Winning Weather, Winning Performances

18 Aug

The Midwest Spring dumped unending showers of rain on us, along with cooler than normal temperatures that threatened to undermine the fitness we all worked so hard to attain during the winter months. Yet as spring finally acquiesced to summer we were blessed with near perfect competition conditions every weekend. This weekend may have been the pick of the summer with cool morning temps hovering near 60 degrees, clear blue skies and just enough wind to simulate those infamous Indiana Mountains.

Many members of the B.I.T. community took advantage of Mother Nature’s blessing by participating in a number of events held over the weekend. In addition to the Speedway Grand Prix on Friday night, other athletes competed in the Eagle Creek Duathlon or the Gran Fondo over on the northeast side of Indy.

The Speedway Grand Prix served as a kick off to the Moto GP weekend and coincided with the Ducati gathering on Main Street, just south of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The town has made big strides in cleaning up former brownfields properties,redeveloping the once stagnant economic area. Personally, it was nice for me to see the renovations because I assessed much of the property prior to redevelopment. Local businesses remained opened and several local employees came out to watch and question us racers about our sport. Most onlookers seemed pleased for the influx of people into their little neck of the world.

Keeping the crowd entertained and informed was the inimitable Bill Stone. Bill’s wit and insight sometimes flew over the heads of those in the audience, but those with keen ears caught the back stories of racers nicknames; like John “Suitcase” Schmitz who earned his monikor via the huge saddle bag he used to carry under his saddle. The bag would sway back and forth whenever he got out of the saddle to chase a break away. Eventually, folks began shouting, ‘Go get ’em, Suitcase.’

Stone also complimented the pro,1,2 racers for their dietary discipline, explaining to the audience that these guys are super fast and super skinny. They eat meals consisting of bird seed and yogurt, washed down with a few drops of water and perhaps an Italian coffee.

The course was a four corner, wide open loop that rarely required any braking. Only approaching turn 4 did you ever need to feather your brakes. Otherwise, racers could hit the gas at any point on the course. Us old guys began the evening of racing with a combined 40+/50+ field of 28 riders. We raced for 5 money spots, but were scored seperately according to age group.

Ben Weaver opend the attacking on lap 1, followed by Chris Kroll, Don Birch and then Damian Magoos. Matthew Grate took a dig, and then Weaver’s teammate, Craig Eigenbrod flew off the front for a lap or 2. The wind, however, created quite an obstacle for a loan rider and Eigenbrod was reeled in. Another of Weaver’s teammates took a solo flyer, once again stringing out the field into a single file, on the rivet chase. Upon capture, Weaver launched again and this one was for real.

Kroll and Birch latched onto the train while I was initially stuck in traffic. Grate was in front of me through turn 1 and into the headwind, but he could not quite get onto the back wheel of Birch. As we moved into the wind, the leaders began growing their gap. I let grate pull until he noticeably weakend and then I launched, bridging to the break. No one came with me and once I made the juncture, away we went.

The Break

The Break

The four of us worked smoothly with each taking his share of the pulls. After the race, Weaver even said, ‘we raced friendly.’ And that would make sense at this late point of the season. The four of us have known each other for years, having raced against one another numerous times through the seasons. Kroll, Birch and I each knew Weaver was the man to beat, yet we all each had our own ambitions as well, and this often plays into the hands of the strongest rider.

Weaver has won 10 or more races this season in all manner of situations; long small break aways, large field sprints, in cross wind conditions and even in the rain. Ben has simply had an amazing season, due in part to his incredible jump. Weaver rarely loses a sprint. Stone on the microphone even commented that these other guys might start attacking to try and wear out the sprinter in the group.

As it was, the attacks were few and brief. We did manage to position Weaver on the front as we began the final lap and forced him to lead into the wind to turn 2. But as we approached the turn, Ben astutely kept going straight, right into the road barricade and the dead end. Kroll was on Weaver’s wheel and left with the choice of following Weaver into the barricade or turning through the turn and being placed on the front.

To give an example how much thinking goes on in split second decisions during our races, i was thinking if Kroll follows him right here, I am jumping and hoping to break clear of these guys. Kroll however, did take the turn and lead us through turn 2 and through turn 3. Then it got testy.

Weaver attacked from behind, we all jumped out of our saddles and then Weaver quickly sat back down before being forced onto the front. Kroll was slow to sit back down, a bit frustrated at the faux attack by Weaver. Again, it was split second thinking that caught the Badger off guard. I noted Kroll’s slow reaction and waited for him to finally sit back down into his saddle. As he did so, I rose out of mine and attacked.



By this point we were were halfway to turn 4 and it became a race to get to that turn first. Whoever got it first was likely to take the win. Weaver was lightning quick, pulling even to me in the blink of an eye and pinning me to the outside as a match spinter on the velodrome would do. I had no choice but to give Ben the lane and the lead into turn 4. At this point we all had our pedal to the floor and there was no beating Weaver; he took the win easily. I held 2nd and was awarded First Place in the 50+ Category. Kroll and Birch took 3rd and 4th.

