(Yep, Taffy Doodles)
Usually I can manage to keep tabs on the racing action, and (sometimes to a fault) report on every teammate's moves, counters, finishes, and results. This is not going to be one of those times. Three days of packing/unpacking the car, setting up camp, changing wheels & cogs & bars, warming up, cooling down, eating the nth granola bar, staying hydrated, checking results, doing Omnium math, not to mention racing, and doing it all over again...it's enough to make your head spin. Apologies in advance, as I know I'm going to space somebody's moment of greatness. I saw some brilliant racing, but I'd be making a fool of myself if I tried to get all the details straight. How many Polish sausages did I eat? Zubaz on the podium? Where's my fifteener? It's all a blur.
A few things must be said, though. The men have it a bit easy, in that we got split into three fields. I had a good run, but I didn't have to go up against the really big guns. The women, on the other hand, are all in one bunch. The top six in their field were brimming with experience at National, Olympic, or other big-ticket events, and a number of them had come from afar to battle it out. It was great to see a couple of local faces standing out: Beth Engwis, a Tuesday Kenosha regular (and Junior National silver medalist) nabbed four podiums to take third overall, and two wins gave Stacy Appelwick second overall, with Kimberly Edwards on the top step. This left a bunch of locals nipping at their heels. They did not go gently.
Our own Rhominatrix, Jannette, had never raced at the track before, but that didn't stop her from hitting the ground running. She finished just behind the "big six" in three events, giving her 7th overall. The Sprockettes, aka Maria, Daphne, and Eleanor from Johnny Sprockets, were right up there with her all weekend, fighting for scraps, and staying in the top ten. Hats off to them, and the rest of the local ladies for standing tall in such a stacked field.
In the P/1/2 field, Liam "cat 5 last year" Donoghue just made the last step on the podium, behind winner Adam Leibovitz, and sprint machine Matt Fox, and just ahead of distance machines Chris Mosora and David Moyer. Al Urbanski made the top ten, riding a 1:11 Kilo along the way, and making moves with the big dogs in the scratch.
The cat 3 men's field had all kinds of threats, but Kaleb Koch's three wins were enough to keep him on top, ahead of Larry Stoegbauer and Gregory Kick (or Sean Vig, tied in points? huh?) Maybe Kaleb will do the rest of the field a favor, and get distracted when he's old enough to get his driver's license. El Jefe Perkins had a solid closing in the 5th-8th sprints and took the win, along with a top 5 in the Kilo.
As for the 4/5s field, they say racing is a battle between who you are and who you want to be. In that case, I want to be Nate Iden, since he could have stayed in bed on day three, and still won the Omnium. Scott Rosenfield was right on my heels in the overall, not to mention side by side in the points race, right down to the wire. The darkest hour for our field was when Trevor Roche hit the deck hard in the chariot, with Robert Higgins, Spencer Oswald, and bus-adoptee Jason 'Pink Sunglasses' Ferguson going down with him. Here's hoping Trevor's back out there shortly, and the rest of the guys heal up quick.
I'm not gonna bore you with the play-by-play, but it was a good haul. In six events, I scored five medals: 2nd in the chariot, 3rd in the match sprints, 1st in the points race, 3rd in the kilo, 3rd in the scratch, and 2nd overall. I'm not grousing, but I made a really bad wheel choice in the pursuit and missed the finals by 2.7 seconds. Lesson learned: don't go with your "favorite wheel" over the disc you should probably use, but don't like. I'm left beating myself up over What Might Have Been.
I know it's "just" a cat 4/5 field, and I'm not going to ever repeat this kind of performance as I move up, but it's nice to have a high water mark on the season, and this fits the bill for sure. Thanks and props to Jeff, for driving the bus, both literally and figuratively, Al, for all the advice and putting up with me asking "what gear should I use?" for the 300th time, Brian and Josh for watching Chicago's back, Tresa for putting up with all this, the kids for screaming in turn four, and Jannette and the Sprockettes for taking pictures and making me blush on the podium.
Now do yourself a favor and go see the full results, and remind yourself that these racers, organizers, and officials pulled off 46 events in 48 hours. Hats off to everyone behind this, and especially Allvoi for working so hard to bring a class event to these parts.