Important Memorial Day Weekend Masters Race Update

Attention riders, as most of you have heard, we had to cancel the second half of our Sunday stage of the Memorial Day Weekend Masters race. 

However, the Monday weather looks hot and dry and we'll be out there at 7:45 ready to rock!

Due to the cancellation we will be rolling any Sunday pre-registrations for the Men 50/55, 40+ 1/2/3, 40+ Cat 4 and Men 30+ into Monday.

  • If you pre-registered for the entire series we will issue an ABD race voucher for your Sunday entry that is good for one of the Winfield races, TWO nights of Wednesday Night racing a stage of the Fall Fling or the ABD round of the Chicago Cross Cup at Sunrise Park.
  • If you registered for a second race of the day on Sunday (and didn't get to race it) we will issue a voucher good for a second race of day at the aforementioned events or a Wednesday Night race at the Pelladrome.
  • If you aren't planning on doing any of those races we can issue a refund- but note that 1/3 of $65 is less than the value of an entry fee!

We're also adjusting the overall prizes for the Men 50/55, 40+ 1/2/3, 40+ Cat 4 and  30+. We are extremely disappointed to make this change, but the prize money for this series comes directly from entry fees and since we didn't have any entry fees from stage 2 we’ll be adjusting the overall for those categories to two-thirds of the posted list. The revised prize list is posted here.

Thanks to everyone for supporting our races as we do it for the love of the sport.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please send us an email at abdcycling@gmail.com and we hope to see you all on Monday!


Northbrook Report: Stacy and Kristen Off to a Great Start


Kristen and I had a ton of fun last week at the track in Northbrook. My fiancé Chris was nice enough to write up a report for us. Yep, I messed up the win-and-out (read below). More learning is done with every race!



Last Thursday was the first night of racing of the 2011 season at the Ed Rudolph velodrome in Northbrook IL. Officially the preious Thursday was opening night, but it unfortunately got rained out.

Kristen and Stacy were there in attendance to represent the ABD colors in the surprisingly large women's 1,2,3 field. And represent well is what they did!

In an impressive display of team work they worked together to ensure ABD took the top spot in ALL of the women's events of the night, and only missed taking both first and second place in the last race of the evening in an event known as the "Belgium win-and-out" due more to inexperience racing together than anything else. The Belgium win-and-out is an admittedly confusing race where 1st place is actually fifth place, and fifth place is actually 1st (more info at , http://www.northbrookvelodrome.org/information/glossary-of-racing-terms/ ) and in a moment of confusion between Kristen and Stacy, Francine Haas, who rides for Alberto's, as able to capitalize on the situation and take 2nd place, but Kristen secured 1st with Stacy close in reserve.

The best example of Kristen and Stacy's teamwork though was in the 5 mile scratch race. A scratch race is just a plain old race to the finish. They attacked and counter attacked several times to get Kristen away off the front. She strongly time trialed it in for the win while Stacy was able to rest in the pack so she could sprint for 2nd place. It was really fun to watch them work together so well! I think it's just a sign of the things the ABD women can accomplish when they work successfully as a team!

Since these gals LOVE racing their bikes, they both jumped in with some of the men's fields to get in more racing for the evening giving a strong showing in each. I think pretty much everyone who attended last night would admit that the performance of the evening was Stacy winning the cat 3, 15 lap tempo race! --Yes you read that right, she won against cat 3 men in arguably one of the hardest of track endurance events there is!

The tempo event is where the field sprints for points on EVERY lap, and the points are only awarded to the top two riders (2 points,and 1 point respectively). Anyone who has raced this event knows how unrelenting the pace is the entire time, and though I lost count of the point total, I can say Stacy it won it with a comfortable margin by both going off the front a couple of times and also out-sprinting the field! --Wow!

All in all it was a VERY successful night on the track for the ABD women's team with both girls winning two events each for a total of 4 races with ABD on the top step and two more second places--Not bad for an evening's racing!



