I arrived in Madison, Wisconsin on Thursday and was promptly picked up by my mechanic, Doug Sumi. I got out for a spin through the flat farmlands east of Madison, Wi. We settled in with our host house family, the Dettmer’s, and then headed out for Ramen with friends James Sullivan and Gary.
Doug spent Thursday morning setting up at the venue so when we rolled in for pre-ride on Friday it was all smooth sailing and fast to get on the course.
The course was tweaked from last year in a good way. Renee Callaway, and the crew that put the race on threw in some trickier Belgium-esque sections that made the race much better. It would require a bit more technical skill and not straight fitness like last year. If it was wet the course would have been epic! Some of the steep off camber sections would have been quite hazardous if not completely unrideable, however, it was dry and dusty.
Friday night we hung out with our host family, Peter and Connie, and then I made Tacos. I did get out before dinner for a quick radio interview with CX Hairs that I am anxious for him to release. We had a great conversation and blew through 45min of talk time without even knowing, “That is the sign of a good interview” he claims. He even treated me to a “scoop” of ice cream at the “Bean n’Cream” in downtown Sun Prairie, which was more like a stout bowl (don’t worry I am no waster and ate the whole thing).
Saturday’s race start was 1:15, which was perfect. I hate waiting around for the race to start. I even managed to sleep long enough that I didn’t have to think about consuming two meals before race time, that’s the dream!
The women went at 12 and we kicked off thereafter. Some of the real fast guys decided to sit Saturday out because it was a C2, lower classification race than Sunday. Though, the majority of Telenet raced, which meant the field was stacked.
I managed a good start but found myself finding it hard to cope with the intensity of the Belgium accelerations.
I pulled back the reigns a little bit and found myself riding between two groups for the remainder of the race. While this wasn’t ideal I could ride my own pace and try some different lines to help me be more ready for the big guns on Sunday.
I got to drive “Ricky the Ram” home from the venue while Doug’ums ran 12miles back to the house. I never heard of run commuting before. When Doug got back we had grilled veggies and Pork Tenderloin prepared by Peter and Connie. Then she unveiled a much anticipated homemade pumpkin pie that exceeded expectations. Recovery/sweet tooth needs both met, it was time for bed!
Sunday morning was the same schedule except we woke up to a cheese platter, bacon, and soft boiled eggs rather than smoked salmon, omelettes, and toast/jam. To say we were being spoiled is an understatement.
We got over to the course to see the small changes from Saturday’s course. We had to grapple with a proper steep run up and some other sections of Saturday’s course that we ran backwards.
With the World Champion on the start line it was sure to be even faster than Saturday’s start but I couldn’t quite fathom how. I had a decent start, settling into the top ten, however, again I found myself struggling with the accelerations out of the turns and needed to settle into the second, or third, chase group.
By the last three laps it was myself, Driscoll, Van den Hamme, and Rob Peters battling for eleventh. It all went down on the last lap where I was able to best Van den Hamme but was out sprinted by Driscoll and Peters who distanced us before the finish sprint.
While I wanted to finish in the front of that group, I was still happy with my performance especially after racing Saturday and factoring in the addition of a few faster riders. I only managed to drop two spots.
Doug’ums cleaned up at the venue while I had a nice leisurely spin home and was greeted with enormous amounts of snacks from Peter and Connie.
Then I treated them to Ramen, which was the best I have made so far (I have only made it twice). We killed the rest of the pumpkin pie, had a G&T then called it a night. Doug and I had to rest up, Vegas was looming in the future! Sin City awaits.