What a great venue Madison provides for a welcomed Crit by riders itching to race during this typical slow time of the season here in the Midwest. The 6-turn course winds it’s way through the historic side of town, down along the river for a perfect finish next to the community park and pool. A good sized crowd turned out to watch the racing and the weather was close to ideal. Enough of the set up…on to the racing.
Sean Bauer and I travelled down from B-ton to race both the Masters 35+ and Cat 1/2 events. Training, we said, as we prepare for some upcoming events of the Bacardi Nuvo/Tortuga BB series. The Masters race fielded a quality group, including Masters National Champs Tolson & Spanbauer, along with a good sized contingent of Papa Johns and Barbasol racers, plus the Heros and Masters from Indy. I good time to mention that all proceeds from the entire event went to the Bret Neylon support fund. Nice touch. Okay, back to the racing – Several laps in and I initiated a break up the one climb of the course, taking along Barbasol rider Jack Sells, plus Curtis Tolson, Steve Spanbauer, and PJ teammate Mike McShane. We worked well, lapping the field and continuing on while Sells was dropped back to the pack. Within my group, I came up with the crazy idea of attacking up the climb, not a good idea considering the company, but just wanted to see where everyone was at…I found out; one lap later Tolson puts down a wicked attack up the climb and Spanbauer follows, leaving McShane and I to do battle. A few laps later Mcshane attacks after I have pulled up the climb and he is able to get away. Do I chase hard and risk total blow up? Or do I recover and wait for the break? I wait. When I’m caught, Sells and PJ Bob Bobrow plus a few others attack and I stay with mate Sean who has done great work to control things in the field. Not only do Tolson and Spanbauer lap again the field, but the other group with Sells and Bobrow lap back and place me on same lap as they…Through all this McShane has locked up third place with his solo effort, so the race is on for 4th as we near the end. On the last lap Sean gets up front and ratchets up the pace on the final turns while I mark Bobrow and Sells. Into the last turn and we jam on the pedals toward the finish. I pass Bobrow and pull up to Sells as we near the line. It’s a close, close finish as I just get a tire width in front of Jack to win the sprint and take 4th. The win goes to Spanbauer as he was able to gap Tolson and pull ahead. A nice event for all.
The Cat 1/23 event was just an hour after the Masters event, so recovery was tough. After much cajoling by Sean, we lined up with mates Emond and Delisle and riders from Roadhouse, Barbasol, Papa Johns and smattering of others. The pace was reasonable the first few laps with Vic and Patrick up front at all times. As the faux attacks began and were quickly brought back, a large gap occured at the top of the climb and ensuing turn with Vic and Patrick up in the group while Sean literally put the brakes on the field to create the distance. The group proved to be the winning break with all teams represented. Later, Vic did return back to the group and remained in the front to help control things. Patrick stayed out and we awaited the inevitable lapping by he and the 8 other break members. It never happened. With the last laps unfolding, we settled in for the sprint finish for 10th. Not much left in my legs after 130 mins of total racing, so taking 15th will have to do. Vic a couple in front and Sean a couple in back. Good work by all. And Patrick? – a great ride with a 6th place finish.
A good day for everyone at a great venue. I recommend putting this one on your calendar for next year!