The La Crosse Omnium has been a favorite race weekend of mine for quite a few years and it keeps getting better each year. Hats off to TJ Brooks, Trent Ping, and the entire team for putting on a solid early season race. Since La Crosse is now part of the Midwest Flyover Series, let’s see if that added any new dynamics to an already great race.
Friday (Time Trial up Grandad Bluff)
Yes, this is a favorite race weekend, but an uphill time trial is about as far from my strengths on the bike as you could imagine. I have “raced” it before and I’m sure I will race it again, but this year my workout consisted of pedaling 50+ lbs. of camera equipment up to the second bend in Bliss Rd. This was no easy task with sneakers, a backpack around my shoulder, and a tripod and folding chair under my arm. However, it was completely satisfying to watch others suffer as I sat and captured the best “pain faces” I could.
New Erik’s Regional Road Team member Tara McCloskey hammers up Bliss Rd.
Gale Hellpap working her way to the top of Grandad Bluff.
New Erik’s Regional Road Team Member (and recent Ken Woods P/1/2 Road Race winner) Andy Keogh on his way up Bliss Rd.
Nick Kimpton always photographs well in TT’s. He finished outside the top 10 on Friday, but look out later in the season as he packs a punch in the “race of truth.”
Jameson Ribbens flying up Bliss Rd. in a time of 07:51.4!
With a mix of shooting and racing, I knew Saturday was going to be a long day. However, my family and I were staying with friends near the bottom of the bluff and we all enjoyed a relaxing morning. The kids played and we watched all the half marathon runners race by the house. Does this race really start at the TOP of Grandad Bluff? That has to be hard on the joints.
Waiting for breakfast. Koen with his three stuffed animals resting in front of him.
A little early morning reading in the PJ’s.
Once arriving in downtown La Crosse, it was all about capturing some great Junior races. I had thought about registering Koen for the Boys 10-14 race, but he is only 9 (race age 10) and it’s a little early in the season. Maybe he’ll be ready for the Memorial Classic?
MNJRC was one of the dominant teams across all Junior Fields.
NorthStar Development Cycling was the other dominant Junior Team in the fields.
Strung-out a bit across 2nd Avenue in Downtown La Crosse.
TWENTY16 Devo Rider hitting the line.
I love all of the expressions of riders after crossing the line. Adults usually just go right to their Garmin.
Checking the gear ratios on Junior bikes and receiving some post-race coaching from NorthStar Development.
25 women lined up for the Cat 4 Women’s Race.
TJ Brooks (La Crosse Omnium Promoter) scanning for the next fire that needs to be extinguished. Great job last weekend TJ!
Men Cat 3. I spotted quite a few John Degenkolb Doppelgängers last weekend, but this rider was my favorite.
How can you not smile while wearing a kit like this?
Jadon Jaeger spreads the Cat 3 Field WAY out down Front Street in Downtown La Crosse.
No one could come around Sam Fritz as he launched his sprint from beyond the final corner and held off the field.
After capturing the Junior Fields, Women Cat 4, Field, and Men Cat 3 Field, it was time to hand the camera to Angie and start getting warmed-up for the Masters 35+ 1/2/3. I had thought about doing both the P/1/2 and Masters races, but I’m pretty sure my fitness isn’t there yet?
Laszlo Alberti was the one Erik’s rider who did decide to get a double workout and go back-to-back in the P/1/2 and Masters races.
New Erik’s Regional Road Team member Tyler Olson controlled the front of the race for the first few laps before getting some spokes ripped out of a wheel. He was still able to finish the P/1/2 race.
You must be wearing High-Vis shoes to ride up front. . .
Garrett and Trent Ping giving Phil and Paul a run for their money on the mic. Nice work boys!
Fantastic win by Adam Hanson in the P/1/2 Race. His solo break received a little help from Eric Hill on the last few laps, but he was able to out-sprint him at the line.
Last minute bike-check. Have I said how much I love the new Specialized SL4. Cornered and accelerated like a dream all race. Now I just need to tune the engine a bit to go along with it.
Erik’s Regional Road Rider Marc Kermisch is all smiles before the Master’s 1/2/3 Race.
Erik’s Regional Road Rider Michael Mardosz thinking about his options to beat Casper and Laliberte???
Rick took off at the gun and the podium was gone before most rider had even settled-in. Nice work guys!
Ben and I doing our best to control the front to make sure no one bridged-up to the three break-away riders.
On the way to just missing out on a $50 Prime. . .
Brendon Hale trying to get some time back on the break.
The three-man break nearly laps the field, but Casper totally needs to work on that celebration salute. Erik’s riders may or may not have had a caption contest going with this shot ; ) Love ya Daniel.
Second place finisher (Mardosz) interviewing winner (Casper) and third place rider (Laliberte) post-race.
Erik’s Regional Road Rider Ben Schinke is all smiles after a safe race and team podium.
After getting cleaned up and changed back into street clothes, I took over camera duties once again. Besides being a bit light-headed, I definitely had a new perspective of the course after racing it for 50 minutes. I’m not sure my post-race photos are much different, but I could definitely tell you which direction the cross-wind was blowing.
Masters 3/4/5 Field turning onto Front Street in downtown La Crosse.
Masters 3/4/5 Race. I have never had this happen before, but don’t want to think about the consequences in the wrong situation.
Lloyd and Harry were more interested in the beach than the race. . .
Cat 4/5 Race strung out along Front Street in Downtown La Crosse.
There were plenty of crashes on Turn One in the Cat 4/5 Race.
I’m glad Elvis was OK and can’t believe eventual winner Austin Dircks missed this???
Mattio is curious about who might win the Cat 4/5 Race?
Cat 4/5. Best finish of the day. Congrats to Austin Dircks (Synergy) for edging out several riders at the line.
The Women’s Open Field rolling over the bumpy Turn Three.
Thanks to Mark Manzella for keeping us all in line last weekend.
Melissa Dahlmann (Omnium Bike Shop) gearing up for her sprint with one lap to go.
Dahlmann takes the win in the Women Open Race. . . as the pace car refused to get out of my line of sight ; )
Another crash on Turn One. This time it was the last lap of the Women Open Race.
Start of the 50+ Race. Would love to hear the stories between these two.
Jason Engle (Midwest Flyover Promoter) leads the 50+ Field at the start of the race.
A break-away emerges in the middle of the Masters 50+ Race.
Congrats to all of the individual race winners and the omnium winners that proved they can do it all. Next up in the Midwest Flyover Series is the MN Memorial Classic (May 23-25 in Minnesota) . We’ll see if riders can continue to hold form for Race Number Two. Thanks to all of the organizers of the La Crosse Omnium for putting on another great event. Also a big thanks to Erik’s Bike and Board for supporting my racing habit for the last five years. . . and to my wonderful family for being so supportive.
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