Felt really good going into this. Watched the first laps of the cat 4 race and it split up immediately. The course is a little technical and it's raining so I go to 85 psi in the tires, and try to miss the botts dots. Usually more people show up than pre reg but today because of the wind and rain, less people show up than pre reg so our field size is only about twenty, and two or three people don't bother showing up, possibly because they did the preceding cat four race.
With a field this small and given the wet conditions and technical course, decide to just race it like a track race and throw down, recover, repeat and see what happens - if it's going to be a sufferfast might as well dish it out. The one mistake I make is holding something in reserve - there is a point when two unattached riders attack and someone says let them die out there - and I listen instead of covering it. The times I go off the front I am marked by the other riders so I am thinking maybe he's right and maybe the other riders will work to catch them like they did me but they do not! The other thing I did not count on was I think all the strong riders in the pack are doing their second consecutive race so they don't have quite the punch they did earlier and I and the two riders off the front are doing our first race of the day.
I miss the lap cards and only get the bell and have to verify with the chief referee while we are riding past that it *is* the bell lap and not some preme and just go for it from the front of what's left of the pack and hold it all the way to the line to win the field sprint and come in third overall.
The entire race:
2009 Original Merced Criterium 35+ 4/5 from Steven Woo on Vimeo.
Pavg: 220 - this is really high for me for a flat crit
Pnorm: 236 - this is similar to doing Montebello in the same amount of time
p.s. in spite of the small field size get three upgrade points for the result so now I have eighteen total.