Superweek takes place in Wisconsin, and most of the races are in or very close to Milwaukee. There are 16 days of racing for the category 3’s, but I was only going to be there for 7. I had the opportunity to race 3 road races and 4 criteriums. It is a very cool event because there is a lot of prize money and usually the fields are good sizes throughout the week. There is really no where else in the US that you can find 16 straight days of racing. I flew from Nationals over to Milwaukee where I met my father and then went down to host housing. We were able to stay at Bob and Carol Diggelman’s house. It was super cool of them because they were not even home, but they let us stay in their house. They came back on our last day and we had dinner with them and I really appreciated their generosity. My father and I also went to see Janice and Vince, they are really great people and I hope that we can see them again next year and that some Swifties can stay with them at their host house. Finally the racing:
Saturn Whitnall Park Road Race Category 3 4th Place I had the opportunity to do this race last year so I was familiar with the course. I warmed up and my legs felt decent. We started the race and I felt good, and I tried to initiate a couple of moves, but the field wasn’t letting anything go so I decided to sit in for a while. This course is about 2.3 miles and it has some rolling hills, and then there is a decent little climb at the finish so I felt good about the course. One man was able to stick an attack and he held on for the win. I fought hard through the last lap though and was able to move my way up to the front for the finish and 3 of us got a bit of a gap in the sprint and I was about a wheel length away from 2nd, but I am happy with my result. I was able to get a massage after the race and that definitely helped out my legs.
Proving Grounds Road Race Category 3 2nd Place My father and I drove out to the course and I think we went through the wrong entrance. The course is located in this area that is used to test cars and we drove by a bunch of cars that were wrecked, but we eventually made it. I could not find much room to warm up so I just took it easy until the start. We took off and my legs felt awful. The course is about 9 miles and we did 6 laps. The course has some rolling hills, but there are no hills that break the field up. I decided that in order to do well I must either get in a break or just wait until the end. Considering my legs felt awful I decided to sit in. It was a pretty hot and humid day so I ate and drank a lot and tried to find my legs. There were constant attempts for breakaways, but everything was being chased down so I was quite happy. Halfway through the last lap it seemed that I had found my legs a little so I moved up near the top 10 and found a good spot. As we hit the last couple of miles I was sitting in great position and I felt I had a good shot. Then we hit the final climb and I found myself boxed in. I started thinking "Get me out of here, give me an opening…!" I was able to push my way out a little and then halfway up the climb I moved to 2nd wheel then I attacked hard and gave it my all. I crested the hill with a gap and then there was about 500 meters of flat to the finish. At about 300 meters to go 1 man caught and passed me and I had nothing to stay with him, but I was able to hold onto 2nd. I was happy, but I couldn't help thinking that I had lost again.
Humboldt Park Criterium Category 3 5th Place This race was super close to our host house so I got the opportunity to sleep in and we made the short drive down to the course. I got a bit of a warm up and I saw Jason Cardillo from Eastside, this was his first race at Superweek and I was excited to have someone to work with. We lined up and were off. The course was pretty cool because it had a climb in it. We took off hard and I tried to make something happen, but nothing much was going on. Then 3 guys rolled off the front and no one bothered to chase. I tried pretty hard to make some bridge attempts, but nothing was working and I found myself wasting myself towards a lost cause. Then another 2 guys rolled off of the front and I was suffering. Then with 2 laps to go we hit the base of the hill and I was in about 5th position with about 3 guys from one team and Jason in front of me. Jason and another guy took off while the other team boxed everyone out. I was able to get around but they had a bit of a gap on me. I drilled it and got a gap on the field. Along the top section of the course I was going so hard I wanted to cry. I caught Jason and the other guy and along the last lap we caught one of the guys that had been in a break. Jason and I worked together and he let me take the sprint for 5th. I felt all right with my result, but I was a bit irritated that I had missed the early breaks.
Green Lake Criterium Category 3 5th Place The race was over in Green Lake and that was about 1 hour and 45 minutes from our host house. My race was not until the afternoon, but we left with plenty of time so that we would have time to get lost and still make it their all right. Little did we know that we would be getting extremely lost. The race directions led us onto the rural highway instead of the main freeway and although we were on the right track we decided to backtrack and it all ended up in me changing in the car and us getting their 10 minutes after it was supposed to start. I sprinted to the start line and luckily they had not gone off. I had to check in and I used the restroom while the referee was yelling out the race rules etc. The race started and I was sure happy to just be in it. The course was pretty fun, with a decent hill in it. My plan for today was to make the break and so I started out attacking like crazy and being in every move. I was determined to be with everything so that I would not be racing for something less than 1st. But then I cracked and moved into the pack for some R&R. Just then 3 guys just roll off of the front, there was not even a real attack, and they were gone. The course had a straight-away start/finish area that led into a downhill right hand turn. One lap I was sitting 2nd wheel and the guy in front took the turn too hot and slides out in front of me, I was able to stay up and had no problems. I actually thought that it was pretty cool how my instincts took control and when he went down it felt like everything went into slow motion. The remainder of the race I attempted to make some moves, but nothing stuck. At the beginning of the last lap I got pushed to midpack and I hit the hill there, but I was able to move up into the front on the hill and onto the front. I headed into the final corner in great position to win the field sprint, but some guy cut me off through the corner and he took it. Good thing there is a race tomorrow because I am tired of having the race roll away.
