Edwardsville Criterium

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This race was super enjoyable. The race is in downtown Edwardsville, Il. Edwardsville is just 30 miles from St. Louis, but you’d never know you were that close to a big metropolitan area. The promoter did just about everything right. More than right. All the way down to cooling areas inside for the riders to rest before the race. The town itself is really behind the event. The town is crazy bike friendly. I was told that there are 134 miles of bike trails in the surrounding area. That is probably more than in the whole state of Kansas.

The course was great. .8 mile and pretty technical. It was a figure 8 with one end being small and super technical. There were less than 50 guys in the Pro 1 race. That is mainly because of Elk Grove happening just a few hours North. And it was stupid hot. That word stupid is how the waitress at the Starbucks described the day. It was appropriate. 96/96. That is 96 degrees and 96% humidity.

Since we’d ridden in the morning, there was no warming up. It would have been hotting up anyway. We were only going to try to win the race and not stack the results. With only 3 guys there, you have to be careful how much energy to expend trying to optimize your results. Brian seemed nervous before the race, which is usually a good sign. And it was. He won a $50 prime early in the race and the field was super slow to respond to his move. I knew that it was going to be over quickly. With the far end of the course being so tight, it was very hard getting to the front to respond to anything. The far end was a left, followed by a right, right, right, left, all within 150 meters. And the corners were tight with some manhole covers, ect. making them tricky.

My legs felt pretty strange the first 15 minutes. It might have been because I had panty hose filled with ice in my shorts. Trudi had told me that the BMC doctors had told their riders that putting ice on either side of you groan, where your iliac artery runs, is super good at cooling you. I guess it worked because I never over heated in the 75 minute race, but I have to admit, I was looking forward to that ice being gone. It lasted maybe 20 minutes max.

Anyway, Brian rolled away pretty early with two guys, a Dogfish and Big Shark rider. Man, does that sound strange. Looks like the St. Louis guys are some sort of professional bass fisherman teams. I asked their team mates if that was good for them and they said that Jensen was going to kill them, but a podium was good for them. I was a little disappointed that the race was going to be decided that quickly, without really getting a chance to make the split. But, it wasn’t that easy.

The Bigshark guy crashed on the first tight right had corner and it took him a while to get back to the pit and back in the race. When he did get back, Brian was already pulling virtually the whole lap and they both got dropped. Luckily the field was kind of overheated by them, but not enough to stop aggressive racing.

Bill and I were in every move. In retrospect, I wish I would have throttled it a couple times when we were in a small split because it didn’t work out that well the way it turned out.

With 10 laps to go, they rang the bell for a $200 prime for the field. I was a ways back in the field, but I couldn’t pass that up. It went badly. I jumped late, wanting to get into the tight section in the lead. And I did, but barely, completely set up wrong for the first left corner. I was all the way on the inside curb, having went way too hot, at the wrong angle, going into the left. Anyway, the next corner came way too quickly. I should have just scrubbed some speed and started all over again, but I already had a few bike length lead and guess I didn’t want to loose that. But I did because I wasn’t moving, just laying in the corner.
I just slid out and hit the curb. Everyone made it by pretty well. I wasn’t too ripped up, but my seat post, integrated to the frame, snapped off.

Anyway, I rode over to the pit, looking to borrow a bike to finish. There were 25 place for $5000, so it made sense. But no bike and the field was coming by, so I just got back in with 6 to go. Josh Johnson asked me if I thought it was dangerous riding. I said something like, “not to you, but to me.”. It really wasn’t too bad riding without a seat. The problem was cornering. It is amazing how much you rely on your seat to corner quickly and correctly. I got the hang of it after a couple laps, but was pretty wasted from never sitting. I got to the front to lead Bill out, but he was bumped off my wheel. Tracy Smith was trying to lead out Matt Brandt, but I had to let him go through the tight section. A couple guys had rolled away, so I think the field was sprinting for 4th. Bill ended up 10th. I kind of bagged it, not wanting to screw any body up in the last corner, since it was only 75 meters from the finish. I was around 15th on the day. But, afterwards, I was told the free laps ended at 7 to go, so I was a lap down. It didn’t really matter.