Memorial Day Weekend Masters Reg Deal Extended Through Tonight - Save $10!

We’ve extended the Memorial Day Weekend Masters Races Pre-Registration Deal through tonight at Midnight- race all three events for just $65!

The 7th Annual Memorial Day Weekend Masters events are this Saturday, Sunday and Monday and feature over $4,000 in daily and overall prizes.

The races are all held at the fun and fast Wood Dale criterium courses (also the site of Redline Racing’s Illinois State Championship) with Monday featuring the combined 1.6 mile circuit race course.

Pre-registration will close tonight but Day-of-race registration will be available and entry fees will be $25 per race.

Full details, a flyer and prize lists are available at www.ABDcycling.com


Monsters of the Midway: Hogan Takes the Win

Reposted from Hogan's Heroes

I didn't think the day would ever come, but it did. School actually ended! My sacrificing of my social life and training paid off, and I'm now officially a junior. What a relief! Now training to become the next Cancellara commences (yeah right Hogan, in your dreams). I've got a big year of racing ahead of me and I'm going to need all the training I can get. On the schedule are races like Dairyland, Elite Nationals, Superweek, and Elk Grove, to name a few. I actually raced my first criterium of the year, Monsters of the Midway, a week after school got out. The weather was just great. I mean 50 degrees, raining, and 20 mph winds, what more could you ask for? I was planning on riding my new team Trek Madone for the race, but with all the great weather, I didn't want the sun to glisten off the frame and blind the other riders.
So maybe the weather wasn't so great and it scared away a number of riders, as we only had about 25 guys in our field. Still, there were some big names at the start line, including two Bissell amateur riders that no one knew but who obviously looked strong. About three laps in, one of the Bissell riders and Patrick Fasse of Bicycle Heaven attacked and had about a 5 second gap. I saw this was a good move and bridged up to them, then got to the front and started driving the pace. The Bissell rider wasn't looking too convinced that we would stay away and I wasn't trying to play any games this early in the race, so I continued to take some hard pulls until we got about 20 seconds on the field. For the rest of the race we were just dangling in front of the field about 20-30 seconds ahead, but I knew that if I could get the Bissell rider and Fasse to go all in then we would make it. It comes down to the final lap, and I stop pulling about halfway down the back stretch. We start to play "cat and mouse" and start to slow down. I looked back and saw that the gap was still at least 20 seconds, so I figured we couldn't possibly be caught going around the last two turns. I was wrong. As we exited the final turn with about 300 meters to go, I see Fasse open up the sprint. I was a little confused at his tactic because it was way too early to start the sprint. A moment later and I understood why he started sprinting already. I see a rider out of the corner of my eye sprinting all out, and then it hit me that the field had caught us! I of course take this as my cue to start my sprint, and was able to come around Fasse and the Bissell rider with about 50 meters to go to take the win. A little too close for comfort! Still, a win at Monsters is a great way to start the season and I was happy to know that the decrease in my training hadn't hurt me that much. I couldn't find a photo of the finish, but I'm pretty sure my victory salute was something along the lines of this:

Hey, it's better than having someone from the field pass you in the final meters for an embarrassing post-up like this:

To top it off I got to celebrate my 21st birthday the following Monday. I decided to go back to Purdue for the night and go out with my buddies and...well, I'll leave out the details. Anyway, the Tour de Champaign is this following weekend, something I've been looking forward to for a long time. I always enjoy racing in front of my family and friends, but most of all I enjoy not having to pack a bag and driving 10 minutes to the race. If all goes smoothly it's going to be a fun weekend of racing.

WTWNTC? Rich Johnson Wednesday Night Report

I am still laughing at this! This guy comes dressed up as a hedgehog and steals the show last night. I don't think anyone there laughed so darn hard. At first we thought maybe the guy in the costume had one to many DUI's and was just walking home from work. Then he started running along the riders as they came down the home stretch. Then he went around the other side of the course and sat in the corner for a bit. Then, the kicker! He made his way around to Scott Witt, who was marshaling turn 1 with his tunes jamming. Then we all saw it. Scott and the hedgehog were dancing in the streets!

