This was my third year racing the entire series. I’ve previously done the Master’s 3 / 4 and Open 2 / 3. I decided months ago that I wanted to give the P/1/2 (also known as the “Pro Race”) a try as I’m not getting younger and the other categories will always be there in the future. I’m glad I made that decision, because it was quite an experience. I won’t go into excruciating detail, but there were certainly highlights.
- Kenosha, Day 1. My First ToAD Pro Race. I had no idea what to expect, and was unsure how I’d hold up. As it turned out, I was just fine, and felt like I belonged, which was a huge relief. This was also the fastest race of the week (for the field, at least), at 29.6mph for 1:21. It was not, however, the most difficult. It was smooth and fast.
- Grafton, Day 3. “Our” race, and it was a long day, but a fun day. The support from everyone Belgianwerkx was awesome. I was dropped in the Cat 4/5 race at Grafton five years ago, so finishing the Pro race was a little extra special.
- Waukesha, Day 4. Nothing special about the race on my end, but learning that Jadon won as I finished was a thrill. I was as happy hearing this as I would have been if I had won myself. It was that cool. For the numbers people, this race had the biggest power numbers of the week-316w average, 352w normalized for 1:20.
- Bay View, Day 9. My first night race. This was the hardest race that I finished-(Schiltz and Port Washington were on another level), both mentally and physically. I heard people cheering for me and encouraging me, and that was really important! If I was by myself, I probably would have been dropped. Also, I was offered no fewer than five (5) beers from strangers on the cool-down lap, of which was able to drink two before reaching the finish line again.
- Downer, Day 10. Downer is The Big One, and thankfully a big break went away early, so it was a very easy race which allowed for some soaking in of the ambiance and atmosphere while racing. It really makes you feel like a big deal to see and hear all the people.
So, that’s it. I had a mini-crash where nothing but a shoe was broken, so myself and my bike and kit finished safe and sound. Again, thanks to all who watched, yelled, took photos, and thanks to Nick for helping with the bike. For us roadies, it really is the most wonderful time of the year.