So Brian won alone, but it was a big effort, mainly because of the heat. The prize list was a little top heavy, which I’m generally against, but it is great if you win. It was 5 hours back, so we didn’t get back until after midnight.

Driving back there was a super lightening storm all the way from Kansas City to Topeka. More lightening than I’ve ever seen before. Vertical, horizontal, everywhere. Pretty spectacular. It’s raining pretty hard this morning and is suppose to rain some nearly everyday this week. It’s only 72 out right now, but is supposed to get up to 95. But, this week is going to be better weather, in the 80’s, which is a nice change.

I’m not that torn up from falling, but I re-injured my already separated shoulder. I’ve crashed 3 times this year, once in the rain in Tulsa, once in Iowa City and now this time. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve fallen on my own in a criterium. Okay, maybe two hands. But, I’ve raced hundreds, if not a thousand criteriums, so I can’t complain too much about screwing up every once in a while. We all do and it’s just a part of the sport. I’m not sure what my next race is. I’m thinking about going out to Colorado, but nothing is written in stone, ever.

The race was right in an old downtown, super nice venue.

The women's sprint into the final corner. The girl that won got a pretty good jump from behind, but Catherine finished 2nd, which didn't thrill her that much, but it was a good result none the less.

After the women's race and before our race, Brian checking out the yard sale Catherine has going on the sidewalk.

Not good. But it isn't that depressing. I've been riding this same frame for nearly 3 seasons and the seat mast wasn't in that great of shape, so I didn't really trust the frame anymore, probably with good reason.

Pretty good prize list for a regional race.

I saw these guys at a gas stop in Missouri. They look like they love travelling.

24 thoughts on “Edwardsville Criterium

  1. Ted Lewandowski

    Sunlight (UV rays) affects the resin in the frame – carbon itself is immune to UV degradation – but the resin that holds it together on the other hand is inherently not UV stable – thus the reason for any breakage (for the most part) – not saying it played a role in your frame fracturing – but it could have.

  2. VeloDoc

    dang dood. I didn’t check your blog Saturday so I didn’t realize you were coming to Eville, I know you were thinking about it. I would have stayed to watch your race

  3. tilford97 Post author

    Ted-I never heard that, but it makes sense. This frames problem is that I never used the gritty grease stuff originally between the seat post and frame, thus the seat post slipped. I most likely over tightened it before a race or after flying or something. The resin was cracked from this. I’m not completely sold on the integrated seat post thing. For one thing, it makes packing it in a bike bag a hassle. I wonder how much weight it actually saves?

  4. ed

    i grew up in edwardsville — man, it’s come a long way. yeah, great paved trails and country roads; if you love cycling it’s the place to be (just not in August!)

  5. H Luce

    water weighs 8 pounds per gallon, 2.2 pounds per liter… Do you weigh out each ice cube that went in the ice pack? I doubt that you did, but they probably weigh about 30 grams each. Thirty grams savings on components is more pf a psychological thing than a real thing to consider, it’s the difference between a full water bottle and a bottle filled up to the neck… If the component breaks and loses you the race, and it makes less than a 30 gram difference, it might be a false economy.

  6. Jim

    Not sure an ISP offers anything more than what’s sold as “increased rigidity”, “structural strength” and “more positive feel”. You’re replacing a long post with a long ST, after all.
    Makes sense if you want to get to 15 lbs., I guess. Assuming US races are under UCI regs.

  7. SB

    funny thing about cornering, how we get more and more confident, until… one day…

    glad you’re all right… carbon shards in the ass would not be fun.

  8. JimW

    The big problem traveling with the ISP is the need for a hard case that will fit it to ensure that it isn’t getting jammed into everything the bag comes in contact with.
    I think someone wanted to remove a standard since there are so many bottom bracket ones now.
    Do away with 27.2!
    See you later 31.8!

  9. boers

    Ironically enough there was the Geox guy riding away with a busted saddle, leaving nothing but a seat post after a wreck on the second to last lap Elk Grove.