A bunch of riders came out tonight, I think our best attendance yet. Patrick Fasse called out our elite men's squad as he was dropping the hammer tonight (where were you guys?) Then, this new girl, who we later found out was with team Tati and brand new to racing or cycling, came out and attempted to steal the show without Andy Kerr and the other 100 Bicycle Heaven riders even knowing. She was strong and went off the front on Andy Kerr and collected some points. As a matter of fact, she went so far off the front that we at first thought she was off the back. Her name is Liz So is and the area's elite women need to keep an eye out for this up-and-comer. [Rumor has it Stacy, Kristen and Jessi will be out here next week].

The hedgehog guy has many different costumes that he will be showing up in, and tonight they said something about a red carpet with silent call ups next week.

Also, Steve Crane gets [docked] 5 points for punching the hedgehog in the nose.

We hope Riccio is getting a discount for the amazing primes he brings us week in and week out. And what about Konrad, I think he deserves a little break, or at least more heckling. Those brownies that Sue made for tonight, OH MY GOD DELICIOUS! There was like a candy bar in the middle. Oh so wrong, but oh so yummy at the same time. Can you believe we actually handed out a 6-pack prime tonight? I didn't even drink it!

Andy Kerr, what can I say about this guy. He shows up with a 6-pack ofTwo Brothers Prairie Path ale that was insanely yummy, a very large Rosattis pizza that was delicious, and a 6-pack of some wicked nasty ginger beer in case Konrad [the 16 year old] won a prime. And he almost won it, except Andy Kerr snuck up on him to steal his own prime! The only thing is, people decided to drink it after Konrad didn't get it toteach Andy to pick on little kids :p Seriously, if you haven't triedGinger Beer, DON'T! I don't care what Lisa says, that stuff was madeto clean up bathrooms I think.

What a blast tonight. I don't know if that can be beat, but I am willing to bet that Mayor Hog from Woodstock will try hard next week with whatever he has up his sleeve.

Thanks everyone!

--Rich Johnson


ABD Junior Report: Witt Wins MoM! 3rd at WoW!

On Saturday, May 14th, Konrad took first in the 15-18 juniors’ race at Monsters of the Midway!

On Sunday, May 15th, Konrad headed north to Wheels on Willy in Madison, Wisconsin. There were about 24 riders in the junior field, including 10 ISCorp contenders and 5 Brazen Dropouts. As usual, ISCorp launched numerous riders off the front, keeping the pace fast until they established a two-man break late in the race. Konrad attacked out of the final corner and held off all pursuers to place 3rd, thus ending IS Corp’s recent dominance on the podium.

Later in the Cat 4/5 race, Konrad was a prime monster and sped off with two: cash and knee warmers. He also finished a respectable 8th place, even after spending so much energy chasing primes.

Konrad's dad, Scott, brought along his new camera and managed to get several minutes' worth of video of his own feet and himself screaming "HOLD ON! HOLD ON!  HOLD ON!"


Meshberg Report: Update from the NRC Tour De Grove

Tough weekend for the women's team in St. Louis.  We had 3 crits, only Saturday's was NRC, but most of the people stuck around for Friday and Sunday as well.  Sarah starred in her own version of planes trains and automobiles.  She hoped to save time by flying to St. Louis but got stranded in Chicago all day on Friday missing the Friday night race.  Elena and I drove down on Friday and Stacy was going to drive down on Saturday and meet us at the race.  Friday was successful racing for Elena and I.  It was cool, but dry.  Elena got second in her race and I had my first field finish of the year!

