The John Lieswyn Diary 2001

A couple of rounds of Superweek

Festina Alpine Valley Road Race

East Troy WI; 10 laps 16km course

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"Bonehead" pursuit
My first race in eight days and it's a doozy. Hilly and hot. About 120 riders set off on the 160km journey - 80 per cent wouldn't finish today. When pros are heavily outnumbered by the Cat 1 and 2's, we usually band together to make sure we don't cancel each other out of the money placings. The word went out among Netzero, DeFeet, and Saturn that the hammer should drop around lap five. So it went, but unfortunately Harm Jansen (Saturn) decided to go it alone on the steepest hill. A good tactic would have been to let him go it alone and organize the group behind. Instead I went after him like a bonehead. Tough amateur Dickey came up to us and pulled like two men, and soon we had a solid lead. Harm quit working when word came that his team-mate Ivan was coming up to us. Dickey pulled harder and Ivan didn't make it, and unbeknownst to us he quit. Harm bluffed his way out of working for another lap and eventually took the finish easily.

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The 'podium'
Strangest riding of the day: the Mercy Fitness team for driving it on lap one, attacking incessantly, and chasing everything including their own guys. And then all but one of their team dropped out. Hmm.

MGA Proving Grounds RR

Burlington WI; 9 laps 14km rolling course

I arrived early as my travelling companion and newly minted Category 3 ace Justin Rumley was supposed to be off at 9:30am. But this is Superweek and for one reason or another the stages are always about an hour late. Today the weather was the culprit and we waited out a heavy lightning-laced storm in the car.

After Justin and the 3's shoved off for their five laps, I moseyed over to the Carney's team van and checked out Jonas' new PVC and gas grill ignitor "potato rocket launcher". Despite ignition difficulties, he managed to fire a few impressive rounds.

The fireworks began from the word go with a 7 man break including last year' s overall winner Kil and Prime Alliance's Olympian Jame Carney. My legs were feeling toasty after yesterday's 80km breakaway effort so I was sitting too far back. Dave and I had missed it, but so had Saturn's Jansen and Dominguez and all six GoMart riders were still in the bunch. As the gap climbed to over two minutes and I realized that Jansen wasn't about to chase his unofficial team-mate Pele Kil, I went to the front for a lap and dialled it up, hoping to bring it close enough for Dave to get across. I cut the lead down to 1:10, but when I sat up, so did the rest of the field. Perhaps the distance would axe the break for us. Late in the race GoMart riders drove it pretty hard. The leaders were down to three guys at one minute on the last lap as a GoMart guy went it alone for 4th place.

Dave was feeling good so I brought Mr. Fourth Place back with 5km to go. I led it out from 3km with Harm then Dave behind me. My Rudys were all sweaty so I didn't see the gravel in the last corner until I was already on top of it. Both wheels momentarily lost traction but I made it through. Harm didn't make it and when I looked back there were about ten guys on the ground and the pack was bottle-necked; some riders were Baja'ing it through the grass. Only Robbie Ventura (USPS) made it through and caught my wheel. We had ten seconds on the pack, going for fourth place, the breakaway in sight but un-catchable, less than 1km to go. RV coached me "we have fourth and fifth, GO!" but he wouldn't pull through with me. I shoulda just buried it but I let him come through and he took a weak pull. He somehow found the strength to sprint after we got caught in the last 200m, finishing second to Jonas. Meanwhile everyone and their brother came by me in the last 100m. Jame Carney won the three-up break sprint. Luckily Dave didn't go down in the crash melee, he was just held up.

Justin and I drove home tonight, six hours in the car arriving in Ames at 1am. Deep ground shaking thunder scared the neighbor's Rottweilers and they barked from 3 to 5am, so I didn't sleep much. But after two days off I'll head back to Wisconsin for more Superweek.

Major domestic races I'm looking forward to are the five-day $50,000 Tour de Toona, Boulder to Breckenridge (new car for the winner), the US PRO Criterium Championship, BMC San Francisco (200km on a brutal course in the financial district), and BMC Houston.