MSU Road Race
The course was laps of an 8 mile loop with 4 miles of dirt roads. My race was in the second wave of races so the dirt roads had some try to dry out a bit more without getting dusty. There were eight Marian riders, seven Lindenwood, and four Purdue riders at the start. The rest of the field consisted of teams represented by one or two riders.
The first two laps were continual attacks instigated primarily by Lindenwood and Marian riders. The first two times through the dirt section saw gaps open frequently in all areas of the field so there was a lot of welding gaps and chasing. The frustrating part of being a one-man team was being unable to follow all the moves; going with a select few, and letting others go without being able to put up a fight. After two laps of racing a break finally formed and the field slowed to a casual conversational pace for the next couple laps. The casual pace was probably a good thing since I had lost a bottle of Infinit in the dirt section on the second lap and only had a water hand up during the race. The race picked up a bit on the last lap, and I tried to get good positioning for the sprint, but without much knowledge of the other riders it was a lot of gambling. I didn’t end up picking a good wheel, and ended up rolling across 8th in the sprint, 16th for the day. It was a day that left me a bit frustrated and looking forward to the next day.
Being outnumbered was the story of the weekend
Drove in with Thomas from our “host housing”, to meet both our bicycles and the Calvin College Team, bright and early in time for the first races of the day. I enjoyed snapping some photos of the Men D, and C races and then it was off to the McDonalds up the road for oatmeal, coffee, and a live feed of the Tour of Flanders. After getting caffeinated, fueled, and giddy watching Tommeke win in Flanders, it was time to get back to the course to get ready and have some of Infinit’s Mud to top off my pre-race meal. I broke the rule of not messing with equipment before a race by changing my tires from the puncture resistant tires I used for the road race to my Bontrager R3s for the crit. Also, with the Madone being new I hadn’t nailed down the perfect saddle position so I made a few adjustments there, but it finally felt PERFECT. Topped the perfect pre-race prep with some Soigneur and I felt good.
The road was 95% dry by the time we started which helped assuage any concerns about wet corners. The first lap there was already a move by Marian and in my excitement I followed the obviously doomed first lap move. The race was then a series of attacks primarily by Marian and Lindenwood. Purdue, Northwestern, Notre Dame, and myself stayed active ourselves, and with the continual activity the field eventually split and I was on the front side of the move. After a short period without too many attacks and a lot of distance to the rest of the field a trio with one Marian, Lindenwood, and Purdue made it off the front and managed to stay away and close the last bit of distance to lap the field. Our move still had a few attacks but nothing that stuck, and then with the closing laps it settled. With one Marian making a flyer with 1.5 laps to go and nobody chasing, the sprint was on for 5th. I had to gamble again on sprint positioning but being in a break and having a little better feel for the other riders I had much better positioning from the day before. The downhill sprint made for a sustained sprint and I had a good wheel, but wasn’t able to close on the last Marian who started a couple wheels up. I was pretty content ending the day 6th overall. Having to race with no teammates against a few strong teams and individuals it makes me look forward to racing this summer with teammates.
Next race will be Purdue which should be an interesting event with Linsdsey Wilson back from spring break to add some variety to the inevitable attacks by pairs ofMarian and Lindenwood.
Another great write up on the racing can be found here.Peter (Photo Credit to Nick Afton, and Thomas Beebe)