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In order to do this race we had to start out pretty early in the morning on Sunday. I was up at 5:00 am and getting things ready. One of my teammates and another one of my buddies showed up a little before 6:00. We loaded everything up, complained about how cold and early it was then we jumped in the truck and began our 4 1/2 hour, 228 mile drive.

The drive was pretty uneventful. We took turns driving and made pretty good time. We pulled into the parking lot about 10:45 or so. Plenty of time to register, get dressed and warm up. Well, we thought so anyway. We ended up walking over to the gas station to register. When we walked in we were amazed at the line. There had to be at least 30 - 40 people in line at this point. We filled out our paperwork then waited. Then we waited a little more. About 15 minutes into the wait I made a mistake, I rubbed my eye and messed up my contact lense. I had no solution and wasn't about to get out of that line. I ended up just dropping it and hoping for the best. Ten minutes later we reached the front of the line, got registered and received our transponders.

We went back to the truck and started getting the bikes out and ready. Next thing I knew it was 20 minutes before start time. I dug out my clothes and got dressed (bibs, leg warmers, jersey, craft wind proof base layer, arm warmers, shoe covers). Temp was around 40 degrees and sunny. I had time to warm up about two miles. Then I came back and stood around for about 30 minutes. Oh well, I don't think anyone else is going to benefit too much from their warm ups after standing around that long anyway. We had to do two laps. Each lap was about 15 miles and had one climb that was about 5/8's a mile long with an average grade of 11% - 12%. Not too bad but nothing to sneeze at either.

Now the cat 1/2/3's took off. A couple minutes later the 3's left, followed by the cat 4's and then finally my group, the cat 5's. Everything started out pretty relaxed, just a little quicker than usual since the first few miles were primarily flat or downhill. We were on some very low traffic country tar and chipped road. In my opinion it was perfect.

We were rolling along pretty well for the first eight miles, that is when we hit the first climb. At this point I was about mid pack. There was a total of 48 people in our group. We started up the hill and some people started falling back. I topped the climb second or third. A little group formed and we sorta / kinda pulled off for a few minutes. That is when Jason of 7 Hills Racing took off. I was hoping the group would decide to work together to catch him but it didn't seem to work out that way. I didn't think he was really planning on soloing it from here but I didn't want to chance it, he's too fast to let get too far away. I took off and about two or three miles later was able to catch him. I did almost crash at one point while chasing him. Turns out that one of the curves is a little too sharp to take at 40 mph. Oops.

Anyway, once I caught him he just sat up. We exchanged hello's then just relaxed a bit until the group caught up. After that he rode at the front and I rode about mid pack. Thought it may be a good idea to rest a little while. During the ride I do have to give Billy some credit. He was great about getting into the pace lines and then allowing me in. It's amazing how much having a teammate helps.

The group rode together once again until the hill. The group was quite a bit smaller now, probably just about 25 - 30 riders. Once we got close to the hill I got up closer to the front, probably around 5th or 6th position. When we got to the hill I just kind of hunkered down and started spinning. Towards the top Jason pulled up beside of me and slowly started pulling off. There was one other person in front of me at this point. Next thing I knew Jason just stood up and he was gone. The other rider did manage to grab his wheel. I was too far back, not a chance for me.

Now there were five of us together in the chase group, one of which being my teammate Billy. There was one 7 Hills racer in our group and two other individuals. I started pulling pretty hard for about three or four minutes. I then pulled off to let someone else pull. No one would take the pull. I started pulling again then I pulled off quick and sat up. One other racer did start pulling. The second rider in line let me back in. Not exactly what I wanted. About 20 seconds later the guy pulling pulled out of line leaving me to pull again. I pulled about 30 seconds and pulled off. Now another guy took the pull for a few seconds, then Billy took the pull. Now the 7 hills rider was at the front and just kind of sat up. I don't blame him a bit, that's his job, plus I believe that is what his team car told him to do . Why should he pull when he has a rider in the break away? Anyway, I go by him and begin pulling. I try to give up my pull but no one except my own teammate would take the pull. This went on for a couple of minutes and I actually started getting a bit upset. I thought well if they are that tired then they won't come after me if I take off right? Wrong! I took off and they were back on my wheel within a minute.

