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Old 05-16-09, 08:18 PM   #1
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Monsters of the Midway

Wow! What a day.
My first race was Masters 30+, all categories. Well, I hung on for about 1.5 laps before I was dropped. We were HAULING ASS down the stretch at a blistering 35.9mph. I've never reached that speed on a flat before. At the backstretch into a strong headwind we were still flying at 24mph avg. Clearly the tempo was way too fast for my slow ass and I was dropped. Brutal.

Then my next race was the cat 4. Saw Rob in the pack, said Hi, chatted a little and off we went. I was able to hang for 5 laps and then someone's tire popped in a turn and bamm.. bodies were flying and I was behind the crash. Damn, gap opened up into the stretch with headwind. F*ck! So I TT'd the other laps around the track and wam bam, another crash. Guy from the South Chicago Wheelmen on the ground, hurt badly it seems. I pulled off at that point and called it a day. I've had seen enough.
I watched the finish of the 4's with Rob blasting through the finish at 23rd place. Nice job.
Ambulance was called and delayed the following cat 3 race by quite a bit which was also fun to watch once it got underway.

Was fun to watch the cat1/2/3 race duking it out with multiple attacks and riders OTF all the time.

Then the 5's came and I was with Rob and watched him coaching little Meatball from the sideline. It was quite a good race until some fools in their oxygen deprived brains took the wrong turn on the course and took at least 3 riders down while they were taking a left turn in the middle of the pack, which was going straight.
Joel was doing good. Nice position, taking some good pulls, covering some attacks. Last lap Joel was into the headwind taking a pull and I said to Rob "Dude, he's gonna pop" where Rob replied "No, he is exactly where he wants to be. The power is just flowing out of him, just watch."
So they come around on the finish stretch, Joel still in front, picking up speed with somewhere like 300-400 meters to go. I couldn't believe it. He was slightly nipped at the finish line by a couple of inches for 2nd place. Little Meatball got staying power, that's for sure.

Thomas
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Old 05-16-09, 08:35 PM   #2
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Cool.
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Old 05-16-09, 09:26 PM   #3
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yeah, that 30+ race was pretty fast before the break was let go. I wish I could have stuck around for the 4s race.
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Old 05-16-09, 09:46 PM   #4
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I had a blast. Finished 23 in the 4's even though I have been sick. The wrecks in our race were sick. There were a lot of "4"s who were really 5's. A guy next to me at the line told me it was his first race. We turned it up at the end and blew a lot of guys off the pack. I finished at the back of the lead group.

Joel is an animal. His well runs deep. I am getting better at sizing it up too. He got nipped at the line by another buddy I was trying to recruit last fall. As of now they are heading to WI with me to race tomorrow.

Busy weekend!

BTW I LOVED that course today. Total power Illinois crit course. Fast flat and in the wind

We turned 25.6 mph in the 4's. The 5's came in at something similar at 25.2 ish
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Old 05-17-09, 04:26 AM   #5
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http://www.xxxracing.org/index.php?/...eports/firsts/

Are the 3s the most dangerous field in bike racing? No offense to any other category if you think this title belongs to you, but my vote is yes, the 3s are the most dangerous. I accept that bike racing is dangerous, that crashes occur, and that I will crash. I have multiple crashes over the years to attest to this. Nevertheless, the squirreliness in this race was a bit excessive.

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Old 05-17-09, 10:52 AM   #6
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Teammate Mark Higgins was the rider that went down in the 4s and had to be taken to the emergency room. I saw the riders going down but have no idea what caused the crash.

Mark slammed his tailbone on the ground and was in such pain that he couldn't move. As a precaution they kept him still until the ambulance arrived.

Talked to Mark later in the day. Nothing broken, just sore. Taking pain medication.

Too bad for Mark that he crashed because he was riding very strong and was shooting for a top 5 finish.
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Old 05-17-09, 01:31 PM   #7
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I didn't think the 3's race was that crazy, but then again I'm young and reckless. Anyway, I had a good sprint and took 2nd in the 3's race.
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Old 05-18-09, 12:34 PM   #8
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Then the 5's came and I was with Rob and watched him coaching little Meatball from the sideline. It was quite a good race until some fools in their oxygen deprived brains took the wrong turn on the course and took at least 3 riders down while they were taking a left turn in the middle of the pack, which was going straight.

Thomas
I was one of the three that got involved in that bullsh*t in the cat 5 race. This happened approximately 20 minutes into the race. I could MAYBE see this happening in lap 1, maybe 2, possibly 3, but 20 minutes into it???? AMAZING.

All I heard was "that's not a turn", then I see the rider in front of me cut right in front of me to the left. WAM...t-boned him AND got my front wheel stuck somewhere in his frame as he dragged me 15-20 ft. I knock him loose and fall to my left side. Broken buckle on my right shoe, minor sprain, messed up cleat, a few more "battle scars" on my beloved Serotta as well.

