2009 Chicago Crit

Well…better than I thought.

I still believe that anytime you get to ride on closed off streets downtown you should seize the opportunity and make the most of it.

I have been feeling like crap on the bike lately and really wasn’t expecting much. I tried to get a warmup in but it was another poor one. When we lined up for the cat 4 race I thought it was just a matter of time before I would pop.

It was fast, but highly manageable. It felt slower than most of the superweek races I “did”. For some reason there are a ton of douche-bags in our races that haven’t figured 2 things out – 1. You usually don’t have to brake in a corner – rather you can actually accelerate in them and 2. That we can use the WHOLE road….even Mayor Daley said it would be OK.

For the most part I have no complaints about how everyone raced. A few guys ran up in that crappy turn lane at the end of the back stretch and it was trying my patience to no end.

We started with 125. Seriously….125 riders in the field. I held on past that point where I have been cracking….just before everyone lets up and I found I was able to race with the group again.

I hung on to the back for most of the race. With 2 to go the elastic snapped and I was OTB. 35 minutes of racing only to be dropped again. SUCK! I rode around and enjoyed the course. I was the tail end of the racers and I place 67th. Crazy when you stop and think, “that was exactly 1/2 way through the starting field.”

JF won again. 3 wins in 3 days => cat 3

I said it after I saw him ride for the first time – the only thing that will limit him and how far he goes with cycling is how much time he wants to dedicate to it.

The masters race – well – I wasn’t expecting much. I actually tried to stay limber in between races and I think it worked. I started closer to the front and made it a point to keep moving back up to the front. I was feeling WICKED strong and was not running a deficit at all. I saw MJH2 riding well near the front and yelled up, “Matt! Go for a prime!” Turns out he didn’t hear me but he had the same idea and slaughtered a $50 prime.

I watched my position, tried to keep drinking, etc. Rode heads up and it paid off. I actually found myself looking for the acceleration I knew would come with 2 to go. I had the juice to follow it and wanted to shred a lot of the guys who were left….so I because the guy I hate. I yelled , from the back mind you, to the front to “light this firecracker!”

It ramped up enough that there was a lot of popcorn getting shelled on the last lap. I took the final corner and knew I could actually get into the sprint. I had more left but the guys were really banging all over and I didn’t want a hospital visit. I rolled in 14th.

Not bad out of 75 starters. Something about that was making me think back to reading the race bible for the event…so I checked….yup – I was in the money. $25 but definitely a highlight. That’s the first of anything I have ever received while bike racing. It was awesome.

Then to top it off we got to watch Chris Horner and MF in the pro race. I happened to stumble by someone on the way over to talk to MF. He was cool, but that replica kit he was wearing was just SOOOOooooooo cat 5 of him. 😉

Also thought you might enjoy these:

Brad Huff – Jelly Belly – Winner of the Pro/1/2 race.

MF getting a much needed sugar boost

Brad and MF enjoying the fans.

Here’s the thing…where else can you step right up to athletes of this caliber and shake their hand and say “nice race” except in a sport like cycling. I been in the living room on more than one occassion screaming like an armchair quarterback at Chris Horner for a few years and today I got to walk right up and get my picture taken with him. That is officially reason #4,297,572,286 why cycling kicks butt.

Something to note about Horner too…he’s one of those guys who you can just tell does it because he loves it. How many athletes in the “ball” sports can you say that about?

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