Merry Crit-Mas 12/17/16
This was criterium number three for me and since I crashed out in number two, I was a little nervous. The field was pretty big compared to the other races on the day … 38 racers I believe. The weather was windy and cold.
My goals going into the race were as follows:
- Have fun – Stay Upright
- Discover weaknesses I have
- Learn tactics
- Gain Experience
Yup, winning was pretty low on the list. In fact, I had a very tough week of V02 max work and over-unders (intervals where the rest is at 95% of FTP), a trip to the gym for weight lifting and a whole lot of bad sleep. Also, I’m working on losing weight and lost 6 pounds the week of the race. That’s great for the future racing, but lose 6 pounds in a week and you’re weak and tired.
My pre-race ritual was better executed than last race. I remembered my gloves (left them in the car last time), and turned on my every-important GoPro! My warm-up routine seems to work well for me, so if nothing else, I think that’s pretty dialed in.
At the whistle there was some dude who just took off, but he was given zero leash. Two turns in, on the back stretch (directly into the wind), and the whole field was stretched out single file. I found myself on the back as I didn’t line up early enough for a good spot (lesson learned). So I had to move up to the front 3rd of the field into the headwind, burning some matches. What also got burned off with the match were my nerves. Once I was racing, I was calm.
About five minutes into the race, Team Tolero decided to toughen up the race and they shelled a large portion of the field. Thankfully, racers that were lapped got pulled in this race, unlike last time. During this time with Tolero working hard to soften the race I realized that I suck at corners. Watching the GoPro footage I realize that I scrub off too much speed heading into the corners. I got gapped every single corner for the whole race, but especially when there was a high pace. I burned a lot of matches regaining contact coming out of corners.
The first prime lap was interesting as the field slowed down and they let one dude take off solo and win it. Here I made my second big mistake … I chased him down, dragging everybody with me. I had planned on attacking after the prime, but had I read the race better I would’ve known it was a bad time.
The second prime was more like I anticipated, but I messed this one up, too. There were aggressive moves and the top riders all took off. I let them go and reeled them back in. (I was fully confident that nobody in that field could ride away from me, so I could burn fewer matches by not matching their explosive attacks, knowing they’d blow up, and then have juice to counter attack when I caught them.) On the back half of the course they sat up and looked at each other, which is when I should have attacked. I don’t know why I didn’t attack there, doh! Big mistake number 3 … which is perfect, I came to make mistakes and learn from them.
The rest of the race unfolded like the other crits I’ve done. I did a good job allowing others to close gaps, just following 2nd or 3rd wheel. Then, second to last lap there was a move, I followed it. Once that dude seemed vulnerable I attacked him but not hard enough to shell the guy at the second wheel. This time I didn’t get cute, I played my card which is putting out power and that last lap was the fastest of the day, 27.2 mph. I figured that if he could hang on my wheel and roll me at the finish, he deserved to win. That’s exactly what happened. I hate finishing second or third usually, but am perfectly happy with how things shook out.
It was very cool having Doug and Liz Perry and Tim there cheering me on.
Here’s the gopro footage (edited) of the race: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJQA1yn6vzI