I never thought that I'd call myself a good crit racer, but lately I've been doing just that!
The course: Another parking lot. But this time, there was a building (gasp!) that we had our 1/2 mile circuit around. Everyone get ready for.....another 4 corner crit!
Regardless of the course, it was good to know that it was a safe place to race and that crashes would be minimal if any. For once, my assumption was correct--there were the usual stupid riders making stupid moves and putting down pedals in easy corners, but in the end, I believe no one got hurt.
But that's not exciting--the race, being only 45 minutes + 5 laps long, however, was DEFINTALY exciting for the men's B riders.
As usual is was a packed field of B's, with over 100 racers starting off at 11:10 am in Dublin, OH on the 4 corner criterium. Knowing that it was critical to get a good start position, I got 1 hour of warmup in well before the start of my race so I was ready to line up as soon as the Women's B race before us was complete. I had only 2 teammates in the pack today--Erik Dier and Brian Conger--so UW couldn't control the field like we did last weeked with 6 riders at DePauw. IU had well over 12 riders in the field, so they took the dominant role in the pack, chasing down riders and attacks. I let em' take all the attacks and I just sat on their wheel all race long.
About 15 minutes into the race, 3 riders had just put in hard attacks and IU chased down every one of them. Seeing an oppertunity to break when the pack slowed to 23 mph, I took my chances and sprinted off the front, punched the gas, and held it. I cooked past a corner at over 30 mph and almost nailed the opposing curb I punched it so much! The effort hurt, but I created a sizeable lead on the pack and averaged over 26 mph for 3-4 minutes. My hope was that IU would bridge up to my attack, work with my gap, and then we'd have a winning break with IU sitting up at the front of the pack. No such luck. After another minute of work, I saw that pack was closing in and I let up so I could recover for the next 10 minutes.
Sitting in, sitting in....waiting, waiting...I nailed the 3rd preen 30 min into to the race for some bonus points, and Erik took another preem just after that. So now all that was left was the final 5 laps....
Attack after attack went off the front. IU kept chasing everyone down, including their own teamates. To each their own, I guess! I kept in the top 5 riders and drafted as much as possible. At the bell lap, I was in 3rd place and coasting through the finish line. Perfect. 2 nd to last corner, I take the sharp inside corner--thank God, because the IU rider outside of my line put down a pedal, hopped his bike, and slowed up the entire pack behind him. Erik was on that IU rider's wheel, so unfortunately his race was over then. I was in great position into the last corner. I took the inside line again, grabbed the first IU wheel that I saw, and punched it for the sprint.
I choose the right wheel!
The IU rider in front of me was the team sprinter, a big trackie-legged guy who really kicked it to the line. I gave it my all to come around him, but alas, with my sprint, that was to no avail. However, I snagged a SWEET 2ND PLACE in a field sprint. Great race. It's all about the positioning in a crit, even if you can't compete with the best sprinters. Now I know how Robbie McEwen wins all those field sprints despite being a small guy!
After the race, Erik and I logged another 90 minutes of riding around Dublin on the flat cornfield plains surronding the city. Glad I'm in Madison and not Dublin, needless to say. Unfortunately, the Men's A's had a really hard time. Fresh Steve was sick, Fred has a hard time with cirts (and today was TOUGH), Max missed a key acceleration, James did too, and Sparky was still incompacitated with the bronchitus viral bug. Shucks.
But all is well--I'll be joining the team in A's next race weekend at Marian! Bring it on boys!
SPRING BREAK IS ALMOST HERE.....WE LEAVE THURSDAY!