage through a narrow bike path.

Full schedule here. Good luck!

CBR Interview: Andrew Zens

Jul 02, 2010
Filed in:
Interviews, Superweek, Tour of America's Dairyland,

Comments (5)

For those with the time, means and legs to do so, a stage race or series can be an unforgettable experience. In the Midwest we're blessed with two such series: The 10-day Tour of America's Dairyland, which closed Sunday, and the 17-day Superweek, which starts next Friday in Beverly.

[Andrew Zens]A handful of Chicago riders went all-in for the 2010 ToAD, including 27-year-old accountant Andrew Zens (Spidermonkey Cycling). Just two years after taking up racing -- in 2008 he was the dude on the Discovery bike with the Discovery jersey and the Discovery socks -- Zens headed north to race all 10 days of Cat 4/5 racing. He wrote about some lessons learned on his blog, and this week I chatted him up to learn more about his experience.

What on earth possessed you to race 10 days in a row? At first it was the quest for upgrade points, but as the season progressed I wanted to do something that I had never done before. In your first season there are tons of firsts, but in the second season it's hard to find something that you haven't tried or really challenges you.

Prior to this, what was your most intense stretch of racing? Gateway Cup was four days.

Was there a moment where you were like, "What have I gotten myself into?" Day One. It was a race in my hometown and I`I tried to do a little of everything. This was the best learning experience a racer can have.’ didn't sniff the front of the field, nor the middle of the field for that matter, and I thought, "Is it going to be 10 days of this?"

Racing in Illinois, we get to know each other pretty well. But what was it like racing against a bunch of cheeseheads you didn't know, plus riders from out of the area? At first it was really hard, not only because I had no idea who had a good wheel to follow but it made bike racing less social in general. However, as the week went on I started to make new friends in the field. That was even more important after Day Four when my teammate Bryan Witry, who was to travel with me, broke his arm.

What happened there? At Road America he was jockeying for position coming into the uphill finish when a cheesehead rode under his bars and crashed him. Quoting Bryan, "It sucked that guy didn't have Randy Warren's voice in his head saying stay calm." The Warren safety clinic saves me weekly.

Did that make for a long day? It really did. The worst part was that on Day Four I finally started racing well after being called out by a Chicago racing friend. Jannette Rho (Chicago Cuttin' Crew) had told me after the third day, "You need to be more aggressive."

Did Bryan's crash affect how you rode the rest of the series? Probably. I got more aggressive and tried to really enjoy the races the hardest part was traveling by myself every day. It took some of the fun out of the midweek part of ToAD.

What were you doing more aggressively? Getting in breaks? Defending position up front? And how did it work out? I tried to do a little of everything. This was the best learning experience a racer can have. One day I attacked and attacked and attacked,`When I crossed the line I was empty, and that's all you can ask of yourself.’ then I cracked. One day I sat on the strongest rider's wheel. One day I went for every prime. I read on a Web site somewhere that you have to race for a year in your category before you can expect to do well in it. So I thought I could get my year in in a week with 10 races.

What was the best moment of the week? The Greenbush Road Race. It was the first 4's race where I competed in a sprint finish. And the course was so much fun, flying through the woods. When I crossed the line I was empty, and that's all you can ask of yourself.

Where did you stay all week? I grew up within two hours of every race, so I stayed with my parents. They still have my Bob Marley posters from high school on my walls. On Saturday night it was the Chicago host house with six racers from four different chicago teams (XXX, Chicago Cuttin' Crew, Iron Cycles, Spidermonkey).

If you were to do this again, what would you do differently? What advice do you have for others? Unless something changes I plan on doing this series again next summer, and I will realize how much mental stress is involved with racing day after day. I would say remember to have fun. The first day I really worried about results and I sucked. When I made sure to have fun and try things, the results improved. I mean, if it's not fun then you are just riding in circles.

Two days removed, how are your legs feeling? Actually they feel great. I will be heading down to matteson later this evening, and I would expect to see me on the Turin ride tomorrow. Then it's a break for a couple days.

Do you wish you'd taken any rest days? Not at all. I would have wondered, What did I miss?

How was watching the P/1/2 races? It was amazing. The Rahsaan Bahati (Bahati Foundation) show at Grafton was something to see. Great question from Bahati after Greenbush: "You don't need anything bigger than a 21, right?" Me: "Well, I rocked a 26 but we got different legs."

Heh. That's like Tiger Woods asking you which wedge to use. Exactly. I also enjoyed rubbing shoulders with team directors like Verizon u25's Mike Ebert. It's always good to find him toward the finish. He knows where to stand for a good view.

I always loved lingering near the directors and eavesdropping as they yelled into the radios. Well, without the radios they have time to talk to you a little more.

How much Superweek are you going to do? Not many. Maybe four. This past week and a half I've seen how a stage race should be run. It was so organized and professional. `When I made sure to have fun and try things, the results improved. I mean, if it's not fun then you are just riding in circles.’The directors and promotors were amazing. They are even crediting Bryan six races for next year. I was blown away. I don't really want to go back to the Superweek disorganization. However, the road races are looking pretty fun, especially Willow Springs.

Do you have any goals for the rest of the season? I want to figure out how to make the jump from being a top 20 finisher to a top 10 finisher. I am really looking forward to Glencoe and Gateway. The Gateway crowds are unmatched, which makes the weekend.

Have you figured how many upgrade points you ended up with last week? Zero! And that's the best part. I don't even care and I still had a blast each and every day.

That's the spirit! You've grown wise, grasshopper. Now that you have freed yourself from desire, I'm sure the points will come. I am sure they will. I would like come back as a really strong Cat 4 for ToAD next year.