Pretty Underslept – Lafayette Park Criterium Gateway Cup

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There is something about racing at night that makes it very hard to get to sleep.  I really like racing later in the day/night, but last night it didn’t treat me so good. I crashed.

The Lafayette Park race has gone on forever.  The surrounding neighborhood has really went through a revitalization.  It used to be pretty shady.  Lots of boarded up old homes. Beautiful homes, but neglected.  Not now.   This homes are spectacular.  There is even an old church that has been turned condos.  It is amazing.  I talked to one of the owners during the women’s race and he said the upper ones have 50 foot ceiling and one has the pipe organ in it. It is nice to witness a city changing for the good.

The course is just 4 corners and open.  It is fast.  They put up way more lights that in the past. There was hardly a dark area.

I felt alright.  Not great, but okay.  The speeds were pretty unbelievable constantly.  It wasn’t that hard, but it was quick.  I had a 30 mph average after the first few laps.  Everything was fine until about 7 to go.  That is when Unitedhealthcare went to the front to try to control the race.   They did the stupid riding the inside of the course tactic, then swing wide at the corners.  They didn’t invent this stupid shit bike racing, but they use it virtually every race they do.  It is so dangerous and on a course like this, it doesn’t do anything but hurt people and break equipment.  Plus, they are going slower than the race normally would be going.  I looked at Strava and nearly all the laps they are leading towards the end are some of the slowest of the race.  I don’t know how to fix this, but it needs to disappear from criterium racing.

I think there was one crash before the last 7 or 8 laps.  Of course there are more crashes at the end of a night time criterium because people are jockeying for position, but the ones at the end of this race were caused by the field being continually chopped by the UHC team at the front.

With 2 1/2 laps to go, on the 2nd side, the UHC guys were strafing the field and someone got overlapped and a crashed occurred in the middle of the field.  It was pretty close to the front.  I was a few guys back and ran into a pile without even tapping my brakes.  I thought is was going to be ugly, but for me, I came out of it relatively unscathed.  A Elbowz guy, seemed the worst.  I think he might of broken his collarbone, but I couldn’t really tell.  My lower back is tweaked, I’m missing some skin, but I’m not complaining.  My bike too came out okay.  Just my seat was destroyed.  I took a huge Crescent wrench and tried to straighten it, but it bent the wrench. That is crazy.  I guess seat rails are pretty strong.

And it didn’t come close to working out for UHC.  They didn’t place a rider in the top 3.  The course was way too wide open and a group of riders could always go over the top because of that.  Aldo Ilesic won the race.  He came directly back from the Red Hook fixed gear race in Barcelona, where I think he finished 4th and his team mate won.  Daniel Holloway was 2nd and local team rider Bryan Gomez from Gateway Harley Davidson was 3rd.

I talked to Daniel Holloway before the race and he said he was putting on a ceramic chain that was supposed to save him 5 watts.  He has huge jockey wheels on his rear derailleur that are supposed to save some more watts.  Seems to me that it just adds chain, but what do I know.

Today the race is at Francis Park at 5:15, so it will be light out.  I need to try to bend my seat more or get a new saddle.  I think I have one lined up with the Elevate guys, but would rather ride my own saddle.  I’d like to sleep some more.  I don’t think that is going to work out.

Pretty quick race. I'm sure it would have just gotten faster if I would have ridden the last two laps.

Pretty quick race. I’m sure it would have just gotten faster if I would have ridden the last two laps.

A house right at the start/finish line. The whole park is lined by these.

A house right at the start/finish line. The whole park is lined by these.

Riding to the race at sunset.

Riding to the race at sunset.



Tucker on the drive yesterday.

Tucker on the drive yesterday.





