Friday, June 15, 2007

Thursday Night Crit Report (6/14)

The weather looked good around lunchtime. Nice and sunny and around 90 degrees. I got to the track at about 5:10pm for my race which usually starts around 6:20pm. I did the same warm-up I did last time which was basically 3 laps down the road starting with some spinning, then some accelerations and then a few standing sprints. Great. All warmed up and full of Cytomax, I was now ready to race. I looked up and a huge black cloud bank was rolling in and was sure to ruin the nice calm sunny day that the Cat 3/4 race just got to enjoy. Darn.

I lined up in the second row at the start. We rolled out and I think the pace on the first lap was a bit slower than the last race I did there at the beginning of May. After the first lap I was about mid pack and not feeling too bad. Each lap is 0.8 miles. The second lap was more of the same, the pace was reasonable and I was feeling pretty good. At the start of the third lap, the wind started to howl. Since the track is very curvy, we were into the wind about 1/2 the time. On the third lap I decided to move up. We came around the turn near registration (left turn) and the pack slowed a bit so I decided to go. There is a short straight between the registration turn and the hairpin turn to the right which would be coming up. I went from about 15th place to 2nd place. When I came flying out of the hairpin and popped into second place I was a bit shocked. I had never been in second place before. I got on the wheel of the guy in first and it stayed that way for almost a lap. Then I decided to take the lead so I went around and he jumped on my wheel. I looked back and the pack was right there. I quickly found out that being in the front with the wind was a MUTHA! I stayed out front for the next lap. After that lap I started to feel the burn in a big way and my HR was screaming. I slowed a bit but nobody was willing to come around. So, I put my head down and kept going on the front. After another half a lap, the pack was still there and after the full lap, I was absolutely cooked. If I were a big truck, there would have been black smoke shooting out of my ass. As I started to struggle about 6 people came around and I couldn't go with them. I just didn't have anything left. I did one more lap and limped off the track defeated. I figured I would just save it for Saturday morning at the AT&T Crit rather than do laps by myself in the wind.

The time off the bike during my travels over the past 3 weeks definitely took a toll. I did the best I could with working out on gym cardio equipment while I was gone, but it just isn't the same. However, it was a positive experience. I had never lead a race before, so that was pretty damn cool. It was also a good learning experience because I used it all up and others were very happy to let me do so. I need to be smarter on Saturday. I do feel like I pussed out by limping off the track, but at the end of the day I didn't have enough left to be competitive.

I stayed to watch a part of the P/1/2 race. The skies opened up on those poor folks and they were dropping out quickly. I don't know who won, but there was a break of 4 out in front which included one of the Pro Women.

Now the goal is to get mentally prepared for Saturday and pray that it doesn't rain.


Blogger oldmanandhisbike said...

Chris; runnin' up front with the big-dogs!
You are the man for getting out there and getting into it after so much time off the bike. My hat is off to you on that; I have had a week off and feel like I need to start all over again.
Probably best that you gave in and saved it for the big show this weekend. Good luck with that and looking forward to seeing you on the podium! :^)
P.S. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

6/15/07, 9:22 AM  
Blogger allan said...

Chris-awesome job. I gotta hand it to you for just racing crit. Even thinking about doing one scares the hell outta me.

6/15/07, 3:48 PM  
Blogger bryan said...

way to get out there on the front. it's a good place to be.

I don't profess a ton of crit knowledge, but I have learned a little bit. (this may be unsanctioned tactical advice.) If you're in the front, and don't want to be anymore, just slow down. Don't tow the group around unless you have a teammate in said group. Even then, don't tow very much. If you slow down enough, eventually someone will get sick of it and go to the front. Don't lock 'em up and bring it to a grinding halt -- just gradually ease off the gas. When someone else wants to drive the bus, jump on.

6/15/07, 5:16 PM  
Blogger bryan said...

I reread your post again. You already slowed down. Slow WAY down.

6/15/07, 5:17 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Oldman - I am going to hydrate with Bar Harbor at 7am.

Allan - thanks. They are not really scary. At least most of the time. :)

Bryan - yeah, I screwed the pooch. No more tow motoring for this guy. I should have just sat up and they would have gotten the picture. But I don't blame them at all for sitting in if I was willing to do the work.

6/15/07, 5:59 PM  
Anonymous sully said...

Way to mix it up and take the race by the scruff of the neck and get it going.

Have a good race today.

Adios from the 54016

6/16/07, 4:51 AM  
Blogger bryan said...

I'd do the same thing if there was a guy pulling the group around. Use it if it's there. You'll be OK next time. Nose out of the wind.

6/16/07, 3:50 PM  
Blogger chatterbox said...

Chris - great job and a good learning experience. Next time you'll stick in 2nd position to the final sprint and pull off a great finish!

6/16/07, 7:19 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Chatterbox - thanks for the words. Maybe someday :)

6/17/07, 8:02 AM  

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