Carl Zach Cycling Classic Category 3 2nd Place I am happy to say that our drive to the race was uneventful, no getting lost. I pre-rode the course some, and got a bit of a warm-up. The course is interesting to say the least. There are tons of corners and the road narrows a lot. It is not a fun course to be in the pack in, but it is great for breakaways. The course was full of spectators though, and that was super cool. Well I got a bad place on the starting line and that cost me quite a bit of energy considering it took forever to move up through the pack on this course. I made it up towards the front just in time for the first prime. I went hard for it, but I got nipped at the line by about ½ a wheel, I was not a happy about that one. The race was quite uneventful until about 17 laps to go and they started giving out some primes. I followed some guys that were going for the prime and I didn’t go too hard for the prime, but they got a gap on the field and I attacked out of the prime. I went solo for a few laps and then t here was a $40 prime that I got followed by another $40 prime I got and then a $50 prime I got. I was suffering out there by myself, but I was having an absolute blast with the crowd cheering for me. The announcer was talking about me and I could even here some people that I didn’t even know yelling "Go Tyler!" Now that is cool. Then two guys bridged up to me and I was relieved to get some help and we got a good paceline going and we were working well together. Then there was a prime for us and the guys let me have it, plus all of the other primes, they just wanted to keep the break going. With about 6 laps to go another 2 guys bridged up to us and there was a $100 prime for 1st and $25 for 2nd. I went sort of hard, but I thought that they were going to give it to me, but I got beat at the line. The group continued to work well together and I had a feeling that we were going to stick it so I took a little shorter pulls to save some energy. With 2 laps to go an other guy bridged up. The six of us were going to hold it and I went into the last corner 3rd wheel. It was a long straightway that was slightly uphill and with a headwind so I thought that I was in the ideal position. I went with about 200 meters to go and I almost had it until the guy behind me pulled up a ½ wheel ahead of me for the finish. I had lost again. Well that was all right because I had made around $350 from the 7 primes that I had won.
Evanston Grand Prix Category 3 4th Place We got to drive to Illinois for this race, another state to mark down as raced in. The course was downtown and there were big crowds. It was going to be a cool race. The area had little to no room for warm up so I just hung out. I watched by the start/finish and there was an electric speed gun up that was telling how fast the riders were going. I thought that was pretty cool so that the spectators could see how fast the racers are actually going. The course was nice, with wide streets, except for the 2nd to last corner was quite narrow, I thought that would be dangerous, but luckily my group kept the rubber side down through it. It was not the ideal course for me, dead flat, but I felt confident. We took off nice and quick and I took it easy in the pack. There was some action off the front, but there was a big field today and everyone was chasing. I made a good counter as a break was being reeled in, but the pack wasn’t letting anything go. The race was quite uneventful and there were no primes, so there was nothing much to do but save the legs for the end. The pace was actually pretty slow as we were nearing the end, and it was getting dangerous as we were going into corners with the field about 10 riders wide. It is much safer to have the field strung out. Luckily nothing happened and the pace kicked up for the last few laps. I moved into perfect position on the last lap and I sat 4th wheel through the last corner. The last corner to the finish was quite far, about 700 meters and I started the corner in my 52-14 – junior gears. Well I was standing up sprinting and then I was spinning out and I had to sit down and try to get some draft in the sprint, junior gears are great. Well I was able to finish in 4th and I was quite happy considering the course.
Holy Hill Road Race Category 3 10th Place We made it out to the race and we pre-drove the finish stretch. I was quite excited as it was my birthday and I had the opportunity to do a bike race. I was also excited to see that I sat in 2nd place overall in the race. I got all ready and warmed up, but then we did not start until about an hour late due to the COM car getting a flat tire. Then we were off and the pace was quite slow. I guess everyone was not quite as excited as I was to do 70 miles. As we got into the 2nd lap with nothing happening I felt like playing with the field a bit. It is fun to know that everyone is watching you, since I was in 2nd overall, so I made a few attacks and watched as the field barreled after me. I made these attacks to see if I could open my legs up a bit because they were feeling pretty awful. The race was an 8-mile loop and it included a gravel climb and descent. It was horrible; the climb was not that bad but the descent hurt a lot. Gravel was shooting everywhere and it stung pretty badly when it hit you, especially in the face. Well my legs continued to feel pretty awful and the course was boring so I tried to find a good spot and eat and drink and hope for my legs to come around. I tried to get into some breaks, but the field was not allowing me to go anywhere. Eventually a break went and it had about 5 guys. My legs had not improved so I couldn’t do much. I sat in and waited for the end and even though I had great position for the sprint, I came up quite short in the sprint. I guess my legs need a couple days off.
Well it sure was an awesome trip. I had a ton of fun and got to experience a lot of great racing. My legs were hurting by the end though, I cannot imagine what the Tour de France must be like. Thanks for reading, Tyler Brandt