For the rest of the weekend it alternated between drizzling and pouring, was pretty cold, and in general unpleasant.  Saturday Elena slid out on a corner and thought she rolled her tubular but didn't so she did not get a free lap--ending her race just like that.  In the 1/2 race, a fairly technical crit that looked sort of fun had it been dry, Stacy, Sarah, and I felt alright.  Immediately from the start Sarah's brake was rubbing, so that ended her race.  I flatted early and the pit wheel I got was inflated to what felt like 200psi.  I immediately crashed out on the first corner.   I cried like a baby but turned out to be just fine.  I got back in and finished avoiding both the carnage on the final corner and the money to end up 22nd.  Stacy rode like a rock star--it was exciting to see her off the front for a bit while I was in the pit getting my wheel changed-- and she got the last money spot for 20th.

Sunday racing in yet another technical crit with downhill corners was appealing to none of us but we sucked it up, found some motivation and went to the line.  Poor Elena crashed out of the winning 3 person break in the slick rainy downhill corner and dnf'd.  She is fine, though road rashed.  Stacy, Sarah, and I stayed upright.  Stacy finished with the field in 20th, Sarah and I finished otb in 40th and 23rd.  To quote Sarah, "it was kind of like fun, but different."  After the race we dropped Sarah off at the airport and Stacy gave me a ride back to Chicago. Elena had gotten done several hours before us so she had already headed home.  Turns out Sarah's flight was delayed in St. Louis so she missed her connection in Chicago once again stranding her at O'Hare.  Last I heard she'd gotten a ride from some strangers and hopefully made her way back home to Michigan.

Even in all that nastiness we still managed to have a lot of fun.  If we can stay positive under these conditions, I think we can handle just about anything that comes our way.  We had a great time staying with my dear old friends Tim and Danielle and their two adorable boys.  We even enjoyed a fun game of "Chipmunk comes alive in the house after being brought in 'dead' by the cat".

Here's some pics:

Saturday  http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/tour-de-grove-ne-1/nrc-women-pro-1-2/photos/173778

Sunday at the line:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/gopate/5725289184/in/set-72157626730964734


And while these do not feature ABD, it does pretty much sum up the conditions of the weekend:





Prinner Report: Tour of Chongming Island

It was the second time I’d seen a kid on a leash in one day. Restrictive harnesses are no longer reserved solely for pets. I had just survived a 13 hour flight armed only with a biology textbook that, as we all know, provides hours upon hours of entertainment. Never mind a measly novel that surely won’t last a flight from Chicago to Japan; try instead 3000 pages of pure, info-packed fun of everything you never cared to know about the biological processes of life. At one point in the flight, the attendant came on the intercom and calmly asked if there was anyone on board of the medical profession that could help out one of the passengers. I was half tempted to stand up and announce that even though I wasn’t formally educated in the medical field, I did know everything there was to know about the evolution of species, and could inform the passenger of the millions of years that lead up to her existence. And perhaps I might even explain to her that her ailment simply indicated that natural selection was attempting to wipe her weaker genetic makeup out of the gene pool. Then at that moment about 15 babies started crying and I was too distracted to make my announcement.

I arrived in Tokyo excited to see my first glimpse of the country. Unfortunately airports seem to give no justice to the country they’re in. I might as well have been in any other major airport in the world, and I experienced about 0% of Tokyo. My connecting flight from Tokyo to Shanghai, China was much more interesting as they served authentic Japanese plane food, which consisted of sushi, rice with legumes, noodles, a spicy oriental flavored snack mix, and some mysterious salad that they only gave us about two teaspoons of.

After about 16 hours of flight I was exhausted. It’s always confusing how one can be so tired after doing absolutely no physical activity for so long. I also felt disgusting as the weather in Shanghai was sweltering with humidity even though it was 9pm and I was sweating from every inch of my body. We still had about a 3 hour drive to our destination (Chongming Island), during which I passed out on my bus seat and occasionally opened my eyes to catch a glimpse of China here and there.

It was only when we got to our hotel when I realized just how hyped about this race this area was. The hotel was decorated from wall to wall with giant banners advertising the race, and even the elevator doors had top-to-bottom plasters of the race announcing such things as “Wish you successful” and “Come, Go home”. The next day we would see banners on all the lightposts advertising our race and string up along the road. That night I passed out on my rock-hard bed that might as well have been the floor and listened to the continuous sound of honking outside even though there was hardly any traffic.

