ToAD (Tour o’ Ass Dealin’)
Downer’s Classic in Milwaukee, WI
By Lauren Wissman
I’m not great at articulating sporting events and don’t think I have enough experience to say anything of substance, but here goes…
Per usual, I don’t have much time to think about race strategy or getting in a thorough warm-up because I’m always late. My schedule upon finding the race location: 1) park, 2) register, 3) pin my number, 4) use the port-o-let, 5) socialize, 6) get a lap in, 7) oh damn, whistle. Let’s revisit each step and see how well I did.
1) Under a stop sign
2) Ran to registration tent, stood in line for ~6 min, “Hi, are you volunteering?”…found actual registration tent, was $3 short (DO NOT REGISTER SAME DAY), ran back to car, ran back to tent, saw Nelson + family!
3) Met new friend: ex-monkey who started Jus D’Orange and saw my number half pinned on. He informed me PJ was dating Katie Isermann. Katie told me about their first ‘date’ later; maybe ask.
5) Watched Lindsey and Katie on their trainers, offered to fill Lindsey’s water bottle, asked registration, no water, solution: filled bottle with water you pump to wash your hands outside of the port-o-let, Lindsey found out, refused to drink the water, ran to car to get my water bottle for her to use since I banned myself from drinking water during crits (except this past weekend)
7) Not clipped in, kept pedaling, 10 feet later, still not clipped in, noob
The more I think about racing, the more nervous I get, so I’m fine with how things developed pre-race. The pace started quick and really never slowed down. In a field of 60 women, biggest race I’d been in to date, there’s bound to be some killers (you’re last name is winner, for real…see below).
I immediately felt like this was a different caliber of racers, not only faster, but more aggressive; hugging corners, nudging neighbors, attacking non-stop. I really just tried to hang, latch on to a faster wheel, get out of the center, and stay out of the back on corners (hate that). I can’t give a lap-by-lap commentary, but I remember Zark yelling stuff like “get up there,” “you’re better off the front;” aren’t we all. There were plenty of primes (KATIE WON $50!), but I didn’t think I would even make it the whole race if I tried to go for one. I pulled with 12 to go, got passed for a bit, busted ass to try and get back near-ish the lead pack for the finish, passed some riders I was closer to, but was too far back from the others to try to gain any ground. I was happy to have made it through unscathed with a small reserve of energy left for the cool down lap.
I met up with Katie and Lindsey after our race and took a spin down by the lake, visited Calatrava’s winged art museum, made our way back and spent the rest of the day eating, drinking $2 tallboys of O-Gii, cheering for fellow monkeys, visiting t-shirt stands, and making friends with table squatters, except not. I was glad to have some SM buddies with me, or else this would have been a much more intimidating race. Great day. Next year for sure.