Tour De C-U

6 May

Before I get to the cycling let me recognize some of our Brooks Integrative Training athletes who competed in Saturday’s Indy Mini Marathon. Julie Renshaw participated in her 30th straight Mini on Saturday, this time walking the course with her sister, who participated for the 1st time. Angelia Kniesly cruised through the event in 1:55; Anthony Barr came home in 1:44 and Josh Ginsburg had this to share about his Mini experience:

After the somewhat dreary forecast all week, coming on the heels of a horrific Boston Marathon tragedy, two things quickly became apparent upon stepping into the “C” corral on Saturday morning, just after 7 a.m.; the weather conditions were arguably ideal with overcast skies and high 50s temperatures AND the presence of security was far more prevalent. Those two attributes set the 2013 edition of the One America Mini Marathon, apart from any other.

Having entered yesterday’s event with less than ideal training over the last few weeks, I was mentally in ‘happy place’ where my focus was simply to enjoy, find my rhythm, and once there, stay there. What unfolded was a freakishly even, and perhaps best ran race- regardless of personal condition – than I ever have completed. My opening mile of 7:27 was followed by another twelve splits that never strayed further than two seconds from that mark, resulting in a 1:37:42, which was a 7:28/ mile average.

More importantly, Jenni completed her first Mini Marathon, in 2:55, and that was far more gratifying, even if I had ran under 1:30. Great day, wonderful experience, and we will certainly be back in 2014. Our sights now turn to Tour de Cure, where I will do the 100 mile event and Jenni the 50K.

I am now looking forward to more dedicated time in the saddle and seeing friendly, familiar faces, more often. … ’nuff of this running stuff! ūüėČ Well done to all of you!

Mike Garrison participated in the 3 State 3 Mountain Bicycle Tour on Saturday in very soggy and treacherous conditions. Mike shared a sobering summary:

Definitely not one of the more “ideal” days for riding a century this past Saturday.¬† 50’s and solid rain for all 7 hours and 100 miles.¬† But, those kinds of days make finishing a ride like that all the more satisfying!
I can honestly say that there were two things keeping me going.
1) Lots of experience racing in lousy conditions during adventure races and learning not to quit, (mind over matter all the way!).
2) Constant reminders to “spin smooth circles” on all those uphills that I really wasn’t prepared for.¬† Other than the final kicker on Burkhalter, where I was doing everything and anything in my power to keep that bike going and not put a foot down, I was very steady (albeit slow) on all the climbs.
I’ll have a ride report done in the next couple days.¬† If you want to check out the route, I think this link will take you to my ride data.
You likely already heard from Tim and/or Larry, but there was unfortunately a fatality at the bottom of the final descent off of Lookout Mountain.¬† I rode by shortly after the accident, before they had removed the body.¬† Very sobering, and a solemn reminder about how fragile we all are when we’re out on our bikes.

The Tour de C-U is an annual event consisting of two criterium courses on or near the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Although the weather was dismal on Saturday with steady rain and only tolerable with heavy cloud cover on Sunday, the events were well run. The promoters did a great job in securing the courses well ahead of race time and despite the rain, kept the spectators entertained with their non-stop chatter. The promoter’s organization extended to post race activities as well. Immediately following races, podium finishers were called to the podium for pictures and interviews. And finally, results were posted and payouts were awarded in very quick fashion. We’ve all been there where results are taking forever to tabulate, sometimes having to wait 2 or more hours to find out if we finished in the money or not. Not so at Tour de C-U. Druber and Co. were organized, efficient and entertaining both days.

Saturday’s course was a 4-corner loop with wide turns¬†and a slight rise out of turn 2. Wind and rain played the larger role in Saturday’s race. I entered the Masters 35+ category and lined up with maybe 20 other nuts willing to race in a steady rain. Of the 20 riders a handful were active, including myself, in attacking or bridging to breaks. John Schmidt of Indianapolis was one of the main animators of the race.

About half way through the race I was brought back from an attack when a rider from Enzo’s countered the move. The pack let him go, never to be seen again. He stayed away and took a hard earned victory. At 6 laps to go I was brought back again when another rider countered the move, and he, too, stayed away for 2nd place. John Schmidt rolled off the front of the group on the final lap and opened a gap that no one was willing to close, earning himself a nice 3rd place and the final podium spot. I began my sprint before the final turn and opened enough of a gap to hold the spot for a 4th place finish.

Sunday’s course was a pure Crit. specialists course with 8 turns tightly packed into 1 kilometer of racing. I was entered in a combined 35+/45+ category and the field size doubled with nearly 40 riders. Although it did rain early Sunday, by race time the course was mostly dry so the only weather element was wind, which was howling from the east (in our faces) on the back side of the course. With the larger field and fresh legs on those who did not race Saturday, the pace was hot from the start. The attacking never let up until about half way through the 50 minute event when 3 riders slipped away, including Ben Weaver of Columbus, IN, the eventual winner of the race.

The tight course can be tough to negotiate and I normally labor on these courses. Yesterday was no different, but I did manage to get to the front a couple of times. After the 3 man break was established, attacking resumed. An Enzo’s rider launched off the front. With his gap widening, I jumped hard and made the bridge, rolling through him in hopes of working to break away from the peloton. To my chagrin, one of the rider’s teammates was sitting on my wheel the entire bridge. In bike racing, when you have a teammate off the front, your job is to sit on anyone trying to bridge to your teammate and that’s what the Enzos rider did. Once we passed the former off-the-front rider, the pack was breathing down our necks so I let up. The pack saw this and let up; and then the rider who took my wheel for a lap, jumped. Tired from chasing, the pack relented,¬†allowing the rider to¬†stay away for 4th place.

After a lap or two of sedated effort,¬†the fury resumed with 6 or 7 laps to go. Guys were taking all kinds of chances, diving into corners where no space was available, in hopes of gaining front position for the final sprint.¬†It was interval hell over those final laps;¬†I’d move up, fall back, move up, fall back. In the end I finished approximately 14th and was 7th in the 45+ group.

Overall, the weekend was an enjoyable one spent at a very well run race weekend. I highly recommend this weekend for those looking to break out of the normal local racing routine next year.


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