Schlitz Park ToAD Criterium pre-ride report:

So today begins the Tour of America’s Dairyland with a Pros-only race in Shorewood.

Mere mortals like me will be working, picking up kids or mowing the lawn while some of the WORLD’S best and brightest professional cyclists scream around the streets of Milwaukee at warp speed.  I plan to do a few races (Masters 3/4), but I am way more comfortable on the WORS courses with fat tires and no derailleurs.

Having said that, should I get the chance to do Tuesday’s Schlitz Park Criterium I wanted to at least ride the course a few times to get a feel for it.

So, this morning I met some friends and did 17 relatively easy laps of the course.  It’s definitely a steep climb, I would imagine that if any breakaways go, they will happen halfway up 2nd street (at Vine).  The hill flattens as it crosses an intersection, then resumes at a much less steep pace for another block.  The 125-pounders will be able to accelerate like everyone else is going backwards at that point.  Probably a sweet spot to watch the action too.

Don’t get me wrong, going up that hill for 50 minutes will suck (in fact – going up once will suck), but now that I’ve ridden  the course I am more concerned about the left-hand turn coming down the other side.  It’s a pretty steep decline that cranks through an intersection with older pavement and 2 manhole covers that just happen to be in the middle of the perfect line.  I would anticipate riders over-cranking that turn or getting squeezed and ending up on the sidewalk – hopefully all in one piece.  I blasted down it a few times trying to find a smooth line and was surprised one time by a car that almost rolled the stop sign.  Thank God for Dura-Ace brakes and rims cleaned with Simple Green or I would have been a Toyota Camry hood ornament.

Either way – spectator or racer – I plan to at least make an appearance on Tuesday.  Good luck to all the racers, and to anyone else near Milwaukee on that day – come out and see some World Class action!

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