This past year I have raced in eight different states, and the Ohio Triple Weekend added another to the mix. SlimCady and I ventured the five and a half hours from Chicago to the eastern time zone (like time traveling into the future, no less) and made it to the evening race in quaint Madeira, a suburb in the greater Cincinnati area. The huge rainstorm that we drove through delayed our race start enough for us to comfortably pre-ride the course, eye the competition, and shake out the hours of sitting in our legs.
The folks in Ohio sure like their U-turns—there were 2(!) of them on this course. The race was quick from the gun and Cady and I were fortunate to have had a great starting position to roll with the early attacks that shattered the field and dropped riders left and right. From my understanding, the front group was composed of riders from out-of-state like LPV. We wanted to place higher, but Cady and I rolled across the finish in seventh and eighth place. I haven’t raced very much with LPV teammates, having just returned to Chicago a couple weeks previous, but racing with Cady felt very natural. We always knew where the other was.
That day was a long one, so there was nothing better than heading to our host home for the first of two nights. We met Jeff and his two children, Katie and William, as well as their two Bernese mountain dogs. Cady and I learned that Jeff and his wife have been hosting racers for more than a decade. In addition, the multiple framed stars-and-stripes jerseys on the walls of their home obviously indicated their own rich cycling background. Staying and hanging out with this family was certainly a treat. They were LPV’s best superfans in Ohio, and let us join in catching lightning bugs, learning sign language, and eating ice cream. Cady and I were so thankful for their generous hospitality.
The next race was the Hyde Park Blast Criterium which was part of the USA CRIT Series. It was pretty epic. What I liked the most about this race was how interesting the course mixed various types of corners:
- One you must brake into (another U-turn)
- Ones you can coast through
- One you can pedal through
- And one fast downhill corner
Apparently this course is known for breaks succeeding. Cady and I knew the race would likely end up separating multiple times, and since the course was long (almost a mile), we hoped to hold on for at least 1-2 of the separations. A break of seven racers got away, but Cady made the chase group. I had a great start, leading through the U-turn, but unfortunately faded and after hanging about in no man’s land, sat up for the rider behind me for some company. Despite feeling that her sprint was less than ideal, Cady placed 15th overall. Not bad for a USA CRIT Series race!
Our final race took us to Grandview, about two hours from Cincinnati. This one had a pretty significant hill and the weather was in the triple digits. A number of racers from over the weekend had ventured to this race as well to wrap up the Ohio Triple Weekend. Cady made the break and came in 7th and remarked that the pace was relatively mild except for prime laps. I was, again, chasing for much of the competition and finished one spot out of the money for the second day in a row. Le sigh. The most frustrating part was being a better cornerer than those in my group, but unable to bridge on my own despite opening a gap on each turn. Alas, I will turn to my good friend, Druber, for some TT advice.
Then Cady and I got to eat ice cream.
Over the weekend, we crossed paths with Kirk Albers, who is among the most hardcore racers I have ever met. It was his invitation and encouragement that motivated us to make the journey to Ohio in the first place. Thanks, Kirk!
Then Cady and I drove the 6 hours back to Chicago. We ended the trip as we finished it- traveling through a crazy storm and while fortunate to not have raced in such weather, we were glad to be home.
Because we were dog tired.