Monsters of the Midway
15th May 2012Posted in: Blog 1
Monsters of the Midway

Heading off to Hyde Park on Saturday morning, we were excited to get back into the racing scene to start building fitness for the 2013 Little 500 (even though I’m not sure if I’ll be racing or not).  Monsters of the Midway is one of the longest running criteriums in the Chicagoland area, and an extremely well-run event.  The course features two long straightaways and four left turns-about as simple as a criterium can get.  There were thunderstorms in the area, so heading into the race we knew we’d have to exercise caution to make it out in good shape.

I started things off in the Category 3 race, joined by my big brother and Beta Cycling alum Erik Kiser who was coming off his first-ever win last weekend at the Tour of Champaign-Urbana.  Before the race he was talking a lot of smack so I was pumped to test out my legs and see how much fitness I’d lost in my 2 weeks off the bike post-Little 5.

The pace was hot from the start, and after one lap I found myself in a break with Sven Gartner, a Phi Delt alum, and two other guys who looked pretty fit.  We were only away for a minute or two, but it served as a good opportunity to open up my legs and assess my condition.  The first few laps were extremely bizarre – it was almost as if I’d forgotten how to corner on asphalt after spending so many months on the cinders.  I got more comfortable as the race went on, even going on to launch an attack about halfway through the race.  Unfortunately no one joined me, and my solo effort was short-lived.  With 3 or 4 laps to go I was in perfect position when Kiser decided to take off.  Since I was on the front I knew if I tried to join him I’d bring the whole field with me, so instead I decided to slow the pace just a little bit and tried to block for him.  It didn’t work for very long, so with 2 to go it was time to start setting up for the sprint.  I had solid position on the backstretch with 1.5 laps to go and thought I was in good shape, but then remembered how quickly things can change in a crit.  All of a sudden we got swarmed from the left side, and I just couldn’t move up after that point.  Heading into the last turn I knew it wasn’t worth the risk to try and advance, so I was content to just coast in knowing I still had another race left.  And, sure enough, the 5 or 6 guys to my right ended up flying over the curb into the grass coming out of that turn.

The 1/2/3 was much less exciting. I was involved in a crash just 6 minutes into the race, and after that never really got my mojo back. The pace was blisteringly fast and there were close calls all over the place, so after the guy in front of me came unclipped and almost took the entire pack down, I decided it just wasn’t my day.

I hung around to watch Kragie mix it up in the 4’s, and he was solid throughout. Most rookies need a summer or two of racing to learn how to compete in criteriums, but he continues to amaze me. He was sitting near the front of the pack the entire time, chasing down breaks and keeping the pace hot, much to the delight of his dad and myself. Just when we thought he was set to try his luck in the sprint, with just under 4 laps to go he took a bad line into a rain-soaked turn 1, overcorrected, and was on the ground. Rookie mistake for sure (much like running a 3-year old vittoria slick front tire in the rain), but he wasn’t injured too badly and luckily none of the other riders who went down were either. It’s a shame he went down since the move he made just before crashing was awesome, but cycling’s a sport where tough lessons like this come regularly. Hopefully he’ll learn from this experience and have a better result next weekend.

As for the rest of the summer, my teammates and I are going to be racing a TON and will do our best to keep this blog updated weekly. I’ll be racing as a Category 2 for Racing for Riley p/b Alderfer Bergen and could not be more excited. This weekend Kragie, Laser, and Kiser will be flying the Beta flag up at the Fox River Omnium in Elgin, IL. I’ll be over in Warsaw, IN racing the Village at Winona Road Race and Criterium, hopefully joined by Green, Chris Craig, and a couple of our new riders. The rest of my schedule looks like this:

May 26: Ft. Wayne Crit
June 1-3: Tri West Omnium (Indy)
June 8: Velodrome (Indy)
June 9: River City Classic (Evansville)
June 16: Elkhart Crit
June 17: South Bend Crit
June 23: B-town Crit
June 28-July 1: Tour of America’s Dairyland (Wisconsin) OR Madeira/Hyde Park (Cincinnati)
July 4: Marion Classic
July 20-22: Superweek (Chicagoland)
July 27: Velodrome (Indy)
July 28: Kentucky Crit Championships (Louisville)
August 4: Warsaw Crit
August 11: Mass Ave (Indy)
August 17: Track State Championships (Indy)
August 18: Fountain Square Crit (Indy)
August 19: Zionsville GP
August 31: Velodrome (Indy) OR August 31-September 3: Gateway Cup (St. Louis)
September 7: Velodrome (Indy)

If you’re going to be at any of those races, let us know and we’ll be sure to meet up!

We’re trying something new this summer and putting all of our training rides on Strava, so if you’re interested in seeing our hard work, check that out HERE.  Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@BetaCycling) and Facebook as well!

in _kai_
Eric Anderson

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