Superweek Days 4, 5, 6
Meet the Reilands
After the first races I headed down to meet my host family. The Reilands
totally rule. The Superweek
promoters only ask that host families provide a place to sleep, a place to
shower, and a place to store a bike-but the Reilands are going way above and
beyond all that. The whole family is really easy to get along with, always
laughing and joking around together. You’ve got Andy, he’s really laid back but
you can tell that everyone totally gives him respect as the head of the family.
Mom, Steph is really vivacious, joking and laughing all of the time. Hanging out
with Tyler, the five year old is like watching a continuous loop of Bill Cosby’s
‘Kids say the darndest things’. I’m crashing in Tyler’s room while he takes a
spot on the floor in mom and dad’s room. I arrived here after Tyler had gone to
bed; Andy and Steph told me that at 5am the next day he woke them up to ask if
he could ‘go look at the biker guy’. Melissa is the oldest of the kids; she is
totally hot and looks like she should be appearing in a Neutrogena commercial any
day now. If you are a good looking, nice guy and go to Univ of Wisconsin, you
should totally ask her out. No funny business though, her brother AJ can
probably kick your ass. AJ is a budding hockey star - the guy is huge. He seems
really nice, but I don’t think I’d want him coming at me on the ice.
Monday, July 14th
Today is the Alpine Valley road race. I’m not doing this one for a few
reasons…. 1. I can’t climb. Six foot- 185 pounders have to pick their battles.
2. I don’t have any important road races for the rest of the season, so crit
fitness and speed work are more important to me than 100 mile slogs up and down
every hill in Wisconsin. 3. I’m a man, not a machine - I have to take at least
one day off.
Some guy from Ukraine won. He must be a stud because the course profile
showed two really steep climbs every lap.
Today’s discovery: Since I had some time to kill, I went into Milwaukee and
bought some used CD’s, explored downtown, blah, blah, blah….
The really story here is Culver’s! Culver’s is a heavenly regional restaurant
chain where they specialize in frozen custard and a magnificent little item
called a ‘Butterburger’. I saw the sign and almost caused a pileup on the
highway swerving over four lanes to make the turn. The words ‘butter’ and
‘burger’ combined into one wonderful amalgamation was too strong of a siren’s
song for me to resist. I don’t know why they call it a Butterburger and I really
don’t care - all I know is that you need to hook yourself up if you are ever in
the Wisconsin area. One caveat, Culver’s onion rings blow. Stick to the fries.
No onion rings can stack up to the big buttermilk battered vidalias available in
the south. Also, since I ascribe to the Eddie B. ‘raw or nearly raw’ meat school
of though, it would be nice if you could order a rare burger. Just a few little
outbreaks of salmonella and everyone gets all paranoid - go figure.
Tuesday, July 15th
Point Beer MGA Proving Grounds Road Race 165km
I know I said I wasn’t going to do the road races up here, since the whole
point of coming to Superweek was to gain crit fitness and build a peak for the
upcoming Mengoni GP, Elite Crit Nats, and the Carolina Cup. My teammate Curtis,
who came to Superweek a few years ago, told me to do this race and insisted that
the course ruled. Of course Curtis came here as a cat 3 and didn’t have to do
like 103 miles and I doubt the wind was howling at 30mph the day he raced here.
I also had no one to feed me and it’s looking like today will be a scorcher. I
decided that I would race, ride as hard as possible, and quit after 100k if I
didn’t make the break. I carried like 6 bottles, just in case I did make the
break and ate enough breakfast to almost make me hurl since I’d have no room for
food in my pockets. I consumed about 1200 calories three hours before the race
and had to lie down and moan for a while, but at least I’d be bonk-proof in case
I need to ride the entire distance.
Within 5 min of the start I got pushed off the road and down into the ditch
by someone weaving like a drunk on the first climb. Note to racers… Nobody
thinks you are strong because you can climb the 10% grade in the big ring. Sit
down and quit flailing around like a moron. (Switching to southern drawl...) Are
you ridin’ that bike or wrasslin’ it?
After a short chase I got back on and commenced to sucking down water and
endurox as fast as I could. I just wanted to get rid of all these bottles
because I felt like I was climbing with a cinder block in back of my jersey.
The first move went on the howling crosswind section with like 12-15 guys in
it, including overall leader Rapinski. The pack chased for a while and somehow
another group of 5-6 extracted themselves and were riding in no man’s land
behind the break. Since I had now missed two moves, I decided to enact the "ride
my legs off for 100km and then quit" plan. The course was basically square and
the wind was blowing harder than Justin Timberlake sucks. The loop also featured
73 climbs per lap. The hardest section was a long series of stair step rollers
with a killer cross wind rolling across the open fields on either side of the
road. Since no one seemed interested in forming an echelon, we lined out on the
shoulder of the road, 110 guys suffering in unison. I figured it would be no
harder riding to the front than it was gutter groveling in the cross wind, so I
pulled out and rode by the whole pack from the last 20 guys all the way to the
front. I don’t know if I meant to just move up or why I did it, but by the time
I got to the front I was really cooking, so I just put my head down and rolled
on by. After about 10 minutes of excruciating pain I had bridged to the chase
group. The only problem with the chase group was their lack of chase. I think
about 4 guys out of the 6 had teammates in the first group so it seemed only
luck that they hadn’t been reeled back in yet. I tried to encourage everyone to
take their pulls (which usually works better than just cussing everybody out),
but it was no use. A few other riders made the bridge from behind and we started
rolling pretty briskly, if not too well organized, once our number swelled to
about ten guys.
