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.
(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 --
and for my own personal participation --
I hope it can somehow happen in 2011.
Finally I should briefly note some strong local results in Sunday's crit racing in Wisconsin, where some large fields kicked off the WCA season. Matt Haiduk
(Bicycle Heaven) won the 4's in a bunch sprint, and Vic Rentas
of the new Team G Force placed 2nd in the 3's, followed by Julio Jacobo
(PYOC) in 3rd.
Full Hillsboro results
. Timed results: P/1/2, 3, 4, 40+, 50+, W-4
, 4, W-P/1/2/3
Full GDVC No. 1 results
(XXX Racing-AthletiCo; 5): "I was still feeling good --
so good I started to think I might be able to attack if I found the right spot."
(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."
(Proctor Cycling; 3): "It was pretty crazy. Can’t believe that it actually happened."
(XXX Racing-AthletiCo; W-4): "I’ve never been so happy to see cobbles, knowing I was almost finished suffering."
(XXX Racing-AthletiCo; W-P/1/2/3): "This is a RACE. No one gets a free ride to the finish line."
(Psimet; 5): "Shift, jump, check bottles, grab his wheel and I am bombing the descent."
(Columbia Bike Club; P/1/2): "This race should either have a rolling enclosure or not be held at all."
(Flatlandia; W-P/1/2/3): "I'm going to Nature Valley this year!!!"
(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."
(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'."
: "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."
(Chicago Cuttin' Crew; 4): "Then we hit the hill before the cobbles and everything went to hell."
(Wild Card Cycling; 4): "I baked in the sun the whole second lap. I was out of water, thirsty, tired, miserable."
(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."
(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."
(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."
(Super Ape; 4): "I would take them all down the line even if it was for 50th or 60th place."
(Team Mack; 40+): "The 40+ race was quite a slugfest, and we were putting in some serious blows."
(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."
(Verizon Wireless; 3): "So it came down to the last climbs into the city."
(4, 5): "We're rebuilding Team Tati this year, one brick at a time."
(Team Mack; 40+): "I found myself racing in the gutter, which on a windy course is the last place that you want to be."
(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."
: "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."
(Team Tati; 4): "Fifteen miles of intense suffering with no electronic distractions. It was just me, the bike, the road and the wind."
(Revolution Cycles; 3): "I opted to race my cross bike. Why not: Bumpy roads, bricks and gravel. Seemed like a good idea."
(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."
(Spidermonkey Cycling; 4): "How cruel of a sport cycling is."