A couple of race reports from Mikki, Will, and Marcel from the Tour of America’s Dairyland

Mikki:

Giro D’Grafton (Saturday): The Giro D’Grafton was the largest field I’ve ever competed against, with 47 women lining up at the start. After a near crash in the first lap, the race was hard and fast-paced. I finished 34/47 out of the 3/4/5 women and 5/11 out of the 4/5 women.

Port Washington Race the Harbor (today): You know a race is going to be hard when the director says, “I’m going to pull you mercilessly,” to the field at the starting line. With a climb comparable to Pilot View in Winston-Salem, the course was brutally fun. Unfortunately, I didn’t last as long as I would have liked but finished 24/29 out of the 3/4/5 women.

Marcel:

Giro d’ Grafton: probably the most fun I’ve ever had during a race. The finishing straightaway had to be at least 500 meters long and spectators lined up along the streets of the entire course. It took me a while to get used to racing in a field with close to 150 people again, but toward the end Will and I tried a few cheeky moves to get closer to the front. No spectacular results on the day for us but we definitely gave it our best and had a lot of fun doing it.

Waukesha: this race hurt a lot. The course was relatively short with two pretty technical corners. I couldn’t figure out the last turn to save my life and I paid for it every lap. It was a pretty big blow to my confidence to see how poor my cornering skills have become after not practicing as much in my training. DNF for me with about 19 to go. Will almost made it in the top 50 though after saying to himself in the first couple laps, “I’m not gonna finish this race.”

West Bend: I felt a lot better this evening. It could’ve been mostly because the course suited me well, but my legs also felt like they were back to normal. I sat at the back for most of the race because it seemed like everyone was wasting a ton of energy fighting for position every lap. With about 20 to go I moved from the very back to about top 20 and stayed there hoping I’d regain enough energy to make a move off the front. The pace continued to ramp up and I found myself falling back pretty quickly. No good result but I definitely saw improvements.

Janesville: that was quite a sucky race. I felt confident coming off of a good race the night before, but this one just didn’t work out. Funny enough I found myself close to the front in the first couple laps and thought, “I’m gonna win this thing.” That definitely did not happen. My legs lacked the acceleration they needed to maintain a good position and again I found myself toward the back of the pack. Will and I didn’t make it through that one, but we stayed upright through the rain!

Port Washington: definitely felt the pain in my legs from racing this week. The race had one steep climb that seemed to go on a little too long. I thought today would be my best chance to get a good result because I usually tend to handle steep climbs a bit better than a lot of those big, strong crit boys. Two laps were all it took for me to fall from the front to the back after feeling pain in my legs that I haven’t felt in a long time. Only 20-30 guys finished today out of the 90-100 who started. If I have the opportunity to do this race again I’ll be targeting that one for sure.

Shorewood: this race was crazy fast. The average speed for the 90 minutes (before the crash that led us to restart) was 28.7 mph. I knew my legs were still a bit sore so I just wanted to save my energy as much as possible for the next race. After the crash with one to go, and the neutral restart that set us back 3 laps, I decided to stay mostly out of the way and out of danger. Finished close to the back somewhere.

Bay View: I underestimated this race a lot. Starting off close to the back, I noticed a lot of other strong guys were there with me. When they started moving up, I didn’t give it nearly enough caution. Shortly after, guys were spewing off the back every lap and Will and I had to cover the gaps. He lasted a little longer than me. A disappointing way to end the week, but a good butt-kicking is the best way to realize how much work I have to do in order to be competitive. Grateful to have been given the opportunity to race against a bunch of pros, and also hungry for more action once I get back into proper shape.

Will:

First day- Amazing Crowd! Started in back but managed to work way up during the race as I remembered how to race. First time racing a criterium for 90minutes and first time in a race with that many people. Placed 87 of 134. Second day- figuring out recovery from first day after not riding later than 10am for a few months. Woke up middle of the night and ate everything, witch ended up being a lot of peanut butter causing some pretty sluggish legs.

Started close to the front but I lined up with the other guys 20 minutes before race start, again sluggish legs. First three laps turned into the hardest warm up I have ever done and ended up surviving the rest of the race. And moving up a lot in the last 10-15 laps. Finished 59 of 117 starters

Day three- nailed nutrition coming into this race, felt strong and ready to compete. Start was hard but I managed to make the first 45 minutes with low energy expenditure. Decided 45 minutes in to give all I had to get off the front at all cost. Spent too much energy doing this and only made it to the front of the pack, had no punch to attack despite efforts. The race got much faster at this point and I had poured all my tricks out. Learned the hard way how not to race the course. Finished 78 of 100

Day four- Started race confident and with good legs. This feeling ended after the rain came, 8 near- crash experiences, a few mouthfuls of road grit, and an upset stomach caused my competitive drive to get thrown out the window. DNFd -only 68 finishers that day These races are not getting easier but we are learning a lot

Day five-Port Washington Warmed up on the course for almost thirty minutes after kids race, helped to get a few big digs up the climb. The course started out with a climb very similar to pilot view, I have done almost all of my anaerobic training up pilot view so I knew I needed to keep my legs warm until the last minute. This resulted in me starting in the back which allowed me to filter quickly with the momentum. The race was determined by who could survive the longest, I knew gaps would result in getting pulled so I made it a point to move up every chance I could. Once gaps started forming way in front of me I could no longer close what I needed to and fell off but continued to do hill reps for three laps until being pulled, I made it 20 minutes-longer than half the field. The rest of the race saw a selection every time the riders hit the hill and it whittled down to under 30 finishing on the lead lap, out of 90ish starters