I guess since I was on the podium today, it’s my job to write the race report, which I’ll do with pleasure. I can’t say enough good things about the teamwork that Peter and Geoff have carried out so far at Superweek. It feels really good to be the most dominant Cat. 3 team at Superweek.
Day 4 of our Superweek trip took us to Milwaukee’s beautiful Lakefront course, a classic race course that’s been used as a national championship venue in the past, with the likes of Greg Lemond winning here in the past.
Anyway, the ominous “scattered thunderstorm” forecast quickly gave way to mild, humid, and sunny weather for the duration of our race. Perfect conditions.
The course is a combination of two climbs into the historic neighborhoods of northeast Milwaukee, and two descents; connected by a long mostly flat stretch along Lake Michigan that leads to the finish line. The climbing adds to about 240 feet per lap, with just about 4.25 miles per lap.
The field stayed together for the first lap or two until a breakaway of 4 to 6 riders gained a little gap over the top of the 2nd climb, and continued to edge out a lead for a lap or so. We decided this was a dangerous move, so Geoff got to the front and strung out the field, while Peter and I quickly followed up his effort with our own strong pulls. The gap quickly closed, and soon we were all back together.
After a few more laps, another break of 4 or 5 went up the road. We decided we wanted to tighten the leash on this group too, so Peter and I went to the front and took some long intense pulls, helped out by a few guys from other teams. On the first climb shortly after the start/finish line, I continued the hard tempo up the hill. As I started to slow down from my effort at the front, Geoff hammered past me over the top of the hill and bridged a 200 meter gap to the breakaway in about 30 seconds, continuing up another shallow rise through the feedzone.
At that point, Peter and I rested in the field, surprised that no one else took up the chase to a very threatening breakaway that now contained Geoff. Over the next few laps, Geoff’s group extended their lead to at least 30 or 40 seconds as the rest of the field refused to raise the tempo. I commented to Peter once or twice that the race was over. We knew Geoff could win easily from that group.
Much to our surprise, a series of attacks and counterattacks, coupled with the breakaway’s lack of cohesion brought Geoff’s group back. Peter and I managed to cover every move that was made, defending Geoff’s position and hoping for a free ride to the leaders.
With 5 or 6 laps to go, Geoff’s group finally came back together between the first descent and the second climb. After the entire field sat up to recover, I went to the front and continued a steady 18 mph pace. Expecting everyone to be sitting in behind me, I looked back to see a gap between the field and I. Another racer soon joined me and that was it. He actually dropped me on the climb, but waited for me to catch up. I later learned that the pack behind us went up the hill ridiculously slow.
After trading good pulls for about 3 laps, I could tell my breakaway partner was starting to tire. Going up the hill right after two laps to go, I got a gap on him, and decided to go alone. Those hills for the last two laps seriously hurt (I was in the 39×25, struggling, going up the last climb of the race). Luckily I had Geoff and Peter discouraging anything resembling a chase. Once I came over the last hill with no one else in sight, I knew I could hold the lead for the last 1.5 miles with a tailwind. I continued driving hard until right before the finish when I was able to celebrate for a bit. I stuck around to see Sean, our friend from DePaul finish solo in 2nd place. A group of 5 or 6 took the places after him, and Geoff and Peter came across for 11th and 12th respectively, after getting boxed in in the field sprint.
It was a really rewarding day, considering our teamwork, the beautiful course, and the long duration of the race. Our goals for the rest of the week include continuing our streak of podium everyday.