27 thoughts on “Pretty Underslept – Lafayette Park Criterium Gateway Cup

  1. Mike crum

    If the uhc team slowed it down big time, why didn’t you attack? Maybe one of the uhc guys would have gone with you. I know it’s wayyyyyyyy easier sitting in the pack getting pulled along by the draft , but you commented over the years about these uhc guys how they do what they do but you continue to sit in. Attack! Or get a team together of 10 guys and compete against these big teams. Of just race masters and quit the whining all the time about uhc

    1. Ken

      Hey Crum,

      Start your own blog and tell us about your races. You seem to have all the answers for what other people should do. Do you even ride, Bro?

      1. Mike crum

        Ken, just commenting on Steve’s race report. He’s said a few times about the uhc team and their race tactics. IMO,Sitting in , espically when the pace drops isn’t racing. Steve’s said this a few times about this team, but dosent change his race tactics. Just commenting. Hope Steve replies back so I can hear why he didn’t attack when it got so slow. And yes, I race, on my own. Time trials. And I bet I can beat you …I’m not good. Average, but I finally got slightly under 33 minutes for 15 miles.. 7.5 out 7.5 back.

      2. Mark

        That is not racing crum if you do your own personal racing by yourself. Real racing involves more than just riding by yourself and bragging on Steve blog about it.

    2. Jake

      Crum-In a crit, the tactic UHC uses makes it nearly impossible to attack. They take the inside line on the corner, then swing wide blocking the road. You could potentially get around them on a straight away but there aren’t many chances for that and if you do manage you’ll have their whole team sitting on your wheel.

      You’d know this if you ever did anything more than time trials, which btw, none of us think you actually do.

      1. barb

        That was what I thought too about not being able to get around those clowns/attack, when I read the description of what they do. Must be ex-team in training century guys who graduated to crits. Bike skills not very advanced……LOL And Steve, please stop injuring yourself would’ja? :o) I’m beginning to think you’re made of rubber, if I crashed/got injured even a fraction of the times you’ve written about, I’d be taking up knitting.

      2. Mr. De Facto

        Rally did it at NSGP, they were down a few dudes, but i was able to go over the top of them. Of course i don’t care to fight for a top ten and went for more. What they do is super skechy and should be attack by everyone. People need to beat this style of racing. It’s slow and causes crashes.

    3. KrakatoaEastofJava

      They have their whole team in the front. If you try to attack around them, first, they’ll call out your movements to their man on the front. Then he just aims at your rear wheel until he catches you. Then he just snakes behind you when you’d otherwise expect him to pull-through. And there’s 5-10 of them all prepared to do the same thing, so the other racers quickly get the hint. It’s the most chickenshit style of racing there is. If they had a man off the front, you’d call it “blocking” (in its most literal form).

  2. Ken


    33 minutes? What a great “internet” time! But when we’re anonymous commenters, we can say anything we want, with no recourse. In fact, I’ll go ahead and admit I did a 32.
    Point is, your comments just sound A-holish and resentful (“Of just race masters and quit the whining all the time,” to quote you directly, apparently your version of “just commenting.”.) Steve (who I do not know) has a lifetime of results, national titles and national-team experiences. He’s racing at a masters age in Pro-1-2 fields and doing extraordinarily well. So if you want to know why he didn’t attack, just ask him why he didn’t attack. He’ll probably give you a fair answer. But a bit of courtesy toward someone who would eat your lunch at age 56 or whatever he is might be well-advised.
    But as I say, write your own blog and be the guy putting his name to results. I know a lot of non-elite riders who blog or Facebook, and I enjoy reading their stuff, too. It can be a humbling experience when you’re putting it out there, and an honest one as well.

  3. sillypuddy

    Cycling is like any other sport. As a spectator and a fan we can critique andoffer our options whether we r experts or not. Yeah Crum goes alittle overboard sometimes, but you(Ken) reacting like the blog police is no different. Now why don’t u finish off that Pepsi 2liter and that can of Pringles like u do every Saturday watching old westerns. Steve might of been saving his strength for after the race. To pack up as fast as he can and get out of downtown St. Louis. That place is a filthy, grimmy crime ridden armpit. Trump should build a wall around that dump and keep those freaks in. I would only go to St.Louis if I really really REALLY wanted to get shot. Fuck St.Louis. The new Detroit.

