Suffering the absolute WORST sinus problems due to the heat and wind, I amazed myself on Saturday. The weekend only got better. Saturday Chris and I made the trek up to Omaha for the first 2 races of the Nebraska Cyclocross Series. The never-ending summer here in the Midwest, a constant cycle of Fall-like weather, then a return of heat and wind has every plant blooming and my sinuses just go ape. This week was the worst. I've been on sinus med's, Clariton, and Vick's Vapor Rub just to get though the day and night. Saturday's race was very hot. 80 plus. Not cross-weather at all and not was I excel in. I had a great start and settled in with LocalCycling.com teammate Brad Sullivan and Trek/VW's Tony Willwelm. Brad and I tried to tag-team Tony a bit. Brad was riding great and I figured I would drop dead at any moment. Brad got a gap on me and Tony so I turned off the gas since Tony wouldn't pull though. Coming up fast was Lincoln Industries Troy Krause and a hard charging Darren Schlake. Tony fell off my wheel and I was know along in 2nd with Tony going backwards though the field. I didn't have the strength to get back up to Brad so I put 'er in cruise mode and and held on for 2nd. A the finish, i was completely DONE. Lung cheese was plentyful. Weather report showed Sunday would be much cooler low to mid 50's and windy. I recovered amazingly overnite and felt great. I took the lead right away and pushed the pace early to thin the field out. I used the long gravel climb (that was a long gravel descent yesterday) to my advantage and pushed it hard up it every lap. Just like yesterday, It came down to myself, Tony Wilhelm, and teammate Brad at the front and pulling away. I would push the pace on the sections of the course that suited my and ease up and let the others great the wind and recover. Brad eventually had to ease up and fell way while Tony and myself continued to throw everything at each other. One trip through the sand pit, we found ourselves side-by-side and neither of us giving an inch. I made several big efforts to get rid of him before the finish but he stayed right with me. I let Tony go by me right before the long head-wind straight. That gave me about a minute of rest before the 180 turn at the top and became a tail-wind drag race for about 200 meters to the line. I played it calm as cucumber and waited till the tail-wind kicked in and lauched my sprint so I could get to a trick little s-turn around some trees right before the finish line. Worked PERFECTLY. Tony's not exactly up to his usually speed so he'll be tough in the up-coming races. Ciao. Need to go pop some sin-u-tabs.
Photos by Tom Winfield