Whew, where to begin? Last I checked in, I was making a car change in Boston after the Fitchburg-Lonsjo Classic. After staying a few extra nights in the hotel in Fitchburg, we packed up and headed west. Next stop, Superweek. The plan was to stop and do a few days of Superweek before heading to the west coast for Cascade and nationals.
I have been lucky enough to travel all over to race my bike, but rarely have I been able to see any of the sights this country has to offer. Since we were gone for so long, driving was the easiest way to get around, and after coast to coast and back again, I got to see a lot. On our way to Chicago for Superweek, we stopped and rode just outside of Buffalo along Lake Erie. 4th of July had just past and people were still partying it up. Along the way I stopped at my cousins house in Indiana and got in another good ride on roads I've never been on. it was good to see some of my family again. After we rode, we ate lunch with my 2 cousins, Dana and Cassidy and their children. I don't get up north too often to visit with them and I thought I would take advantage of the opportunity. We got to Chicago the day before the first race and stayed in Lombard, the same town I often stay in for Downers Grove.
This was my 3rd time doing the Superweek races, and I was hoping for better luck than in the years past. It was cool to see Carlos and the San Jose guys tearing it up as always. My expectations weren't really too high. My primary objective was to just use it as training and maybe get some leg speed in me. ANy money I won would have just been a bonus. The morning of the first race was pouring! I opted out of an easy spin and worked on my bike instead, not sure if I were going to race or not. With races like Cascade and nationals coming up, the last thing I wanted to do was wreck, which I have done the 2 years prior. By the time the race rolled around, the weather was all cleared up. I got ready to race and before i knew it, I was in a 15 rider break away with Jonathan Cantwell,Bernard Sulzberger, Hans Dekkers, half of Team MTN among others. About half way through the race, we had lapped the field and gone straight through the field. With about 10 laps to go, we were close to lapping the field again. I ended up getting 10th out of the break.
The next day was a flat, 4 corner crit, and for the first time in my Superweek career, I was getting a call up. I was feeling pretty good and able to be active most of the day and stay out of trouble. With 1 lap to go, a break got caught to set up the field sprint. I was in pretty good position with a half a lap to go. Coming around the last turn, I was on the outside passing people. Right as I began to open my sprint I got forced to the curb and had to sit down. By the time I got up to speed again, Josh Carter was raising his hands in victory. I was pumped for him to win it against such a good pro field. I finished 11th, but moved up to 7th in the overall.
The 3rd day of Superweek, was going to be my last. I had other races on my schedule that I had to get to and wanted plenty of time to get there. The 3rd stage was the Elgin Cycling Classic. Historically, it is also a u23 race that runs with the pro race, but recieves a bonus jersey as well as $500 to the winner. Since I had some success the first 2 days, my priorities had changed for this race. It was the first road race of the series on a hilly 6 mile circuit. I wanted to finish as high up overall as possible and hope that it was good enough to win the u23 prize. Half way through the race, a break got away through the feed zone, and though I was in perfect position to cover the acceleration from Carlos, I let it go. I thought it would come back on the down hill, but it never did. The gap quickly grew to 2 minutes and with Team MTN from South Africa setting the pace of the field, the gap went up to 4 minutes. Team MTN was a contintal team using Superweek as training. At least that's what they said. They ended up winning half of the race plus the overall and points classification. Once the break got established, I began to focus more on the u23 prize. All the espoirs were still back in the field, including a rider from MTN, Fly V Australia, and about 10 others. With a couple laps to go, the field size was down to about 30. Everyone else had dropped out. Finally after a few unsuccessful bridge attempts by some riders, the field began to set up for the sprint. Team MTN was on the front for their guy and I was about 15 riders back with 1k to go. I didn't want to take my chances in the sprint, so I launched out of the field and pinned it all the way to the line. It was almost like I was leading it out, but I was able to catch a lot of guys off guard and get a gap. Only Andreas Muller, Josh Carter and a Team Kenda Pro guy came around me. I ended up in 12th overall, but more importantly, I was the top u23. Team MTN went 1-2 followed by Hans Dekkers and then Carlos. It wasn't the biggest result I've ever had or the most prestigious, but being back on the podium was nice. Plus cashing a check for $500 always feels rewarding.
Once Ashley and I wrapped up our time in Chicago we got back in the car for more driving. We stayed at my uncles house in Omaha, Nebraska for the night where I recieved some pretty bad news that my grandmother had passed away. It was a pretty sad time for everyone, but my supporting family insisted that I carried on with my plans and try not to dwell on something that was out of my control. Needless to say I had a little extra motivation for the upcoming races.
Next stop, Laramie, Wyoming and then on to Bois, Idaho for the Boise Twilight criterium and some altitude training.