Those of us who were actually driving the break kept trying to attack and
bridge while the front group held about a 2 minute gap on us. I got off a few
times but the group always came back to us. I went once on my own, then again
with Robbie Ventura (USPS). A Bianchi guy came up to us and just sat on; only
taking a pull about every third rotation (he had Sven Teutenberg ahead in the
first group). The three of us stayed off for a lap and actually gained time on
the leaders. Every time someone attacked however, the group would chase until it
came back and then sit up again. After Ventura and I were caught I decided to
recover and go once more, if I don’t make it this time I’ll call it a day.
The chase group continued to swell as more riders come on from behind but
with our lack of coordination, the leaders were up to over 4 minutes on us.
Reports from the feed zone told that the peloton behind us was shredded into
about three groups by this point.
True to my word I attacked once more in the feed zone at lap to six.
Say what you want about attacking in the feed zone, but it had a little hill,
was pretty sheltered from the wind, and I didn’t have anyone handing up bottles
so I just went for it. If I don’t get a feed, nobody gets a feed.
I was trying to catch Cameron Hughes (Lemond/Crazy Soap) who had gone just a
little bit earlier but I ended up chasing him at about 10 seconds with the group
behind me at 30 sec for another lap in the wind. When it became obvious I
couldn’t get to Hughes, I just sat up and soft pedaled to the feed zone with the
group before climbing off.
Mission accomplished - 100k “a todo gas”.
I got a good laugh about the fact that the entire group of no working a-holes
I was with got caught by the remainder of the peloton after I packed it…. Not
chasing down your teammates in one thing guys, but when they are 5 min gone, you
can pretty much resume racing, or you can get caught - suckaz!
Wednesday, July 16th
Baymont Inns Whitnall Park Road Race 85km
This wasn’t really a RR, but a crit length course worth double points in the
Superweek overall. There was one sharp corner leading into a short climb, then a
gentle bend followed by a second climb and a chicane-y descent back to the line.
This race really pissed me off because I rode really well the entire time,
even rolling up the climb right up front and cracking some legs in the pack.
With one lap to go I got squeezed really bad coming up the second climb and had
to put a foot down to keep from falling over the curb as people tried to swarm
to the front.
Thursday, July 17th
Saturn Humbolt Park Crit 100km
This crit really hurt my feelings. Nice 180 degree corner at the base of a
long gradual climb. This exactly the kind of course that will usually break me.
I’m a true rouleur and my two biggest weaknesses are lack of jump and climbs.
When you mix those two I’m really screwed. If you weren’t in the front 20 guys
to the corner you could almost guarantee to have to sprint up the climb from a
dead stop. My legs are feeling pretty heavy after all those solo efforts at MGA,
plus all those climbs up last night’s circuit. I pulled out with 20 laps to go.
I didn’t get dropped, I just quit. When you are riding at the front and
suffering it is one thing. You expect to suffer up front and that’s ok. When you
are sitting in the back and riding near your limit, it’s just demoralizing.
I must say of tonight’s race that Gordon McCauley (Schroeder
Iron) is my new hero. His teammates Olsen and Knudsen got away and lapped
the field with sprint jersey wearer Frank Pipp (Athletes by Design). After they
came around McCauley just sat on the front and pulled for like 30 laps. When I
say ‘pulled’, I don’t mean ‘rode tempo’ or any crap like that. By ‘pulled’ I
mean “Oh God in heaven and baby Jesus, please make him stop!” It was carnage at
the back with people falling off the entire time, people hacking and wheezing
trying to stay on terms. I may have seen a few grown men crying. It was pretty
impressive. I made a deal with myself not to quit until he pulled off, just so I
would know that one man didn’t punish me like that. I was relieved when he
finally gave up the pace making and I could quit with my dignity intact. I was
even more relieved when I stopped at Culver’s for a chocolate milkshake and a
butterburger on the way back to Waukesha.
Stay tuned for the next installment for Superweek’s exciting conclusion (for
me at least):
Prepare yourself for my triumphant return to the money spots.
Steel yourself for the nail biting play by play.
Starve yourself so that you can enjoy some guilt-free frozen custard and cheese
P.S.. How ‘bout der Kaiser, eh? Hope Jan, hope, hope Jan.