Doing the race was a late final decision, with the long drive and minimal pre-registration. At the last hour, I felt it important to go down and represent a li’l bit of Chicago at our fair state’s RR. So down to O’Fallon I went. And a long drive it was. My arrival at the Sleep Inn may have been the equivalent of an oasis in a desert, a cold water bottle in a hot road race, your favorite meal after a long hard ride, sleeping in your own bed after days away… you get the point.
To the race…not knowing how I would feel after Galena (generally, that race destroys my legs for a good number of days which it again did), I went in cautious. We were a small group but luckily most of the field was interested in maintaining a decent pace and everyone took their share fair of pulls. I quickly saw who was stronger and more importantly, willing to put it out there. The eventual winner was the type of rider that attacked the course – always a pleasure to see. She gapped the field on a little climb midway through the first lap and I had a good feeling about going with her – so I rode up to her on the climb, saw the gap grow after we crested, and away we went. We worked well together, happy for every reprieve from the wind (so windy at spots!).
Towards the end of our second lap, we were being passed by a mens field. With good warning from the moto official, we were prepared but they caught us sooner than planned through a tight windy section of the course. Aaaaand that’s where I lost the race. We were caught and passed as is usual but this particular pass led to a series of unfortunate events. This particular section of the course was rolling and the men didn’t or couldn’t pass with authority as we were relegated to one side of the road (tight as I mentioned) and we were on a downhill. Towards the bottom of the downhill, most of the men had passed but there were a couple of lingering wheels and sticky grooves in the road – let’s just say that tight spaces, road ruts, touching wheels, and more road ruts can create that perfect terrible combination.
Alas, I did not win the race as I could have and was planning on. Rather, I will now be nursing a black eye, a banged up shoulder, and some nice road rash hoping to feel solid enough for ToAD (everyone cross your fingers for me).
Oh, in case you were wondering…I got back on the bike, finished, and ended up with the jersey; a prize that has eluded me up to this point.
Many thanks for post-crash kindness in a place many miles from home — the Chicago Cuttin Crew showing love as always. A special shout-out to Jason Fergurson — well, rock on cuz you rock. Also to the P5 ladies for checking in and being my backup in case I had issues on the road. Friends are a fantastic thing.