sideshow bob

did you ever notice some fireworks look like sideshow bob's hair? that's all i could think of last night watching the fireworks. wondering when i'd see sideshow bob.
it hasn't rained in ages in the southwest 'burbs of chicago, so of course it rained on the 4th of july all day on and off. i guess it's a good thing as the ground was pretty dry (dry being an understatement) so the rain i'm sure warned off many lawnfires. we got ready to hit the OF fireworks over by the park district. they always put on a damn fine show. this year was no different... but to get there by bike, we were bundled in rain gear and soaked by the time we got there. but i guess that's what made it special. i'll always remember it for that reason.
but anyway... the race weekend.
john, casey and i left saturday morning for the stanford's for a ride up to the inaugural chippewa firecracker in eau claire. it was a hectic morning... on our way to wors #5. my how quick time flies. our watches were fast so we thought we were way late... turns out it wasn't too bad, but we stopped for donuts anyway. we pulled up, everyone was hanging out in the driveway. i offered up some donuts and mike was all over it. we got the van loaded and everyone got situated for the long drive up. we had a yukon, instead of the van, so setup inside was a bit different. before we even got out of the cul-de-sac i offered up the donuts... at first i was given the look of "donuts, nah, we are healthy racers", but that didn't last long before everyone dug in for their favorite.
aside from sara freaking out about directions the ride was pretty uneventful. i don't even know what time we left or what time we go there.
john, mike and zach all headed out for a preride and sara and i hung out to pre-ride together. casey pulled me around for a bit on the back of the trike and sara tried to take it from her, but case was having none of that.
soon the guys returned. sara, tony, beth and i all headed out for a pre-ride. we took it a bit slow as beth had a torn tendon or ligament in her left hand. there were a lot of people preriding the course while we were out there. there was lots of singletrack. i thought it was a blast, but I was nervous about it as a racecourse.
after the preride brought up the usual question of "where to eat". turns out our hotel had the best looking restaurant around. once inside the menu confirmed it was a good choice. i unfortunately wasn't happy with the lasagna i ordered, so i snacked on other's plates and wished i'd gotten a hamburger.
it was getting late so we headed up to the room to get cleaned up and go to bed. it never fails, somebody always has a bad case of gas... never a dull moment.
wake up call was about 7 am, but as usual we all laid in bed for few extra moments.
breakfast was at the local micky d's. next stop, the race venue. wouldn't ya know, it starts pouring as we get to the event. wind was blowing like crazy. we all sat and felt sorry for ourselves for a bit. finally we got motivated and started to get ready. the rain stopped and the wind died down. we all went and picked up our numbers. turns out the chippewa firecracker had child daycare. how cool is that? it made life simple for the Gattos for sure.
anyway, race time was 11:30 for me... i warmed up with tony for awhile and headed back for staging. i decided that i wasn't going to blow myself up at the start. the past couple races i've started awesome... but then just watched everyone pass just as we'd gotten to the singletrack cuz my heart was stretching out my rib cage... not that my results have been bad, but how demoralizing to watch everyone pass you right at the beginning? anyway, don said Gooooo and we were off... the start wasn't too fast... in fact i could see the leaders the whole 3 miles or whatever it was. my strength is definitely not open flat trail on the grass. all i could think of was the singletrack and how fun it would be... finally made it to the singletrack. i felt like i came to a halt. all the women screaming c'mon... rider, rider... i knew it was going to be like this the whole first lap. unfortunately there were only 2 laps for this race. i rammed my tire into a number of riders in the first lap of singletrack. riders just coming to complete halts in the singletrack. panic-braking in turns or dowhills. if you are walking or fall down and can't get back on your bike... get out of the way! geez. i will say i definitely need to work on my singletrack passing. although it's hard to pass the clydes when there are a couple of them bunched together. some help you out, some don't. i had a bummer start for the second lap. i was sooo looking forward to that section of singletrack that started the new lap. unfortunately i don't think the guy in front of me was. i kept asking if there was room... he never budged. He was a bit big and that singletrack was super twisty and tight. But that's racing i guess.
end of the second lap i was behind a racer in the next age group up... she was ok in the singletrack but i ran into her twice as she struggled on the root lined short ups... i couldn't get by her. everytime i tried to pass her she accelerated so i couldn't get by. it's like she'd see my tire and be like nuh uh and push a little harder, then i'd have to get back because of the trees... then she would slow up again. i tried a couple times and wore myself out a bit so when the open came my legs were tired. i wanted to sprint her to the finish but i couldn't. i'd like to think that was her strategy, but i don't think it was. sitting here right now, i feel like i could've outsprinted her. but who doesn't when it's over.
I can’t complain about my race. My start wasn’t where I’d like it to be. I want to be able to hang at the beginning as to not get hung up as bad in the singletrack. I do need to be more aggressive about passing is well. I rode well in the singletrack, however. When some of the other racers were hung up I was able to stay upright and power pass them on most opportunities. I know my strengths and my weaknesses. So hopefully I will be better at each race.
The race was a short one. I was done in an hour and about 16 minutes. I finished in plenty of time to cruise around and chat with other racers and friends and still have plenty of time to get dressed to watch the elite racers start.
There was a big field with the combination of the MN riders there as well. The national anthem was done and it seemed like forever before don said Gooooo!!! I watched the men take off. It was a fast start as usual. I couldn’t see any of the D’Arcy guys with all the dust and other racers. No comps from the team were there so I walked over to wish Sara luck. It was nice to see more than 10 woman in the elite field. They were off and it was just a matter of time before I would be needed at the feed zone.
I ran over and picked up Casey. We walked over to get a smoothie and an ice cream cone and headed over to Tony and Beth’s tent to watch the race and feed the team.
For the most part the race was uneventful. I could tell Mike was having a good race. He passed at one point just chatting up a storm with a fellow racer flying by (and then wondering later where I was)… Zach moved up the field as usual. I could tell John was struggling a little and not having an optimal day. Sara looked good. After John passed for the last time I headed towards the finish to welcome everyone. Sara was the first to come in. She looked like she fought a hard one by the look and color of her face. She fought hard with a fellow elite racer who finished just in front of her. We laughed about her dirty face for a bit and watched as the rest of the field came in. Mike was the first to arrive. A little bummed about some leg cramps but excited about his finish and even more excited about what could’ve been if he hadn’t cramped. Zach followed a few minutes later. He had a decent crash on the last lap that left him tumbling for awhile. The spectators I’m sure were talking about him for awhile. He lost a bunch of places so he was a bit bummed about it. John followed shortly after. He crashed himself on the last lap towards the end but only lost about one position.
All in all a good weekend. We all have good days and bad. We just hope the good outweigh the bad.
WORS cup next. Ready?