These Memorial Day weekend races are some of my favorite races, mostly because they were my first real races 2 years ago when I was getting my feet wet as a cat 4. Mike and I battled it out all weekend long for cat 4 dominance (he won), and then would watch the big boys battle it out in the afternoon.
I remember watching the Pro, 1,2 races and wondering how people could ever even ride up The Snake 20 times in 1 day. 2006 was when Toyota United brought a full squad and had the US Pro RR champ Chris Wherry tearing up the weekend... Good times.
Since I already updated you on the happenings at Snake Alley, I guess I should give you the low down on the other two crits from the weekend.
Melon City was fast from the gun and I very easily could have had the worst legs I've had all season. I tried to pull an early solo bridge to move that had gotten a bit of a gap... in the process of going across, I realized that I wouldn't be able to put my nose in the wind much, if I wanted to have anything left for the end. So for the next hour, I tried conserve and hope no breaks got away. The long fast downhill ensured that there would be a field sprint. I put down a hard effort on the hill and tried to pick the right line through the chaos. I came into the last corner in 9th place and thats where I stayed. Mike represented well with a 6th place on the day as well.
After a night of recovery acting my own personal soigner, I woke the next day for the Quad Cities Cage Match. I was just hoping for some better legs and to keep it upright until the chaos of the last 5 laps. I started near the back of the field and was readying myself for a fight to get to the front, but it ended up being an easy ride to the front in just a few corners. I few moves came and went and nothing was really materializing, I tried to stay up front to keep an eye on anything that looked too dangerous. About half way through the race I ended up in off the front in a good move with some nice representation, Rob and Ryan White, Chad Hartley from Jittery Joes, The Burdman from RoadHouse, some guy from Successful Living, Bianchi GP, and Alex Boyd. We rolled it for a bit, but the hot spot sprints weren't helping us stay organized. Some were more motivated that others and we came back after a bit of time off the front. I was still feeling pretty good, but I decided to find the big boys and watch them for the sprint. ABD, Roadhouse, and GP all acted like they were going to lead out the race from about 10 to go on down to 5 to go. I just tried to avoid the swarms until someone took control. Once we saw 5 to go, ABD and Roadhouse took control and kept the pace high, this made it a lot easier on me, and I just followed wheels and tried to hold my spot. The important corner was the 2nd to last corner. There wasn't much moving up going on after that corner. On the last lap, I was sitting 5th wheel with 3 corners to go and went to make my jump towards the front, just as I was jumping, John Grant pulled off the Texas Roadhouse leadout and we got tangled a bit. I'm glad no one went down, because he's an IU guy and a good friend, it just sucks we had to have that little run in. Anyway, as a result I lost a couple spots and finished exactly how I went into the 2nd to last corner, another 9th place. As nice as it was to scrape out a 9th place the day before with such bad legs, it was equally disappointing to come up with another 9th place when I felt so good coming down the stretch. Overall it was a good trip to Iowa and I can't wait for next years return trip.
Looking at the calendar for the month of May and I calculated that I have done 14 races in 28 days, so what I'm saying is that I'll be having another light week, as the legs were still stinging from my 2 week stint in Arkansas. This weekend I'll be heading up to Chicago to some crits in Winfield, including the ABR Criterium Championships of the Universe. It's about time to win something...