Quad City Crit
By Josh -
I was fairly frustrated with my Memorial Day weekend races leading up to the Quad city crit. Saturday was a rough day at the snake. I got stuck behind three crashes, two of them at the base of the snake making it so I had to run up the entire snake on the first lap, which made a top finish nearly impossible. Then 5 laps in, I dropped my chain on the uphill before the snake. All and all not the best day for me. I saw Mike and Max with 2 to go after I got pulled. Mike was looking real good leading out a small group from the 4th or 5th place with 2 laps to go. Mike ended up with 8th. Max had a hard neck-and-neck sprint that put him just out of the money in 16th.
The next day’s race wasn’t much better. I had a typical slow start and got stuck behind a big group of juniors and guys who would brake out of fear of the speed bump at the base of the hill. I was able to catch back on to the main pack on the climb but then got stuck right behind a very stupid crash in the turns just after the hill. After that I was playing catch up the rest of the race. On the morning of the quad city race I was feeling optimistic about the day. Mike was going to do the masters race earlier in the day so our goal was to lead Max out in the 4’s race. I knew I wanted to be as close to the front as possible as soon as I could to try and keep the pace high and bring back any breaks. Hopefully Max would be near me at the end so I could punch a whole in the air for him going in to the finish.
I had a good but not great start that had me toward the back half of the pack. I saw Mike and Max and slowly tried to move my way closer. About 3 laps in I was getting anxious to get to the front so I put a handful of strong jumps in and weaved my way to 5th wheel. A few laps after I got to the front there where a lot of crashes in the field over a period of about 3 laps. After we went past one of them I looked around and couldn’t see Max or Mike so I figure they got stuck back behind one of the crashes.
It looked like there were a few dozen of us in the lead pack so I decided to hold 3rd wheel as best I could and try to make the podium from a field sprint. With 4 to go there was a big jump of about 3 guys from a few wheels back. I was a bit slow to respond but we pulled them back within half a lap and I ended up taking a pull at the front to try and string out the pack a bit more. As we came in with 2 to go I went back to about 6th wheel to catch my breath.
The pace slowly started to ramp up. As we came around for the bell, the pack was still mostly together. I decided I was going to make a hard jump at the turn that marked about 1/3 of a lap to go, hoping I would take it down to just me and a few others. I made my jump and got as much acceleration as I could muster and got as low as I could. I dove for the 2nd-to-last turn and jumped again dropping down one more cog. As I got to the final turn, the lead car had slowed and I came damn close to hitting it coming out of that turn! I gave one last hard push and aimed for the line. As I approached I herd the announcer say, “this guy coming from the Cuttin’ Crew is coming in with a big lead!” I didn’t believe him so I gave a look back and I had about 8 to 10 bike lengths on the next guy. I posted up but not until after passing the line because I still didn’t believe it.
It was also cool to see J Rho in the big race at one point mixing elbows with Miller of HTC which was bad ass. She spent most of the race ahead of the pro women! It was great to watch. She pulled in some breaks and looked in amazing form and even finished in the money!