On the weekend of May 13-14 the Northeastern Wisconsin cycling teams of Diablo Cycling and Wheel and Sprocket hosted the Northeast Wisconsin Omnium 2017. The teams put on one time trial and two days of criterium racing. Diablo Cycling hosted the time trial and the Saturday crits. Wheel and Sprocket hosted the Sunday crits.
Northeast Wisconsin Omnium 2017 — My First Criterium Races
Last year at this time I raced the Saturday time-trial event. I felt safe in that as you are on the road alone. Also, the course was short so I was able to complete the race before anyone passed me. When I was corner marshalling the cat-5 race and saw only a handful of racers and knew I could have handled it. I had come to regret my decision not to enter. I resolved NOT to repeat that mistake. You forget the pain, but not the shame.
So, I signed up for the omnium entitling me to race the time-trial and a cat 4/5 race on Saturday and Sunday. I figured it would be a cat-5 race like last year but it was not. My ability to corner and handle my bike in a crowd was my biggest concern. My fitness this year is lagging last year, so I knew it would be a struggle. However, with smart racing and good bike handling you can make up some fitness.
Northeast Wisconsin Omnium 2017 — How Did I Do?
Well, my handling was good but I did not race smart or more aptly I did not race boldly and get my self into the pack. I hung at the back but race group dynamics was yo-yoing me bad in the corners. On Sunday, someone commented on how the pack was not going to hold pace we were making (I was hoping he was saying the pace was hot, but I knew things would pick up. Then, when we started our third lap the pack surged and I was stay on coming out of turn 1. The pack flicked me like a Bic.
The rules allowed me to continue on so I did. I eventually came upon other riders and made cause with them. We dropped one fellow and I was left with a VeloGryphon rider. We took turns pulling for each other and were doing okay. Then the pack was coming around and and then he attacked and I was again all by myself. I managed to latch onto the pack for a bit but only held on for a half lap.
The race ended and I made another lap to cool down and made my preparations to leave.
Northeast Wisconsin Omnium 2017 — My Expectations
My fitness is not great and I am ten pounds heavier than last summer. I was not expecting to tear things up. I came away with my bike intact, all of my skin, I started four races (I raced a cat-5 race early on Sunday), and I finished four races. In addition, one of my teammates complimented me on my bike-handling and cornering.
The only sketchy moment I had was on Sunday when I heard a tire skid and I overreacted to it, causing my chain to slap. That elicited a question if I was okay. I was and since I was in the back there was no chain-reaction setup by my jumpiness.
Northeast Wisconsin Omnium 2017 — The Event
It was much better than last year due to the weather. This year’s weather was pleasant, the sun was mostly out and the temperatures right in the goldilocks zone. The winds were there but again not too bad. Being this is the only WCA race I’ve been too I don’t have much to compare it to, but both teams ran quality events. Saturday’s event offered food and drinks and a nice venue next to Lake Winnebago. There is plenty of nearby parking and the Diablo Cycling club does a good job of running the event (full disclosure this is own-horn tooting, I’m a member of Diablo Cycling).
The course features one right turn but there is minimal climbing. There is one stretch that is uphill but it is ever so slight (however, this out of shape cat-5 racer felt it) as to be near non-existant. As I always say, our milk comes from cows and not goats.
The Sunday event was similarly well put on. The venue is nice with plenty of parking and the course is also nice and even flatter than the Saturday course. There are no right turns but the bends in this course vary from long sweepers to some pretty good hairpin turns. I found the turns to be challenging enough to focus my attention but with the speeds I race at not terrifying, even when I was with the peloton.
Northeast Wisconsin Omnium 2017 — Event Improvements
Even though I live practically next door to the Sunday venue, I had a hard time finding it. Googling KC Headquarters results in a map located in Texas. Adding Neenah results in a map similar to the stars in the Milky Way. An address would have been appreciated, fortunately with the help of friends I managed to stumble upon the venue.
Even though I was unable to stay long on Sunday it would have been nice to see some food & drink onsight.
All that said, it was a great event and the weekend of bike racing whetted my appetite for more racing!