Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hillsboro Roubaix Hell of the...........centralish Illinois

Like I said before they call this race the Hillsboro Roubaix because it is in Hillsboro and there are maybe 4 blocks where the streets are paved with red bricks. It is the closest thing we have in the states, or at least in the midwest, to the pave in Northern France. The nickname for Paris-Roubaix, which travels from just outside Paris France, to the town of Roubaix, (no Roubaix is not what the bricks are called in France) is the Hell of the North, hence my attempt at a little humor in the title. hehe

This year's addition was a pretty amazingly run event by the crew from the International Christian Cycling Club, and the town's people of Hillsboro, IL. The day was not the best for racing as we had a steady rain almost the entire time, the weather however has made for some of the most epic bike races of all time. And many an amateur and professional alike dream of one day competing in such an event that would go down in the annals of local cycling history. Maybe today would be that day........nope, just another race in the rain.

Quantum Mesa Cycles had a large team amassed for the 3s race with Mike Rickey, Jason Wulff, Jason Murphy, Eric Finks, Keith Vogl, Brian Smith, and myself. I think were the biggest if not one of the biggest teams in the race. With the knowledge that we would be one of the biggest teams we set out to put our combined strength on display controlling most of the first lap of the race. This was in hopes that setting the pace would make it easier for us to control the rest of the teams and keep things under control for our two protected riders, The Jasons, bum bum buuummmmmm. The quick and easy plan was to get these guys to the end as fresh as could be and they sprint to victory. Both are expert sprinters, Jason W. having racked up a considerable number of wins over the last few years, many with me falling off his wheel when he competed against me. (good recruiting Nick!) With the first lap going the way we planned and things in the second lap starting to pan out how we thought they would go things were looking good. Then our number one sprinter got a flat tire, okay we go to plan 1.5. Next I started telling the rest of the team what we were going to do. We were going to hit the bottom of the hill in the front (note: there is a big hill about a mile from the finish that narrows down to about 7 feet across). I knew from years past that crashes happen here as everyone wants to be first to the bottom and only about 4 people across can fit. Now I have a problem of thinking something and then only telling people half of what I am thinking and leaving out pretty important points. And this turned out to be pretty important as part of my team hit the bottom of the hill in the lead, the other part got stuck behind a crash. (Damnit, bad job Nick! now I'm 1-1) So as we go up the hill we are killin it, my team has lined out the rest of the field and our sprinter (ooo yeah our #1 sprinter made it back up to the race!) is right behind me. As we reach the top, Eric, who lead us perfectly to the bottom of the hill, peels off and I take over on the front. I am feeling good, it hurts but I can do it! I was a little worried about how far I would have to go to the finish line but I would figure it out. I hit the first of 3 left hand turns we had before the finish. The turn was very sketchy, of camber, lots of gravel, and wet, but I took it as fast as I could and started to bomb down the other side of the hill into the brick section. The downhill is even more scary; bricks, bumps, holes, gravel, and wet. I just held on tight and pushed. The next left turn was all slick red brick, I took it painfully slow and I was scared I just blew it. I looked back and the field was 20 yards behind......S#*T!!! I F 'd up again! I dropped my man, and now the pack is coming hard and I have nothing left in the tank. The field flew past me and I had no chance to catch back on. The only thing that made me feel better was that both Jasons and Eric were still in the field and we still had a good chance. These three did their best and all placed in the top 15. A great finish for such a hard race.

This was the first race where QMC was able to put such a big lineup in the race. And over the next few races we are going to be getting better and better and racing with each other. As our team comes together and a cohesive unit, we will be able to anticipate each others moves, we will know more about each other's strengths and weakness'. The more we know the stronger we will be.

Thanks again to Mesa for hooking us up with some wheels for today and 2 tents to keep us dry!

1 comment:

  1. Your team looked strong/sexy out there, Nick. And great racing with you. But, anything can happen during the "hell of the centralish Illinois". Im sure you guys will be the team to beat most weekends round these parts.