  10. Jeff

    I remember a few years ago someone from Giant, when ONCE got the first bikes with ISP, saying something like, “if you break it, you can just saw it off and put a clamp on it”, when people saw it as such a weird idea. Maybe for a rainbike.

  11. Ted Lewandowski

    Steve – I was always told to NEVER use grease in the seat tube if using a carbon post – but that was with an Aluminum frame and a carbon post – not sure if it is ok carbon on carbon.

    Best to check with Trek – but I want to say never use it.

  12. tilford97 Post author

    Ted-It’s not grease. It is gritty liquid, thicker than liquid, that is made especially for carbon on carbon to stop movement. It is clear with some aggregate that causes friction. Trek sells it for that very purpose, but didn’t have it when they put my bike together in Waterloo.

  13. Ted Lewandowski

    To any person reading this post – this looks like Trek cannot produce a carbon fiber frame that will not suffer catastrophic breakage within a couple of years – I know now NOT TO buy the Trek Top Fuel mtb.

  14. tilford97 Post author

    Ted-That obviously isn’t the case. I have a ton of Trek frames in my garage that haven’t suffered a “catastrophic breakage”.

    I don’t have any idea how Trek views my “honest” acknowledgement of the “problems” I have while racing. I haven’t had any feedback on that. But, I’m not going to pull punches. It is what it is.

    That being said, I’m putting the frames I ride through a ton more than nearly any other rider could. I’m taking the seatpost and stem off nearly every week to fly somewhere. Torquing and retorquing both the stem and seatpost over and over again isn’t a recipe for longevity. Not to mention how many times I’ve hit the ground going pretty fast on it.

    This frame was nearly the first off production for the Tour two seasons ago. It was my fault not replacing it sooner. I knew it was suspect and did nothing until it broke.

    I don’t honestly know how long frames and parts should last. I really don’t. The lighter everything gets, the shorter the lifespan will be I presume. The lifespan of some of the parts I ride won’t be nearly as long as what an “average” rider will get. It might last a lifetime for them. That is just the way it is going to be.

    Modern bikes both amaze me on how rugged they could be and how fragile at the same time. It is a fine line between the two.

  15. Franz

    I highly doubt if any of your frames have suffered damaged from UV degradation. The clearcoat likely provides UV protection and it would be easier to build protection into the resin if the manufacturers actually found this to be a problem.

    I bought a torque wrench for my new carbon bike and parts. It is a bit of a paint to use and I would not like to travel with it. I have found that I generally tighten things appropritately without it but all you need is to overtighten it once.

    I bought the carbon paste recently but have not used it yet. I bought it after my bars slipped when I hit a pothole in a criterium.

  16. Ted Lewandowski

    A torque wrench is absolutely essential – great point Franz – I was working on my Mercedes wagon last weekend with an ASE-trained mechanic and you would not believe how much I overtightened the blots from factory specifications when we rechecked with a torque wrench – I’m getting one for my bike and my car now.

  17. tilford97 Post author

    I agree with you guys 100% about the torque wrench. The problem is the when something goes “wrong” at a race, like when your seat slips, then the torque setting becomes sort of meaningless and all you are looking for is that 5mm to fix the problem. That is when you do the damage.

  18. Jim

    Ted, manufacturers have, for the most part, figured out where to add strength and where to take it away given intended use. CF will snap but so will anything else given enough blunt force trauma. As you guys mentioned it probably requires more care: carbon paste, torque wrench, careful packing/transport.
    I’d have no problem buying a good CF frame now; not the case even 5-7 yrs. ago.

  19. Ted Lewandowski

    Still have my Ti-Raleigh when I was racing as a Junior and that was 753 Reynolds – no cracks and nothing snapped off in 31 years – thanks Jim!!!

  20. Reid Rothschild

    Regarding the torque wrench, it depends if you’re ham fisted or not. I had a clicking in my bike and the LBS shop guy tightened my steer tube stem bolts with a Ritchy torque wrench set at 5nm I believe. I had used an allen key and the shop guy told me the bolts were a little loose.. Take my word, no way they were loose. They weren’t at max allowable torque but you don’t need max allowable torque. So just take it easy..714 if necessary….


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