I think the locals here think we are just the funniest spectacles as they would point to us during our ride today in the ridiculous humidity. I think all of us had a few near death experiences, too, as everyone drives, rides, or walks as though they’re in a crowded city in a third world country. I almost got run over by friendly looking Chinese girl on a moped, until I screamed like bloody murder to keep her from running me into the rickshaw next to her. Nobody seems to find it unusual or perhaps dangerous to just stop and sit in the middle of an 80 mph highway, and forget about obeying intersection lights…unless there’s some complicated new stoplight system I’m unaware of.

Breakfast was a mixture of traditional Chinese food and attempted Western food. Next to my regular hard boiled eggs and orange juice was fried rice and some doughy roll thing with veges inside. Lunch? Nothing abnormal about a platter of broiled chicken pieces including the heads for decoration (or that’s what I prefer to assume). I didn’t realize the BBQ chicken was really duck thighs, but it didn’t really matter anyway because it tasted all the same. Their attempt at Italian pasta was Chinese noodles and some mysterious meat drizzled with a bit of watery red liquid. I applaud them for trying. I can’t wait to see what’s for dinner at our “Welcome Dinner”.

I just tried posting this to blogspot, but apparently that website in inaccessible here, along with facebook. For some reason this doesn't surprise me. I didn't expect this place to allow such free expression of radical ideas. That, or posting sideways smiley faces on your friend's profile page.

-Jessi Prinner :)


Memorial Day Weekend Masters & Wednesday Night Training Races!

MAY 28, 29 & 30 - OVER $4,000 IN OVERALL & DAILY PRIZES!

Details are posted and registration is now open for the 7th annual Memorial Day Weekend Masters Races— racing for men and women over 30 of all ability levels!

Come enjoy some fun and challenging races in the heart of the Chicago suburbs on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day Weekend. The first two days will feature the north and south Wood Dale criterium courses (<1 mile) and on Monday we'll combine the two for a tough 1.6 mile circuit course.

Pre-register by midnight on Sunday, May 22nd and race all three races for just $65! (less than $22 a race!). Beginner/Category 5 Men and Women can pre-register for all three races for just $45!

Head over to www.ABDcycling.com for the full details.


This week also marks the official start of the Wednesday Night Training Races (weather permitting) at the Pelladrome in West Chicago, Illinois. Join us for a fun, fast workout on a course completely closed to traffic on new, smooth roads.

The entry fee is $10 for adults and $5 for Juniors and riders get anywhere from 1 to 2 hours of racing in their legs by the end of the night. If you get dropped you can just take the lap off and jump right back in!

We're ITCHING to get these races going but it looks like Mother Nature is going to play chicken with us on Wednesday. Please stay tuned to Facebook.com/abdcycling and twitter.com/abdcycling for the latest updates.


Sad News for the Local Cycling Scene

Larry Lorenz

Late Tuesday night dealers around Chicagoland received the sad news that local sales rep Larry Lorenz passed away on Monday. Larry had been an independent rep in the area for over 20 years and had earned the nickname “the Legend” because of the relationships he’d established both with his dealers and his product companies. At Prairie Path Cycles they were always happy to see Larry walk through the door and he consistently went above and beyond the call of the duty- which just a couple weeks ago meant sticking around the store and eating Mexican take-out at 10pm while he stayed to help check in an order.

Larry was also a strong supporter of the local cycling scene and many of the products that local clubs rode or that were used for prizes at races came from Larry. The companies he rep’ed had supported the ABD Cycling Club since 2003.

For the past several years Larry was the rep for Serfas, Profile, Shimano, Bellwether, Yakima, and others. He had also been a rep for Voler clothing and Sinclair Imports during the years many local clubs started using Voler clothing and rode Carnac shoes. At Interbike last year Serfas even unveiled a model of sunglasses named the “Legend” in honor of Larry.

