June 23, 2016

Tour of America's Dairylands Intro and Part 1! (First 4 days, including a top 10 on day 4)

Tour of America’s Dairylands. The first 4 days!
Furry Friends! 

There are not many racers that I know of that do now know of the 10 days of racing that go on in the Milwaukee area during the month of June. Back in the day these races were known as Superweek, and typically brought in the best road racers and crit racers to compete in back to back 100km crits on courses in the surrounding towns across the greater Milwaukee area. Today the races are known as the Tour of America’s Dairylands, or TOAD.

The first time I came up to race TOAD was part of a race prep I was doing to  prepare for the 2013 u23 National Championships which were going on in Madison Wisconsin not too long ago. I remember coming up with my Super Squadra teammates and immediately being hooked on the atmosphere and the environment that the races provided.

The second time I came up to race TOAD would be in 2014 where I got to race in and out of the crits for the entire week alongside my teammates and friends with the Astellas Crew. It was this year that I was part of a s super prime winning team, as well as a few stage wins. Something that I will probably never forget in my crit experiences.

Now in 2016 I will be racing here for the third time, and looking forward to getting some individual glory as I race here representing GIANT Racing. As well as some vacation and fun as I get to spend the week racing alongside my girlfriend.

Going to keep most these blogs pretty short due to the sheer number of races I will be doing all in very close proximity to each other.

East Troy Day 1
Ash and Sara repping in the pro women's race

Before the start of East Troy I was made aware of the roughness of the course and made the decision to run the clinchers. I just finished gluing up some tubular’s and I did not want to immediately flat some fresh rubber on the first day of 10 races. The race started off fast as many familiar and new faces took to the start. I quickly found my rhythm and tried to gauge just how the race was going to play out. I did not recognize too many of the teams that were there outside of the few I saw at Tulsa as well as Astellas.

As the race progressed I was able to throw down some attacks and get some time off of the front. But ultimately I was not able to stick anything. My goal for the day was to try for a prime or two, however the road surface made the lines through the turns fairly tricky, and I did not want to risk it too hard knowing I had many more days ahead. As the lap counter started to tick down I found myself near the front and in good position. However, as the field started to get a bit more aggressive in the final I took started taking things a little too gingerly and started to fade back. With 3 laps to go the field was together and I was sitting right on the edge of getting a top 20. However, everyone seemed to have fresh legs and some riders were taking some bigger risks then they should have. I few close calls later and I slid just outside the top 30 in the final lap. Legs were there, just wanted to play things a little on safer for day 1 of the races.

Graften Day 2

The second day of racing was to take place in the city of Graften and included racing on a wide smooth 4 corner crit that flowed more like a circuit than I crit. Knowing on such a wide course I would be at  a disadvantage for a result. Lately I have been racing more and more as an opportunist, waiting for the right moment to jump into a break to escape the impending field sprint.

I raced a bit more aggressive and threw out maybe twice as many attacks as the day before trying to get up the road. I even was able to get in a small break that lasted about one lap before being brought back into the fold. However most of the race I spent my time near the back of the field trying to be safe. The course was smooth enough that I was not too worried about the whip at the back of the field. I made the conscious decision to move up and get into the spring with 3 laps to go. The laps were so large that this was still a fairly decent distance from the finish.

As we entered the final lap of the race I was sitting about in the top 25 riders as we entered the last turn before going all out into a 400 meter drag race to the finish. I would sprint hard passing a handful of riders on my way to finish. However, I only passed enough to finish 22nd on the day. About 10 places better than I did on day 1 in East Troy.

Waukesha- Day 3

Although I was looking forward to racing hard on Waukesha, I got in the big break of the day here in 2014 (click link for that report) when this race was part of the NCC calendar. I came down with a bad stomach bug the morning of the race. I spent the day focusing on my health and hydrating for the next set of races instead of racing.

West Bend- Day 4

Originally I was planning on racing Waukesha and skipping West Bend, but with that stomach bug I decided to move things around. West Bend would end up being a good day for me, with a course that had some fast technical turns as well as a little elevation it would end up making the flow of the race much different from the first two days.

The start of the race I was aggressive and made sure I was represented in a few of the other early moves that would slowly roll off the front. I heard that the day I did not race an early move rolled in the opening laps and close to 10 riders would end up lapping the field, and I was attentive to make sure no move was going to roll without myself represented.
yay on top 10!

Despite my early attentiveness I was feeling much better than I thought I was going to be and even decided to throw down some early attacks of my own. Although I was never able to get away from the field for long, I was happy to see that any dangerous move that rolled without myself represented was always bit on the larger scale and things always seemed to come back together.

The final 4 laps of the race I was locked in on the back of my old teams lead out (astellas) and unlike the first day of racing I was feeling much more comfortable with being aggressive near the front of the course. Especially on a course that made the field a bit more strung out. As the laps started going down I was getting pushed a bumped around, and I was pushing back just as hard to make sure I did not lose my position near the front. As we started the final lap the pace was getting so fast that the aggression had subsided and everyone was getting ready for their final push for the line. I would come out of the final turn sitting 10 wheel in a strung out line. I would put my head down and pedal up the finishing hill with every bit of energy I had left. I would come around only one rider as my speed topped out close to 40 mph. getting myself a nice 9th place! My first top 10 of the race series!

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