July brought the end to another great month of cycling both abroad and locally. The Tour de France crowned a new champion in Bradley Wiggins and Superweek came to an end. Locally the racing of Superweek features a level of excitement similar to what many of us only saw on TV. Superweek is a great and historic series of races in the Midwest. For Higher Gear, the month also included some stories of racers even closer to home.
Thomas Elliott is a junior racer who has been a part of the Higher Gear team for the past two years. He races both road and cyclocross for the Higher Gear team and has trained with the Chicago Junior Development Team (CJDT) over the past year. Thomas is a sixteen-year-old racer with Dutch roots and a penchant for languages, currently living in Buffalo Grove, IL. He is a part-time coworker at the Higher Gear, Highland Park, IL location.
Thomas raced in two of the Superweek races, one in Richton Park and the other in Willow Springs, IL. We thought it would be great to share with you his summaries of the events.
Thomas began his Superweek racing at Richton Park. In the end, he just wished for 50 meters to the course. The speed of the course is something Thomas felt from the start of the race. The course also featured several dodgy corners and he found himself in a large field with the Cat 4/5s combined with the Cat 3 Masters class of racers.
In the last lap, Thomas found himself in a pack of 15 racers even after several attacks. With just a half mile left, no racer wanted to pull and this is when Thomas saw his chance. Jumping up from the back of the pack, Thomas broke and got away going into the last turn. Seconds before the finish, the pack caught him. If just the course was 50 meters longer for him to battle out a win. Top 10 finish in that field is an impressive feat and he left going to the second race with fresh legs.
The second race in Willows Springs, IL was another great race for Thomas. With the hills and a very fast descent in the course Thomas felt it was a great course for his abilities. He went into the race feeling strong. In the front of the race, a potentially decisive break formed. Thomas joined the front group with just a few other riders and immediately recognized the group was extremely strong. He found himself giving 90-95% just to do work in the group. The group was able to stay away for nearly eight miles into the race and the speed was intense. On the descent, the group needed to grab their brakes as they almost overtook the pace car. Eventually, the group was caught. After a huge effort, Thomas and a couple other riders we spit out the back headed up a hill once the big peloton passed. Although Thomas did not capture a strong finishing place, he felt god about a strong final sprint he was able to muster with the other racers that were dropped.
Thomas is a solid racer and a good kid. Racing with the big men, he learned a lot through his Superweek races and he holds great promise for the future. Now Thomas will turn his attention to a strong cyclocross season with the Higher Gear Gearheads team where he will be a strong contenter in the Juniors and Cat 4 races.