I have had the opportunity to participate in this race two of the last three years. My first shot was as a Cat 5, it was my first race ever and I had been talked up by my team that I was going to kill it. I did not, I sucked a lot. The race is mostly flat with a few little roller type areas. The biggest hurdle is the wind, or it has been the two times I have done it. That and the super skinny roads, or the part we are allowed to use. Like I have talked about in a earlier post (Yellow Line Rule) you are only allowed to use half of the road. And the roads around Hillsboro, IL are skinny to begin with. There are moments in the race where it feels like you have 5 feet to work with.
Last year in the Cat 3 race we had a very hard time keeping within the invisible yellow line we were supposed to pretend was there. We infuriated the race ref enough that he actually stopped our race and threatened to cancel the rest of the race if we didn't stay within the line. This was the first time that had ever happened to me in a race and I was pretty scared of it really happening. So scared, it actually inhibited me in a race this year because I would not go over the line to keep a draft. Most racers don't mind people going over the line if you aren't attacking the race and you are being "safe". Safe in the way that you can see what is coming from the other way, not going over the line going up hill.
This year my team will have a really good lineup and we are hoping for a good showing. We were able to win the Cat 3 race last year with only 3 members, and we are wanting to defend that title, even though we have a new team name. We will also have members racing in the 4s, Masters, and the Pro 1/2 fields.
The thing that really caught my eye about this year's addition of the race was the size and quality of the Pro 1/2 field. Bissell ABG Nuvo is bringing 10 riders, Mercy, TradeWind Energy is super strong, LAPT cycling all the way from Wisconsin, even Brad Huff from team Jelly Belly presented by Kenda. It is a lineup that many promoters would kill for, or pay for.....
It will be an exciting weekend, and it is only the beginning of a long fun season to come.
|Im in this picture, it is one of my favorites of all time.|
|Nowhere near as bad as Paris-Roubaix, but they still hurt.|