Crits end with one person sauntering to the top step of the podium, and 22 guys standing around talking about how they could have won “but.” Or that they thought that had a podium finish locked up “until.” Or that they only need to change a couple of “small things” and they’ll be hitting the podium, too.
That’s not a knock on those guys. That’s the nature of the sport. A large number of people toe the line. Only one gets to win.
You might race a great race. And you might make the perfect move on the last lap. And you might be exactly where you need to be, when you want to be there, on the last damn lap going into the last damn technical turn of the race. You’re so close you can feel it. You’re mentally spending your race winnings- you’re going to use that check to hire Photofax and get the lowdown on your competition. It’s going to be grand!
Then you might just leave the door too open going into the last 180 degree turn, and you might be unable to unhitch the trailer and put down the watts. You might get passed by more guys than you’ve ever been passed by in the last 200 meters. When it’s you against a whole bunch of talented people, that’s just the way it goes, sometimes.
That’s what makes this sport so different than any other. You might be in great shape. You might ride a great race. You might even get that little bit of luck. You might not win. There are so many variables. Everybody is racing great “until” or “but” one or two of those “small things” rear their ugly head.
It’s like playing the slot machines. The line between glorious victory and catching a beating is razor-thin. You’re always so close. Sometimes you might even hit the jackpot. Even if you haven’t, you’re close enough that you’re sure you going to hit it soon. You’ll never hit it if you’re not trying, anyway. That much is for sure.
That’s what keeps us coming back. Even when you’re beaten, you’re still so close that you’re sure the next win is right around the corner.
There are no guarantees in this sport. There are no guarantees in anything except, perhaps, home lending. The Lincoln Park Crit is pretty close to a guarantee, though. It’s a a guaranteed great race, with a promise to keep punishing you until you don’t want to be on your bike anymore.
And, that’s where we were this weekend. Punishing ourselves at xXx Racing’s Lincoln Park Crit. It’s a fantastic race at Montrose Harbor. It features a course that might look unremarkable on paper, but races at tough as any crit in the area. It doesn’t just feature the tightest 180 of any local crit course, this year it also featured snow and a stiff wind that blasted riders out of the 180, down a hill, and into a long sweeper to the finish line. Or, to put it another way, it featured 850 watt jumps once a lap until you either got off your bike in shame, or the race was over.
It hurts you on every lap.
As is becoming a theme, Mara grabbed the bull-by-the-horns and tamed the 180. She got off the front of a stacked Women’s 4′s race with a Cuttin’ Crew lady and pulled out to a 12 second lead. After a very sizable crowd prime was called (only for the pack) the lead duo was caught by about 4 chasers. The pack closed on some lapped traffic as they were half way through the bell lap. Two riders separated at the sprint, and Mara took an impressive second-place sprinting close to the barriers:
Perhaps more impressive, Mara and Ashley later lined up in a stacked Beth Kobeszka Memorial Women’s Open race that featured national and state champions. Both ladies did a great job sticking with the pack. Mara (who has since been upgraded to Cat 3) wound it up from very far out and was able to hang on for 4th. Ashley motored in 9th for the 10th top 10 of her (not even a year old) racing career. Nice work, ladies!
Other newsworthy finishes include ROK Coaching scoring it’s 7th (or is it 8th?) Elite P/1/2 win of the year when Nicolai Brøchner lapped the field in a 3 man break and sprinted his way to the win. Coach didn’t do too shabby, either. He took an impressive 9th considering that attrition in that race was over 50% (See his report for more, “It was like a boxing match out there. Attack after attack with hard cross winds and the field kept getting smaller and smaller.“)
Wondering how it is that Rob and Nicolai get these smashing results? Come by the shop this Saturday for a free talk, and Rob will give you the pointers. Free advice often isn’t free. This time it is, though.
On Sunday, the beatings didn’t stop. The team was spread throughout the state. Justin Somerville and Eric Christ raced their way to a pair of 5th’s at Sylvan Island Stampede. Guiober, David Johnson, Don, Bob Marshall, and Katie Paradis fought the wind at the John Fraser Memorial Time Trial. And an insanely fast group opted to skip the more favorable wind around the “Donald J. Fee Family Dental” loop to Sugar Grove and, instead got dragged around the 60 mile Hampshire loop by PFK.
In two weeks we’re headed to Cobb Park. You know what’s exciting about that? We might just get lucky and see George Ryan on home confinement! Also, and more importantly, it’s the first race where we’re going to try and give our riders their entry fees back. We’re looking forward to writing a lot of checks. See you there!
Address: 124 West State Street Geneva Il. 60134
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