Larry, you will be missed.


Appelwick Report: The Rest of the Gila Story

Hey ABD!

Has everyone seen "the Matrix" with Keanu Reeves? As Chris often reminds me, I could have taken the blue pill two years ago when he asked me if I'd like to do a bike race. I was blissfully ignorant going along in my "normal" life of working, hanging out with friends and family, going to church, you know, just regular life stuff. There was absolutely nothing wrong with that life. I was happy! I had dabbled into doing a few triathlons, so I thought why not? I had no idea that jumping into that first crit in Peoria back in '09 would eventually bring me to test the limits of my mental and physical abilities the way that bike racing has. It's the greatest thing ever!

I survived the first two road races of the Tour of the Gila, including a crash, to wake up to sneezing and wheezing the day of the TT. Oh joy! My seasonal allergies were back. Or so I thought. Turns out by Sunday, those ugly little mucous globs from the Mucinex commercials had made a home in my lungs. But trust me, even if I was 100% it wouldn't have mattered. I'm sure my results would have been the same. Those girls out there are amazing!

Friday was the TT. A 16 mile out and back course. Up down up on the way out, down up down on the way back. Nasty crosswinds and my inexperience with flying downhill in aero bars caused me to have to slow down to a near stop to keep the rubber side down. I'm sure I wasn't alone in that. It was cool to see many of the teams make the decision to just go Merckx style. Later, I figured out that they weren't doing this because they were worried about the winds. In actuality, they probably didn't even bother to ship out their TT bikes since they were there to do one job, support the team star. They didn't need to have their TT bike to do that. In spite of slowing to a near stop, I was OK with my 46:46 time that put me at 27th place out of 51. I know that with bigger gearing for the downhill, more practice and a massive dose of courage that my time will drop on that course. Just another reason to go back for more punishment next year. I want another shot at that descent!

Clara Hughes, who is Canadian and a former Olympian medalist in both cycling and speed skating and member of Team Pactimo won the day with a scorching time of 39:33. Rhae Shaw from Team Cycle U posted a solid 41:23 and Janel Holcomb of Colavita/Forno d'Asolo wrapped up the last podium spot with a 41:58.

Stage four was the downtown criterium. The entire town comes out and it's a fun festive day. The weather was great. The course is super fun, and pretty much non technical being that it is a standard 4-corner affair. There's about a 100 feet of climbing and then a long flying descent through turn 3 into turn 4 to the finish. Last year I won the cat 3/4 race. This year, I pretty much felt intimated by all the talent and tailgunned most of the race. What a difference a year and an upgrade makes! I started to loosen up a bit once I realized I wasn't going to get dropped. Any of you that do crits know, the first few laps are often the hardest. These girls weren't messing around. The big pro teams went to the front and hammered it. I survived the first 5 laps and then things settled down a bit. I was able to move up a little on the last few laps and managed to sprint for an awesome 39th place finish! --heehee;)-- It was fun to move through the pack and just practice sprinting a bit. Clara again took the win. Lauren Tamayo of Peanut Butter & Co took 2nd and Petuzzo Eleonora of Colavita/Forno D'Asolo rounded out the podium spots.

The last and final stage is called the Gila Monster. It's pretty much the reverse of day 2. 72 miles back through the initial "small" climbs (still huge by mid-western standards)out of town, then through the Mimbres Valley to the base of the Gila Moster, where the real racing actually begins. A group of about 12 of us got dropped on those first "small" climbs. We did manage to catch onto the group in the valley only of course to get dropped again on the initial slopes of the Gila Monster. The climb seemed to go on forever. I was pretty much alone the entire time but for some sideline fans, which was really cool. I was dropped by the gals in front of me and I had put time into the small group behind me. When I came around that last curve and saw the finish with Chris standing there, I managed to pant for his benefit "I should have taken the blue pill".

