My new ride: a Titanium Litespeed T5 from GetaGripCycles
I love the Hillsboro-Roubaix Road Race. It's our first early season road race here in the midwest. I was sad that they moved the race to March this year (due to conflicts with Easter) and I was going to have to skip it because it fell on the last day of Chicago's PWP. My teammate Sarah wouldn't be there, she was planning on being at the Spidermonkey training camp. I also didn't have a bike to ride, but Get-A-Grip Cycles was planning on having my new bike ready to go the following week.
For the last 3 weeks prior to the race, I was in what you could call a funk, and found it extremely difficult to get through my rides. I felt sick like I was fighting a cold, felt like I pulled a hamstring, and had a very severe case of being SICK OF THE TRAINER!
When my teammate Sarah emailed earlier in the week to say she had changed her plans and would like to go to Hillsboro, that was all I needed to hear. I felt terrible about missing the last day of the Chicago PWP, but we had already celebrated with our brunch the week before--and lots of the participants were skipping to head to the races. My husband offered to cover for me, my friend Cathy Frampton offered a ride, and all I needed was a bike...... Get a Grip came through and built my bike just in time to hitch a ride with Cathy down to Hillsboro on Friday. After moving mountains and calling in so many favors, when Sarah had something come up and said she wouldn't be able to make it after all--I already had a freight train of momentum going--so somehow I found myself in Hillsboro, IL on Friday night.
The first midwest race of the year is really just a test of what you did over the winter. It's fun to see all the familiar faces, and catch up with everyone. We had about 30 women in our field, including Bri Clark, Sidney Brown, and Michelle Jensen. The Wisconsin IS Corp team fielded a nice sized team, as well as the Chicago teams of Cuttin Crew and Les Petite Victoires . We were to do two laps of a 29 mile loop. There were some fun turns, some rollers, a little gravel and a decent little climb at the end of the lap that lead into a fun descent onto cobblestones, and then turned onto the final straightaway. Being 4 hours south of Chicago, the weather can either be quite a bit nicer, or it can be just as crappy as it is here. This year, we lucked out and got a sunny and 50 degree day! I was so happy to be out on the open roads. But it made coming home to snow so much crazier.
My goal for the race was just to see where my fitness was, and of course, make the break. I was so excited to ride my new titanium Litespeed T5, with Sram Red. I have never ridden titanium and I had to admit I was curious how it would handle.
There was lots of jitteriness in the field which seemed to last the whole race. It was fairly obvious this was the first ride off the trainer for a lot of us. I was excited to find that I had no trouble maintaining great position. I was able to respond when there were attacks, bridge up when something looked promising, and the few times there were splits in the field I was on the right end of them. When we hit the hill at the end of the first lap I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was right there at the top and felt just fine. The fast descent was fun, and the cobble stones were scary but manageable--I knew that on the next (and final) lap it was going to be a lot faster, and I felt ready! We got neutralized for a bit at the start of the second lap and when we restarted a woman directly in front of me completely crashed out. I skidded and got around her unscathed. This year would be the first (that I've ridden this race)where no break got away. The field settled in crawling toward the finish. As we approached the hill on our final lap, I started to entertain hopes of a good placing. I hit the top with the leaders and then began the crazy mad descent into the cobblestones. On the cobblestone stretch, Hayley from IS Corp and Bri were in front with me, Cady from LPV and another rider fighting for position. I don't know what happened but the other woman completely flew up into the air and I swear I saw her carbon front wheel completely sideways. All I know is that I got around her and never looked back. It was my second narrow escape of the day. Next thing I remember is that Bri and Hayley were up the road and I came around Cady for third. Cady told me afterward that the woman had crashed on her, and Cady managed to shove her back upright, and nobody went down. I was thrilled with a third place podium finish, and even more that I felt very comfortable on my bike and it handled well and got me out of some tight situations.
1st Hayley Giddens, 2nd Bri Clark, 3rd Kristen Meshberg, 4th Cady Chintis, 5th Jen Campbell