Monday, June 4, 2012

Quad cities weekend 2012

Quad Cities is a three day weekend of awesome, unique, races that a lot of racers like Kevin Livingston, Christian Vandevelde, Jason McCartney, Bjorn Selander, and Cole House who later would become pros came through here and raced juniors well. The Junior fields that come to this race are some of the largest in the Midwest, often numbering above 50 riders of 15-16 and 17-18 racers. There is also large fields in the other categories, the pro/1/2 race often numbers around 150 riders. My dad did this race several times a a cat 4 and 3 when he was in his twenties. The first day is the infamous Snake alley.

This beast may only be 12 percent, but with its brutal corner pitches and bumpy cobbles It is painful even for the pros. It was made in the late 1800s, and is the crookedest street in the world. Because of how hard this course is being mainly uphill and downhill, it has little strategy. Except for at the front of the juniors and the pros, most of the race simply consists of going as fast as you can up the "snake" and keeping your speed at the bottom of the downhill. Also because the snake is relatively thin, people can get choked off in the corners. As a result the start is almost as fast as a Cross or MTB race.

 We had eight Juniors for the 15-18 race, Kaleb, Pete, Max, myself, Garret, Joe, Theo, Matt, and Sam. For the 12-14 race there was Simon and Alex. Earlier in the 10-14's Simon got on the podium. I was the third row to be called up. When the gun went off, I stumbled getting into my pedal and had a bad start. As we went into the corner, I saw Brian Gaines and Pete tangle up and go down! That was bad, he was one of our strongest riders. Fortunately, he ended up fine and finished the race. I started farther back but moved up 4-5 spots every time up the snake, moving up to Max and Garret up the road. I finally managed to get to the front of the second group and was pulling up to the front group with Max and Garret right by me, when I mechanical-ed. My chain some how got stuck in between my cassette and chain stay. My dad ran down the hill to help me get it out. Once he did, I continued the race and moved from dead last to mid pack at 33rd. Garret finished 16th, Max 17th, Kaleb 22nd, Joe 24th, Matt 31st, Theo 32nd, Sam 43rd, and Pete finishing despite his crash at 46th.

The next day was Melon city. the course is oval with a tight corner out of the start, a downhill, a speed bump, a uphill, and a 180 degree corner into the finish. It is a rather technical and high speed course. I am tired after doing Snake, so I decide to do only one race, the cat 4, which are later in the afternoon. I get to sleep in till about 9 o clock. I hear that my team did good in Juniors, Max got 3rd, Pete 7th, Kaleb 8th, Theo 19th, garret 27th, Matt 28th, Joe 37th, and Sam 45th. Alex also did well in 10-14 with a 3rd place, and Simon 6th. The 4's race was fast right off the bat, and I used up to much energy chasing things down when I could feel my legs were not good. As a result I got dropped with 4 to go on the slight uphill. I still finished 22nd.

The last day was Rock Island.  A flat, figure-eight course with lots of corners. This time I got up early to do Juniors. At the start line it was sunny. We started, and immediately three riders went off the front. I ignored it and concentrated on positioning myself. Eventually one of them, Richard Rainville, got away from the other two. Then it started raining. The laps were incredibly fast, which only makes sense, as there was multi-time National Champions, cat 2s, and people who went to Euro camp in the field. When there is rain, on corners, and on cross walks people crash. And crash they did! As I sat on Garret's wheel, I listened to the sounds of carnage behind me. Every time I came around I was grinning. Eventually after sitting third wheel for a while, I ended up in front. So I took the opportunity to drill it. I felt fantastic and was in my element! After a lap of that, Kaleb came to the front to chase down the solo break of Richard. I stuck on his wheel, with Garret and Max on mine. IScorp had a really good train going there for a while, it was awesome! Eventually, another Junior named Rudy came to the front and drilled it, and I stayed on Kaleb's wheel. Coming into the last lap I was on Kaleb's wheel, in a select group of 20 or so riders, the only ones left of the original group of 60. Things started to get really fast, so I made a aggressive move on one of the corners to gain positions and I crashed. I only slid on the oily pavement and I was fine, albeit frustrated. I got my bike untangled and finished. I still got 5th in 15-16, and about 20th overall. Kaleb killed it for first place 17-18, just a foot or so shy of winning overall to Richard. the rest of them I am not quite sure since they still don't have results up but I think Max got 4th and Theo 8th, no clue on the others.

After the juniors I did cat 4's. I positioned myself well the whole race, but in the sprint for positions on the backside of the course, I was to tired, and fell back. As a result I got stuck behind a crash and had to put my foot down. I still got 17th.

The entire weekend was a ton of fun, and while I had some bad luck, I learned a lot and had a blast! IScorp killed it, Thanks to Lowell, Mike, and Billy for keeping all us boys fully operational, my team mates Kaleb, Max, Garret, Joe, Theo, Matt, Simon, and Alex for racing strong!