About a month ago I wanted to get a few of my fellow Spidermonkies to do the Spring Prairie Road race. We managed to get 6 people signed up. Somehow it went from lets do the Spring Prairie, to lets get Jake on the Podium (it actually came from an email written by Mike Shea). Okay, thats not a lot of pressure.

For the past few weeks my training had been consumed with hill intervals. Anywhere I could find it sufficed. the Dominicks on Chicago parking garage, that one tiny footbridge on the lakefront, a few boat ramps here and there…. I have even had nightmares about this race with all the pressure I was under having my team work for me.

Race day – The weather man predicted scattered storms. There was not a rain cloud in sight, finally I am happy the weatherman lied. 5 of us alond with about 50 other riders rolled out from the neutral start. Thats the hill we have to climb six more times. Mike shea and Dan Pollard did an amazing job keeping a presence at the front and not letting me do much work at all throughout the whole race. At one point Shea even disapeared from what looked like a sugar bonk only to reappear in form. On the second to last climb, I was feeling good–so good that I was having trouble getting comfortable with the slow pace the peleton wanted to go up the hill. I knew I could climb it with about twice as much power next lap.

The last lap we managed to be at the front nearly the whole lap. Coming into the final climb, we lost a few positions but still stayed close up. I took the turn wide and stayed in a 39-19 gear. After a few quick spins, I had the diesel engine going and within 5 pedal strokes, I had passed all of the 10 or 12 people in front of me. As I danced on my pedals and crested the hill for the false flat, I was one the front with a gap of at least 10 meters behind me. All the pressure was finally lifted. I shifted into the big chainring, got in the drops and drilled it to the finish. I gave a modest one finger in the air, Lance time trial style. I crossed the finish with almost a 30 meters gap behind me.

The spidermonkey team effort payed off. I got my first 1st ever and my first podium in almost two years.