The MORON (and if you are reading this be happy my family was there as I used what little restraint I had left not to introduce your head to the pavement repeatedly) that caused this initially had the balls to turn around (from the middle road) and ask "You ok? Sorry dude...you ok?" Good lord, it wasn't like I was in the first pack between the 5's and 10's getting my final place ready or something..oh yeah I was of course!.

I guess the worst part about all of this is the fact that people with NO business in a bike race think that just because its cat 5, its "OK". May I please be the first to inform said wannabe's that some of us put TONS of time, money, and effort into this sport only to have it minimized to squat when stupid sh*t like this happens.

Its so bad right now (the endless cat 5 ***********) that I'm seriously thinking of just doing masters races for the rest of the season just to cat up (yeah I know winning will NOT happen if I go that route, but at least I stand a greater chance of surviving my cat up period).

Anyone else agree? I was so pissed Saturday I can't even vocalize or write it down fully. Told the wife I should sell the bike and go back to drag racing (can only blame myself in that damn "sport"). I think I'm over that irrationality, but it sure does make a guy wonder "What MORE do I need to put up with???".

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Old 05-18-09, 12:49 PM   #9
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Can't blame you - it was a bonehead move for sure. I know the guy who did it and will be riding with him tomorrow. Resorting to Masters races only won't make the bonehead moves go away. They still exist in the 4's and 3's. Personally I thin they are worse in the 3's - or at least more damaging when they do come along.

In general I think that has more to do with age than anything else. Then again the rider who did that to you is in his mid 40's.....

I think he did it because he was wearing a sort of unbalanced black and white kit.....
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Old 05-18-09, 01:13 PM   #10
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I was going to keep quiet, but ...

I can understand your feelings, and empathize with your frustration. Fact: crashes do happen for all kinds of reasons, will happen to you eventually, and at all levels right up to Pro. (even if you're won the TDF seven times)

If you accept the risks by racing, then minimize your risk by noting any weird riding behavior and keeping that rider behind you. He can get the experience he needs to improve and you won't have to worry about him.

Hang in there and heal well. Maybe next time, someone will get a video of you in the air and make you famous.
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Old 05-18-09, 01:26 PM   #11
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Appreciate the replies. I'm spending the evening tonight on my recovery ride to clear my head (and re-adjust my molested rear derailleur now).

I know what I want out of all this, but I'm just trying to weigh the costs to get where I want. I'm still grappling with the "logic" some people are using (or not) when entering races.

Suggestion: Why is it that this is one of the few sports where you can compete in a mass start race without any type of training or certification required? Seems to me that at a bare minimum you should have to be a member of a team or club that has a senior (read EXPERIENCED) racer vouch for you. In lieu of that why not host mandatory safety/race clinics for all cat 5s each year? Would at least give some of the people a respect for how serious things can get.
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Old 05-18-09, 02:18 PM   #12
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At least your crash was in the headwind where the speed was crippled to probably something like 20mph. If the crash would have been on the straight with the tailwind you would have been flying at over 30mph into the other dude.

Also, the certification thingy for bike races won't do squat in my opinion. You want to know why? Just look at the drivers of cars who have a license and how dumb they are with their moves on the road.
It's all common sense, which is a very rare occurrence these days.
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Old 05-18-09, 02:35 PM   #13
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Yes. Experienced riders crash too, frustrating as it is. Best thing to do is to stay toward the front and work on handling skills. But sometimes, there's nothing you can do.
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Old 05-18-09, 03:23 PM   #14
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That the sage voice of experience.

In general I would say I have been getting a little tired of the griping in the packs. Yeah so there are people that do stupid things but that's the way it is....and I am noticing that more and more of the griping is coming from the gassed opdr guys at the back (I'm in that group as well).

Fact is there is nothing to complain about if you are not following someone...move up. Don't sit in back and blame bad situations on everyone else but yourself. Not meant as an attack but just something I have been thinking about.

I think it is be because I have been thinking during rides and races , "you know...sometimes people just f up. I seem to be able to handle it...why can't these guys?"
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Old 05-18-09, 04:36 PM   #15
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I was standing just past the S/F line at Willy at the end of both the Masters 1/2/3 and Pro 1/2/3 races, taking pix of everyone but keeping my eye out for Jeff Bradley. I wish I could have gotten a clear shot of him, but he was elbows to hips, right at the front lap after lap and if you could just see the fire in his eyes, you'd know what drives him to race. Whoa! I guarantee you that he wasn't thinking about crashing. He's 47.



http://www.cyclingwebsite.net/coureu...coureurid=2614
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Old 05-18-09, 07:31 PM   #16
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We turned 25.6 mph in the 4's. The 5's came in at something similar at 25.2 ish
I wonder what ours was. I showed an average of 25mph, but that includes doing cool down of 1.5 laps at 10-15mph. Hmmm, I all fingers point to faster than a typical 4s race.
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Old 05-19-09, 11:40 AM   #17
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That the sage voice of experience.

In general I would say I have been getting a little tired of the griping in the packs. Yeah so there are people that do stupid things but that's the way it is....and I am noticing that more and more of the griping is coming from the gassed opdr guys at the back (I'm in that group as well).

