Illinois State Road Race

The 2009 Illinois State Road Race – was the most interesting race I didn’t race.

Mrs. P was working so I was babysitting…errr…parenting little P. I took it as an opportunity to get a demo set of my carbon clinchers under some guys in races.

I asked around and got a few volunteers. Jason Senffer (Masters 30+ 4/5), Peter Kelley (Cat 5), and Joel Friedman (Cat 3). It was going to be hard to work the logistics – me with a 3 yr old in a trailor with wheelsets and tools to change gearing and brake pads – with all of the races being back to back.

It was just a weird day all around. I set Jason up and he was off racing. First time through I didn’t see him. I’ve built a lot of wheels and I have always had great results but you do this a while and you begin to understand that just about anything can happen. So I started thinking “oh crap…what happened?”

With it being a road race I would only get to see them every 1/2 hour or so. I got to sit around and wait for them to come back around. I was about ready to poop my pants. When they did come around I saw Jason hanging right near the front and he gave a thumbs up – whether or not it was to me was immaterial, he was OK. “Whew.”

We couldn’t see the finish but the racers came rolling back in. I had already changed Pete’s brake [ads and was just waiting for the wheels. Jason said he thought he won but it would be a photo finish for sure. Little did either of us know that would turn into a huge ordeal.

I had set all of this up to get these under Joel and adding everyone else was kind of an afterthought. So Joel arrived. Told me he put a new chain on and worked on the bike. He’s a mechanical guy and an engineer to boot but lacks application experience with bike drivetrains…so I’m thinking “great – don’t know what condition everything is in and I will be puttnig a new wheel and cassette on…and no work stand…I hope everything works”

It took me a while to swap his brake pads and adjust his gearing. I test rode it over to where the cat 5 racers where coming back to meet up with Pete. Found out Wiz ended up blowing chunks at the top of the hill (big thumbs up), Hillary finished in front of 2 other racers in the womens and Pete went to early and missed out in the sprint. Justin got 2nd though. Not bad at all!

I swapped wheels and headed back to set the pad correctly. Couldn’t toe in the fronts enough so I knew they were going to end up screaming like a banshee. Got Joel up and running in time.

We were standing at the pub near the rollout area and I was swapping back the pads from Pete’s bike, talking to everyone I knew when little P comes walking up to me drenched from head to toe saying he fell in the waterfall….long story.

I had people calling, people texting, racers talking, kids running, wheels going everywhere, AAAARGH! This was more stressful than racing for sure.

The 3’s went off, the girls went to the hill to watch and I found myself with Peter, Wiz, little P and Little K. Next thing I know it’s just me and the kids. The Master’s results were finally posted and they put Jason in 1st. Sweet. I was checking for Lenski who told me he placed 5th. He was out racing the cat 4 race at the time. I look and they have him 34th or some such crap. I’m thinking, “Oh crap”….the area fills with riders going, “WTF??!!!”

I can feel a big protest coming on. At that time the kids start running off and I turn and see Joel coming backwards towards us. “Oh, SHIZ!” He starts yelling, “I need a wheel!” My heart sank. Turns out he had a flat. It happens and it made me feel better because it had nothing to do with the wheel, but it still meant he was basically done with the race. Then Cory shows up saying he’s out with a mechanical. I check it over and the front brakes are dragging. Ara calls out that the lever slid down and tightened the cable. Both levers were loose. He already told the officials he was done. Total suckage. I felt bad for him.

MJH2 is lawyering and politicing in the melee that became the results protest. The 2nd place rider is contesting the results. No one knows WTF is going on and the finish line is quite a distance away. They all run off to check the results/tape. I start getting texts saying, “they may not even have tape of the finish. This is a joke” etc.

The whole time I am just thinking, “I promised Lenski I would stick up for his 5th. I threw the kids in the stroller and went to walk to the finish line. I didn’t know where it was and it didn’t take long to figure out I wasn’t goint to make it there so I turned around.

At that poing I just wanted to get out of there. Little P hadn’t eaten since breakfast – apart from snacks all day. and hadn’t takend a nap….We were both getting grouchy.

I got a text saying Jason won – it stood. They came down and I took some podium shots of him…alone because 2nd took off and they hadn’t figured out who third was yet. He also won the Illinois Cup then as well. Psimet wheels – first race – podium, state championship, Illinois cup….not bad. Congrats Jason. That was a lot of hard work that paid off for you.

Soon after that I was done. Joel was still out there riding around and I needed to get his brake pads switched and swap the wheels. I had picked up another wheel that was trashed to fix. So I had 3 wheels in the trailor. Then I got a call that Scott K had crashed….bad. I was sitting there when the medical truck brought him in. 2 strollers, 2 kids, one’s father is in the back of a medical truck, I was slightly stressed. When it was apparant he would live I took a look at his new Reynolds 68 tubular front wheel – first race – and half of the spokes were bent and broken. He wants to race on it this weekend….psimet to the rescue 😀

After that I looked and the Pro 1/2 had been going for a while…we had a guy in a break. Awesome. I wanted to stick around but that was all I could handle. I got home and had pizza and beer and passed out – sleeping to 10am the next morning. I think I’d rather race.

Net results:Later – along with pictures…

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