26 May 2008

26 May 2008, Memorial Day Crit

CTL: 126
TSB: -6
Feel surprisingly good so hope for the best.

The course is a three corner square with the third corner being a sweeping turn. Not much to report except lots of people think sucking wheel is more important than good position for a turn so for the three 90 degree right hand turns, a lot of the time there are a lot of people entering the turn from the far right side, hugging the curb. This leads to a lot of braking, contact, and general mayhem. This problem is exacerbated on turn two where the road is *only* two lanes, but the left side has a raised median so at times people will be braking hard on the inside because they rode all the way to the corner on the right and are cut off by everyone else, and then sometimes people on the left side getting pushed into the median when people let the people on the far right in. Then there are people trying to pass everyone on the right hand gutter and failing and stopping when they get to the corner.

On the third lap someone partially passes me on the start finish line, then drifts over and his hip is starting to steer my bike for a while and this freaks me out a bit but I recover.

There is a lot of surging as we go fast, slow, fast, slow, more than is necessary it seems. A couple of times I go to the front by going up the side facing the wind but am only able to stay there half a lap as I am just too tired to defend the position. On one preme I go for it from tenth wheel the same time as someone closer to the front does, I catch him at the half lap mark, want to keep on going but find the legs not there, which is a recurring theme for today.

On the next preme I move up to the front after the lull. Once I am off the front, folks are all too happy to work hard enough to catch me but content to just sit there.

Decide to wait for the end in the comfort of the pack. On the last lap am pretty close to the back of the 60+ riders left. Follow riders up the left side of the pack until we get to the full road portion of the course between turns three and four and am up to fifteenth. I decide to go for it about the same time as half the field in front of me does, and the amount of close calls I see is enough for me to call it a day and I just roll in, happy to be intact.

T: 39:29
C: 103
S: 42.9

This race is a combined 35+ 4/5 and 45+ 4/5 with the groups picked separately for the finish. I hope the age factor makes folks more conservative and that there will not be so much surging.

It doesn't work out this way.

Actually have teammates in this race with Erik, Sean, and Greg.

At the start line find myself near the far right, since I don't want to be like the people I write about in my cat 4 report, I attack at the whistle, get clear of the other riders and enter the turn from the middle of the road. Lead the pack for most of the first lap, and slot in close to the front on the second. Get bored after a minute and attack again and only dangle out there for half a lap.

Compared to this, it's just so easy to sit in the pack, that I fall for the siren's song and slide right to the back of the pack. After a few primes I get in position to try and go for one. From near tenth I work my way up, but have to spend a lot of time in the wind, get up to second but just can't pedal any more and fade to fourth at the line. I think stage five of my three day weekend is starting to catch up to me now...

Rest for a few laps. There was one rider who seemed a bit wobbly, finally loses it in in turn four. He is right in front of me and he makes contact with another rider, and I am not sure if either of them is going to make it and not sure which direction either of them is going to carom off into. As I slow, the rider next to me keeps his momementum going and rides right into the second rider and the rider that was next to me goes down. This only takes a coupl$e of seconds because the pack only gains about fifty meters on us and those of us behind the crash and the two who got up close and personal, we easily make it back to the pack.

I think on the very next corner I hear something bad emanating from the pack in front of me, brakes squealing in front of me and smell burning rubber then the riders in front of me part like the Red Sea and I see a rider tumbling on the ground. Because they want to make sure he is not seriously injured, and the EMT's arrive to check him out, we are told to ride the next two or three laps neutral. When they restart us, we have five laps to go. I don't feel like taking any chances with our group so I just sit in back until the last lap. Someone else wants to move up into the wind so I just ride his wheel halfway there, then ride someone elses wheel to fifth on the left hand column, while there is a column of four riders on the far right side of the road. I know it only takes about 35 seconds to get to the finish so I go for it.

What I normally can do for a minute and a half, I can only do for ten seconds so it's a pretty weak effort but enough for me to draw even with the right hand column. Someone behind me tells me to go for it but I tell them that's all I got. Erik attacks now from three riders back of me and gets a great gap into the last corner. I just try to not delay anyone behind me at this point.

Erik wins his 45+ 4/5 group and comes in second overall.

What's interesting to me is that my best one minute today is close to my best five minutes this season, and my best twenty minutes today is close to my best eighty minutes. So even if I am performing poorly, it's possible to hang in a flat crit. Doing anything worthwhile is a different matter. I can sprint for about five seconds when I am really tired (did my max for the year in one attack) but need to go hard for about thirty seconds or longer in a race to do something positive.

12th/35 ( I have a weird streak going on here, my third 12th of the season)

T: 46:49
C: 101
S: 40.5 (42.1 race only)

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