Sorry for the late post. This past weekend was round two of the Midwest Tripple Crown, the Chequamegon. Every year I seem to do great in round one at Ore to Shore, and every year I show up in Hayward WI with hopes of pulling off something special at Chequamegon. This year was more or less the same.
The Chequamegon is a difficult race. Not only are the constant up and down hills relentless, but you’ve also got to be quite a crafty bike rider. Knowledge and understanding of the course and the flow of the lead pack are crucial… especially at the start. Unfortunately, this is where I made my mistake. The pack of 1500 amateurs rolls down HWY 71 at warp speeds with the aid of a draft from a 4 wheeler. This year there was a tailwind which aided the speeds.
A lot of things go through my mind during this frantic scrum. Is someone going to bite it right in front of me doing 40mph? Will I be hurled to the pavement as a wheel crosses up with mine? Will I die? Will I break my neck? How bad will my road rash be? How much repair will my bike need after 1500 people roll over it? All these things roam around in my head as I attempt to risk life and limb to be in the top ten as we hit Rosies Field. One must ask themselves… is it really worth it? Apparently I didn’t think so this year as I let 200 people beat me to Rosies Field.
I had good legs though. I felt strong. I immediately went to work and started passing people. I came within 10s of the lead group, but just couldn’t seem to close the gap down. I was frustrated and wanted to quit right as we crossed HWY 00 at mile 15. I knew I wouldn’t be racing for the win. I quickly slowed up and formed a chase group. We worked together pretty well. The course was wet and you had to be careful to get around the mud puddles. My motivation was pretty low and I didn’t really feel like racing anymore.
However, people out on the course would periodically shout out our positions. I heard 19th, then I heard 15th, then I heard 13th. I started getting excited again at a shot for the top 10. Sure enough we picked up a few stragglers and the stage was set for a top 10 finish. I attacked as hard as I could coming into the last XC ski trail. I looked back and I instantly had a gap. I was lucky enough to even pick off Marko, and Chris Peariso right near the line. I apologize for that. I rolled in 9th, my best Cheq 40 finish ever. Even better was Michigan’s own Mike Anderson who ended up 4th. He also coincidentally traveled to the race with us. Last time I teach a young kid the tricks of the trade J No worries though, I’m proud of him. He deserved it.
Now I’m more motivated than ever to get out there and make one more push to November, then the season will officially be over. Beer and football, here I come… but first I have to get through Iceman! I can’t wait. It’s going to be a blast!