Ah how the tables were turned on me again from the prior year. Last year I took 2nd on this stage in the 3/4's. Now, in spite of completing this stage a solid 20 minutes faster this year, I only came in 37th place. Kathryn Donovan of Missing Link Coaching Systems took the win with Lex Albrecht from Team Juvaderm and Heather Logan-Sprenger of Colavita wrapping up 3rd.

After holding the top spot in the GC through two stages, Mara Abbott our current National Road Champion, let her lead slip away to Clara Hughes in the TT and she was never able to reclaim it. Kathryn Donovan took 3rd overall. Oh, I was 39th.

So, I survived one of the biggest stage races on the NRC calendar in the US. I'm once again "Gila Proven". I learned a lot about a bike racing and myself. What a way to spend my PTO!

I would be remiss to mention that my wonderful fiance, Chris, had a fantastic Gila this year and finished 21st in the GC in the 40+ category among some incredible bike racers. Thanks to his encouragement, I was able to actually complete this race and get every ounce of training and experience from what this gruelling event had to offer.

Next up, Tour de Grove in St. Louis on the 14th.

Thank you all as always!
See you at the races!!



Prinner Report: The Gracia Orlova Wrap Up

Stage 2 of Gracia Orlova was an epic 123 km that featured the same brutal 8km climb that we finished on in stage 1, except it was now in the first 20km of this day’s race. Knowing I probably wouldn’t make the front group over the top of the climb, my job was to stamp out aggressive moves at the beginning of the race and protect our GC rider, Lindsay Myers, who was 7th overall. As soon as we hit the climb the field blew apart and I simply found a group to ride with and paced myself to the top. At the base of the decent the skies opened up and began to pour on us unfortunate 15 riders, and looking down at my speedometer I realized I still had about 80 km to go until the finish, including two more climbs and a nasty steep 1 km finish to a castle atop a hill. Not only that but it was, of course, freezing cold rain and my arms and legs soon became numb and refused to function. Luckily I had teammate Jackie Kurth to keep me company in the same group for the rest of the 3 hr 45 min race. The rest of the race was quite uneventful except for a crash on a descent that left two riders sprawled on the highway and a Ukrainian chick that insisted on constantly attacking our group as if we were the winning breakaway instead of a group of survivors riding for 60th place. I think I finished in the 70s. Our team leader Lindsay Myers finished fourth on the day, keeping her in 7th on GC.

Saturday was the time trial, and practically everyone’s legs were cooked for the 26 km event. It was a flat, 13 km course that we repeated twice, so it was easy to pace oneself and important not to blow up midway through the race. Unfortunately I was still sick with a cold and blowing snot all over the TT course, probably slipping up other riders and causing wrecks. I ended up in a satisfying 22nd place for the day, just less than 2 min off the winning time. Lindsay Myers, on the other hand, finished in 5th place, moving her up to 4th in GC.

The last day was a circuit race consisting of 6 laps to total 100.2 km. There were no climbs in this race, but a few grades and a tricky bike path section with a sharp right hand, 100 meter kicker that was sure to string out the peloton. And then it began to rain, in the usual Czech Republic fashion. And in the usual European peloton fashion, nobody gave any more room than usual to allow for the slick roads. I did not have the guts to ride up front in the draft, and soon found myself dangling dangerously off the back in the strung out bike path section. And just like that I became one of the many shelled riders in the last stage of Gracia Orlova, except for one important difference. I didn’t drop out. Even though I could no longer see the field or the caravan, I rode the rest of the 80km race by myself. And the broomwagon followed me the entire way, either because they felt sorry for me or truly had nothing else to do. Eventually another vehicle drove in front of me, so I essentially had my own miniature caravan. The police on the corners and roundabouts still stopped traffic for me, and a part of me felt bad for holding up cars, but I mostly didn’t care because I felt so tired and miserable. I’m pretty sure I was the last rider to finish the race, and I don’t even know how far back I was from the main field, nor do I really care to know.

This afternoon I just arrived back in the States, and I have just five short days until I leave again for some racing in China!