Fact is there is nothing to complain about if you are not following someone...move up. Don't sit in back and blame bad situations on everyone else but yourself. Not meant as an attack but just something I have been thinking about.

I think it is be because I have been thinking during rides and races , "you know...sometimes people just f up. I seem to be able to handle it...why can't these guys?"
My last post on this topic as it frankly gets me riled up (as silly as that may seem to some) and I'm actually feeling a lot better after last night's ride:

I would agree that stupid stuff happens and one should move up, be in the front, etc. That's not what I am griping about.

I'm referring to people that either aren't ready for racing or simply not thinking when entering races. Its not only pointless, its extremely dangerous and frankly selfish. I find it shows a complete lack of respect for the rest of the riders to enter a race when you know damn well you aren't ready. Case in point: I heard three people at the line before the cat 5 say things to the effect of, "This is my first group ride/race this year". Seriously? Why bother, never mind the money being tossed in the garbage?

Ah well....in the end this crap just makes me push that much harder on interval days. Ideally I'd like to be off the front more and just have to deal with wind as opposed to Fred's.

Moral of story: If you haven't been training/aren't serious/can't handle a bike...don't race. If you whine about rank amateur moves in the mid pack zone, train harder and move up. If you already are at the front and rank amateur moves happen.....consider emulation of a certain scene in "Breaking Away"
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Old 05-19-09, 01:16 PM   #18
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You know, that's a good point, and riders should be doing group rides before racing in packs. There are many strong riders (triathletes included) that are super fit, will do well in the race, but just don't get the practice of riding in a bunch and should take the time to ride with others at close range. That will make the races safer and help them do better in the end.
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Old 05-20-09, 11:19 AM   #19
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I've done Monsters for a number of years and it seems to me each year someone makes the same mistake with a left hand turn. I'm a bit fuzzy on it, but I think the 1/2s did it 2 years ago. It's not unusual and in the heat of competition people make mistakes.

It would probably be a good idea for cones to be placed on every side street in order to avoid this from happening again. It's more a problem with the course than the cats.

I think the world would be a better place if more people race their bikes. New bike racers have to start somewhere and cat 5 is that place. It is perfectly understandable and expected that many guys at the line would have very little race experience. At Monsters in particular, being in a big city, this may be the first race for many.

And there's nothing wrong with that. They gotta start somewhere and they're gonna make mistakes. Just the way it is. We all go through it. Bike racing is dangerous.

The main reason we all wanted out of the 5s is because we didn't want to race with the virgins. You suffer through your 10 starts then get the hell out. Sooner the better.
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Old 05-20-09, 12:18 PM   #20
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Thanks, Mayo. A sound perspective.

I recall of two fields making bad turns at MoM. I'm thinking both were 2006. One was a masters open field (read as: the fast, experienced guys) and another was a solo Cat 3 rider off the front. Shame -- he had a good gap.

While clinics seem like an easy fix, I don't see how any clinic could have prevented freudie's unfortunate incident. It's not like anyone needs a clinic to tell them not to make a wrong turn. Whoever it was, it was a boneheaded move in the heat of battle. I'm not at all surprised it happened 20 minutes in -- first few laps, you're alert and fresh. It's at the end of the race that people start bouncing pedals and making mistakes. It happens, and it will continue to happen. (That said, he had the gall to ask if you were OK? What a jerk.)

But speaking of clinics, ABD will be having a beginners clinic before its masters races on Monday: http://www.abdcycling.com/racesevent...ersWKND_09.pdf

I hope there's a good turnout, but since most Cat 5's have convinced themselves that safety is mostly a problem caused by "the other guy," I'm not hopeful.

I agree that people should do group rides before racing, but that's easy for us to say. We know the scene. Back in 2005 I did my first Cat 5 race before I did any group rides, simply because I did not know such rides existed. I was merely a commuter and lakefront hero -- how would I have known? Cycling was pretty insular back then. It's gotten better, but it still is pretty unwelcoming to newbies.
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Old 05-20-09, 03:02 PM   #21
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I didn't have any trouble riding with the pack in my first USCF race, a 4 corner crit - points race ... I got lapped 4 times!

The next day was hilly though, and I did finish with the pack. But that was back in 1979 when I was just 19. Ahhh, those were the days ...
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Old 05-21-09, 01:55 PM   #22
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I didn't have any trouble riding with the pack in my first USCF race, a 4 corner crit - points race ... I got lapped 4 times!

The next day was hilly though, and I did finish with the pack. But that was back in 1979 when I was just 19. Ahhh, those were the days ...
I thought bike racing was invented by Lance Armstrong in the 1990's?
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Old 05-21-09, 04:09 PM   #23
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Hey, I'm in training for the next BFNIC Classic and Vintage. Has anyone showed up in wool and a hairnet helmet yet???

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Old 05-22-09, 03:55 AM   #24
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Nope ... still can't let this one go.

From http://www.kevinabutler.com/2009/05/...nsters-of.html

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