  4. Corey Lies

    Personally, I’m grateful for the blog. It’s been an amazing wealth of info for me as a Cat 5 first year racer. As my cycling mentor once told me, “shout your mouth when Steve Tilford talks”
    Thanks Steve

  5. Carlos. Flanders

    UHC do this chopping thing where they line up the team and then take a wide line at the corners to prevent anyone passing. They slow down the pace and set up the sprinter for the last lap. Impossible to attack or pass. Get involved in their line and they will take you out. I believe the number of riders per team was reduced a few years ago as a reaction to this.

    The slowing down leads to dangerous jockeying and bunching. A fast race is a safe race.

  6. Larry T

    You brought back a memory (notice I didn’t say it was a good one) of the old Ziggurat course in SoCal. Back-in-the-day I was in a 30+ category ( I guess that’s Masters?) race with my tongue flapping in the front wheel spokes just trying to hang on as the announcer says something like “US National Team member Tom Resch(?) continues to pull the field around at more than 30 mph.” At that point at least I knew why I was about to puke! I would have thought today with all the newest-latest “aero” machines and equipment the speeds would be much faster than 30 mph since the old days of lugged steel bikes and 32 spoked, box-section rims.
    One question Steve – did you drive to this multi-day race in a huge van and NOT bring any spare “crash parts” like handlebars, saddle, wheels, etc? Ed Bauman would slap you silly! 🙂

    1. KrakatoaEastofJava

      Lol, I remember ziggurat very well. Tom Resh. That’s a name I’ve not heard in a very long time. Outside of Thurlow, he was perhaps the best socal rider of the day. Ziggurat had that awesome downhill that brought you to the finishing curve hella fast. I loved that course. Do they still race there?

      1. Larry T

        I have no idea about the Ziggurat as I don’t live in SoCal anymore. I too thought it was a good course but for me a great day there was not getting dropped or at best being far enough up in the pack to watch the sprint to the finish line.
        Thanks for the correction on Tom’s name…I get tired just thinking about that race!

      2. KrakatoaEastofJava

        I almost stole a Cat3 win there. I attacked up the climb, not really knowing that’s what going fast up it would mean. I made it to the last real “turn” with the kind of gap that means you’ve got no choice but to keep going. So I did. I was 17 years old and not a very powerful downhill sprinter. Getting passed by a hundred furiously sprinting hilly guys (on both sides) was pretty scary. My junior gears weren’t really helping any. I always found the course easy to sit-in on, and as a light climber, I could get myself to the front at-will. I do know they’ve run it in both directions with varying S/F locations.

  7. sillypuddy

    Hey u guys ingin ST’s praises. I’m a fan of him and his blog. But some of u guys need 2 stop riding his jock. Yeah he’s a great cyclist. Yeah he’s done alot n his career. But he never won THE World Championship, Grand Tour, Classic, Semi-Classic, no Olympic Gold Medal, no hour Record. Has he even contested a stage at a major tour? To RGTR, winning categories isnt that how steve wins his “World Championships”? Give me a break. There is a reason why these pros do the Gateway Cup and have day jobs. They can’t hang n the big show and neither can Steve. Now I need 2go check my marinade.
    Sillypuddy OUT!

  8. Paul Boudreaux

    And just maybe at least a few of them have integrity and are doing the Gateway Cup or Tour of Alberta because they aren’t willing to dope just so they can “hang in the big show”…

  9. Bill V.

    UHC only gets away with it because people let them. They have the hitters and they run the show. It would be nice to see a team counter dangerous crit tactics with some escalation. See how good their health insurance really is after a trip into a barrier. By the end of the season they’d have maybe 2 dudes left. They’re all glorified cat 1’s anyway and should have a family trust fund, some education or marketable skill to fall back on. Ha ha ha.


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