This past weekend was memorial weekend. For the last 4 years now I have been driving down to the Quad Cities to partake in the Burlington road race on Friday then race the famous Snake Alley criterium on Saturday followed up by two more crits in Muscatine and Davenport Sun/Mon. Unfortunately, I came down with an Illness on Thursday night and didn't' think I was going to be able to make it this year. I decided to drive down and at least support my teammates and watch Snake Alley on Saturday. Snake Alley, which holds the Guinness Book or World Records as the curviest road in the world is a brick road that winds up a one-hundred foot climb in less than a quarter mile. The race is unlike any other as your start position is so crucial to success. It's nearly impossible to pass a racer on the snake itself so if you start in the back its very difficult to make it to the front before the filed spits and the winning move is out of reach. It was strange to watch a race that typically I would participate in. It was interesting to watch from a spectator perspective as all of the racers many of which I know by name came riding by.
I was feeling a little better on Sunday so I decided to take the start. Sundays race a circuit in Weed Park yes that's actually the name has an interesting feature. That is a speed bump at the bottom of a hill that the racers hit and actually get air off of at 40+ mph every lap.
Weed Park Speed Bump
On one of the first laps I hit the speed bump and lost both of my water bottles not an uncommon occurrence but something I was really trying hard to prevent with being sick and knowing how crucial keeping hydrated was going to be. I actually felt pretty decent during the race managing to bridge up to a solo rider to form a short lived break and making the front group on the last lap. Unfortunately though with 400 meters to go when the group spread out on the final climb to avoid a rider that was fading I felt a big jolt to my back wheel and before I knew it my race was over. Another rider had made contact to my rear wheel ripping most of the spokes from it and making it impossible to continue to ride. It's frustrating to put in all that work and be that close and then not only to not get the result and financial compensation but to not be able to test yourself and see what you were capable of. While Saturday was frustrating Sunday was more so disappointing. I felt I really rode poorly and then had to drive five hours home trying to think about anything else other than how bad I rode. Yes, I was sick all week but there is no excuse for riding that bad. I started in the back got complacent and then by the time I tried to move up it was very difficult to do so and I never made it past about 10th position in the race. I knew you can't start in the back told my teammates who hadn't raced before not to start in the back and then I did exactly that and ended up being pack fill in a race that I know I'm capable of getting a result in.
As I missed Friday and Saturdays race I think I'll head over to the local crit tonight and try to get some more speed in my legs ahead of this weekends crits in Illinois.