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Race Report: Parkside #3, 3/26/06. University of Wisconsin – Parkside Campus. About 1 mile, rectangular campus road. Temperature in the upper 30s with 10 mph wind and bright sunshine.

Feeling good today and am determined to go off the front on a break today. 39 riders get the whistle and are off for 45 minutes plus two laps.

On about the third lap, I’m moving up on the downwind side between corners one and two and see two riders jumping off the front. They already have about 20 bike lengths and I give it what I’ve got. I power up the hill and look to see that no one is following me so have to bridge by myself. Down the back straight into the wind as hard as I can go. This really hurts. I catch them in corner three and hang on for dear life. After another lap, we have about a quarter lap lead and need to get out of site. I put in a hard pull even though I haven’t recovered from the bridge. They go hard out of corner one and I just can’t hold on. I’m about 10 feet back, in the wind and losing ground. I sit up and pedal easy until the pack catches me and get back on. The wait is all I need to recover and I feel good again. I tried my break and one of these times I’ll stay.

About half way through we come around to the front straight and find that we are following the ambulance – never a good sign. Turns out that there was a wheel touch going up the hill that caused a bit of a domino affect taking out at least 5 riders. Learned later that a friend was about to become a victim and pulled a little Lance off-road – jumped the curb, across the grass and back on to the course. Nobody needed to go to the hospital, but I don’t know the extent of any injuries.

While in the pack I spend the time picking experienced riders and getting on their wheel to see how they move up. The moves are totally different in the hustle for position in the last three laps than the have been throughout the race – much more deliberate as to where they are going and who they are following.

Meanwhile, nobody is willing to do the work necessary to chase down the break and they eventually cross the line one-two. The rest of us are sprinting for third. On the last lap coming into corner four I get on the wheel of one of the good sprinters who is behind two of his team mates for a lead out. The lead out goes and another rider gets between him and his team and drops us both back a few spaces. Around turn four and I sprint. I’m holding my own and pass a couple of riders. Seventh in the sprint and 9th overall. I feel this is my best finish ever and my best RACE ever.

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