I love the Glencoe Grand Prix, it has been my favorite course since I first raced it 3 years ago and was dropped. That didn't matter to me, it is a great course in an amazing neighborhood, and put on by an awesome group of people. For the first few years I raced it, Glencoe was the IL state crit championships, this meant that I was always working for a teammate. Last year the race really started to get interesting as they put the cat 2s and 3s together in the state championship. The team was able to put Mark in the right spot and he took at state jersey for us. This year the state championship was moved to a new race, this left me with the opportunity to go for the win. Unfortunately Missouri moved their state road race championship to the same weekend. So the rest of my team was staying home to get ready for that.
I had planned on running up to Glencoe and then hauling ass back to Rolla to help the team at Hellbender. Ended up that most of my guys decided to do the masters race and the only other 3 wasn't a Missouri guy. I also SUCK at the Hellbender road race so I decided to miss it this year.
Glencoe has been growing in popularity for the last few years, and over that time the staging before the race has gotten tougher and tougher. You have to line up almost 30 min before the race to get a good starting position. This year they decided to go with a procedure which ended up being pretty good for me. I signed up pretty late so I was worried I would be staged pretty far back, but they did it by your national ranking compared to the other racers. This put me in the 21st spot, not bad.
The "trick" with this race is you CAN NOT be far back, and by far I mean more that 20 riders back. The course is so technical and narrow that if you are, you are doing way more work and it will be very hard to be there at the end. The start was hard and fast and I lost a good number of spots going into the first turn. So much for my good starting spot. For the first few laps every turn was a sprint, and there were a good number of crashes early. Luckily for me I was not caught behind any of them or even better, in them. Finally after a few laps I was able to move into a good spot making things a bit easier. Sammy's racing was really doing their best to make the race hard on the rest of us. They were sending riders off again and again. I am really not sure why they were not able to make a break work as I have always thought that this would be a great course to make one happen. I was trying to keep an eye open for a good attempt to get with a good break, but I was either never near enough to go with an attempt, or they guys I was watching never went.
With 5 laps to get things started to settle down a lot and the breaks ceased. Everyone was starting to think about the sprint finish. The job was not to try and hold a good spot for the sprint. This has been my weakness in my racing. I have been trying to get this part right but just not there yet. So at Glencoe I was trying some new things and they were working too. Then I screwed it up and let a rider get underneath me in a turn with 1 turn to go. He ended up pushing me all the way to the curb, not that he did it on purpose, just happened with the speed we were doing. I was riding in the crease of the curb and had to scrub some speed. So then I had to do a big jump just to get back into the lead group. So instead of opening my sprint up and getting a good spot going into the last turn I was just getting back to where I was. That also meant that I had wasted a lot of energy for my final sprint. I ended up 14th out of the 100 riders that started. Not a bad result at all, just think I could have done a little better. Not won, but been top 10 I think. That's okay though, I think things are really starting to come around for me on the bike. I have a few more weeks till my goal for the year and I still am doing Tulsa Tough this weekend, which will be another really good test for my fitness.
All in all a good weekend. I got to see my parents, and my nephew. Had a really good race and had a great time watching the Pro race at Glencoe. Thank god I am not at that level.....yet.