At this point let me thank Frank Oboh for coming out to cheer me on. You’ll recall Frank suffered some bad injuries in a crash at the IMS in the June 8 Tour de Cure. Frank is mostly reocvered now, riding and enjoying his bike again and was quite enthused by the spectacle of the racing. It was good to share laughs and cycling with Frank.

I did stick around and race the Pro,1,2,3 event with the bird seed-eating super cyclists. Appropriately enough, Chad Birdman Burdzulauskas won the event. Mark Dewart’s son, Graham took 2nd place. I don’t have a lot of recollection from this one as the average speed was 29 mph. At times, I made efforts to move up into the front 10 and those efforts left me cross eyed for 2 or 3 laps thereafter. Attacks continued throughout the entire hour of racing. Nonetheless, the pack was still all together with 3 laps to go. Having just brought back another group who’d been off the front, the pack settled in to regroup for the final laps and I figured this was my slim chance to slip away from these guys so I gave it a go.

I did open a gap with Mike Lantz and John Puffer joining me. After my pull Lantz came through with Puffer barrelling through about 4 mph faster than Mike and I. Had Puffer joined the right company he may have stolen the race. Unfortunately, I was cooked and waited (at 27 mph) for the pack to consume me, sitting at the back of the bunch over the final 2 laps. put on a very good event on a safe and fast course that was very spectator friendly. The Speedway Wheelman team provided excellent support for the event. Thanks and kudos to Darren and the Team.

Confidence ;)

Confidence 😉

Deb DuBois competed in the Eagle Creek Duathlon Saturday morning and you can see by the pre-race photo she was feeling her oats. As a spectator sipping my huge volumes of coffee I felt sorry for the triathletes who had to jump into frigid waters as the first portion of their race. Those frigid thoughts were quickly forgotten however, as I ran into friends competing in the triathlon. Doug Trumpey had a super race, finishing in the top 10. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Scott Baumer this year, a Category 2 racer for the Indie Bike Team. Scott was competing in his first ever triathlon Saturday morning.

Deb started strong with a good first run, covering the 2 miles quicker than recent running events. Deb again improved her average speed on the bike, acknowleding the benefit of those Monday night rides, and then she finished with another 5 K run that was strong enough to solidify another first place in age group. Great job, Deb!



Good Form

Good Form

While Deb competed on the west side, several B.I.T. athletes participated in the RollFast Gran Fondo over on the east side. Angelia Kniesely, Matt Edwards, Henry Kim and Phelgar Washington all rode the medium route of 62 miles. Living a short 10 miles from the start/finish, Angelia and Matt rode over to the event. Anthony Barr, David Wilkes, Larry Stevens, Todd Wingett and David Kaplan rode the long route, 103 miles worth. Robin Barr rode the 32 mile route.

Angelia and David Kaplan both reported that the first nine miles were neutralized by a police escort that made things a bit sketchy with all ability levels mixed together. While some riders relaxed at what for them was an easy pace, less experienced riders labored to keep up, sometimes causing near mishaps. Just after the police gave way and the pack unleashed the hounds, there was a crash.

Angelia, Matt and Henry rode together in a larger group that included Phelgar. The four of them turned for the medium route at mile 31 where they began working together such that others riders dropped from their group, leaving the four of them to cover the 2nd half by themselves.

Angelia with Matt to her right and Henry to her left

Angelia with Matt to her right and Henry to her left

They say familiarity breeds confidence and success. Angelia finished the Medium route at the First Female finisher. Matt finished 9th overall and 3rd in his age group while Henry finished 14th overall and 2nd in his age group. Great job to all!

Dr. Wilkes hung with the lead group of 100-milers to the first SAG where he stopped to top off his water bottles while many in the group hammered on. From that point Wilkes enjoyed the ride, taking pulls with those in his group but all the while monitoring his energy expenditure. Relaxed and enjoying his Triton Brewery beer when I called to check on him, the doctor was pleased with the event. Meanwhile, David Kaplan hung with the leaders to the half way point at 52 miles. Kaplan decided to take on fuel and just as he put a clif bar down the hatch, the hammer dropped. Out of position and unable to bridge the gap on the pot-holed, rough roads, David lost contact with the lead group. Thereafter, Kaplan settled in with a group and enjoyed the great weather and scenery the event afforded.

Anthony suffered leg cramps, but did manage to finish the 103 miles in good enough condition to still enjoy his beer. I did not hear from Larry, Todd or Robin about their rides, but I did see Todd along the route. As always, Todd was smooth and strong at about mile 90 as he rode by. Out on an easy training ride with Brian Murphy, I had the pleasure of running into Angelia and Matt on their ride home from the fondo. Brian and I rode backwards on the route and saw the leaders in the final miles. There were pained looks on some of those faces, but all the B.I.T. athletes looked fluid and strong. Great job to all who rode.

With Mother Nature’s blessing, the Monday night rides are gaining popularity and that may have something to do with the post ride beers. Or the cupcakes. We ride every Monday night at 6:30 from Fishback Academy at 86th/Lafayette. Hope to see some of you there. The group is comprised mostly of riders who participate in my winter training program. On that note, I’ve opened registration for this winter’s training. Those interested my contact me for info and/or a flyer at

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