I sat up a minute, let Billy take a pull so I could rest a few seconds then I took off again. This time no one followed, I guess they were a bit tired. I worked my butt off trying to bridge the gap. My heart rate was staying right around 170 - 174 bpm at this point (my threshold is 167). I just kept going for the next three miles. I could see Jason and the other rider ahead of me but still pretty far off, chances of catching them were looking grim. About that time I noticed that second place rider dropped! I had a chance! It took a couple more minutes but I was finally able to catch up with second place right before the last climb. Not a big climb but enough to get my attention. I stayed on his wheel for about 30 seconds, I didn't have much left at this point. Then I looked back and saw a few riders coming. I went around him about halfway up the hill. I topped the hill ahead of him and saw the finish line about 200 yards away. I gave it all I had. I looked back and saw that he was a good bit back so I was able to set up a little. I finished in second!!!! On top of that Billy finished sixth! Not a bad day for our team, Mazza Winery / Inferno Racing.

Here is a link to the results.

So far this year I have one win, one second place, two third place finishes and a dnf. The dnf was a result of a friend of mine crashing, being knocked unconscious for 20 minutes and getting to ride in an ambulance to the ER. I chose to abandon the race and ride in the ambulance with her.
 

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let me get the right...
you were in a cat 5 race and someone had a team car?!?
Was it his wife?

we don't even get that privilage as Cat 3s

neutral support only.

good race report though. Thanks for the read. Did you ask the others in the pack to take a pull. Some Cat 5's aren't experienced enough to know how to work a paceline. I can understand your frusturation though. Sucks when you see the race falling apart and no one willing to real it in with you.

temporary friendship is totaly necesary at Cat 3,4,5
 

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450 mile round trip is way too far for a cat 5 race. You need to move to where there is more racing.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
dfleck said:
let me get the right...
you were in a cat 5 race and someone had a team car?!?
Was it his wife?

we don't even get that privilage as Cat 3s

neutral support only.

good race report though. Thanks for the read. Did you ask the others in the pack to take a pull. Some Cat 5's aren't experienced enough to know how to work a paceline. I can understand your frusturation though. Sucks when you see the race falling apart and no one willing to real it in with you.

temporary friendship is totaly necesary at Cat 3,4,5
At this race their team had ten riders. I have no idea who was driving the team car.

I did try to get the others to work together. It didn't seem to work too well. I think they were pretty much out of gas.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
MR_GRUMPY said:
450 mile round trip is way too far for a cat 5 race. You need to move to where there is more racing.
This weekend we will be driving about 630 miles. We will get to do two races. Unfortunately that is what I have to do in order to race. It's worth it. I am looking forward to mountain bike season though. The races are much more local.
 

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You need to move to the Chicago area. We have races every weekend except the weekends of 4/1, 7/15, 8/5, 8/19, 9/2, and 10/14. Half the weekends have races both days. Most within 50 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
MR_GRUMPY said:
You need to move to the Chicago area. We have races every weekend except the weekends of 4/1, 7/15, 8/5, 8/19, 9/2, and 10/14. Half the weekends have races both days. Most within 50 miles.
There's no way I could handle living any where near Chicago. I'm too much of a country boy.
 

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"Now another guy took the pull for a few seconds, then Billy took the pull. Now the 7 hills rider was at the front and just kind of sat up. I don't blame him a bit, that's his job, plus I believe that is what his team car told him to do . Why should he pull when he has a rider in the break away?"

That's a classic mistake -- defensive tactics from a losing position. They isolated a weaker rider against Jason (the winner), and then he blows. If you look at the dominant teams like Coors Light, Mercury, etc they were always looking to pump up the break with numerical superiority. The 7 hills rider should have ridden with you instead of sitting on. Of course it's 20-20 hindsight and it still doesn't guarantee anything, but it's always better to ride aggressively as you can.

Nice job taking second. I like how you attacked again when the 1st attack failed to shake your opponents loose. It seems like you also realize you know what to do next time -- don't let yourself get separated from the Jason character, who is obviously a cut above the other competitors right now.
 

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Once you get out near Elgin, it is country.
There are only a very few races in Chicago. Most of the races are in Southern Wisconsin, far suburban Chicagoland, or an hours drive northwest of Chicago.
 
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