Peel Out Criterium Race Report
After seeing this falling from the sky, I was wondering if I should bother going to San Antonio at all. But since my race was at 3pm I figured I would go down and hope it cleared up. It did clear up but the wind was blowing like mad all day.
The were only 25 riders at the start. This was by far the smallest field I have raced in all year. The course was on the San Antonio Police Academy high speed driving track. It is a 0.7 miles course with long finishing and back straights and a few twists and turns in between. There was supposed to be another crit in San Antonio on Saturday that was canceled. I am assuming that racers from Houston and Dallas decided it wasn't worth the drive for one race. A lot of racers from Austin didn't show up as well.
The ref started the 60 minute race and within 200 meters two guys attacked. It was an easy place to attack because there was a 30 mph tail wind coming through the start/finish. The attack died as soon as they hit the back stretch which was back into the wind. The wind was almost comical. Coming through the start/finish all you could hear were gears buzzing and silence. When you turned into the wind it sounded like one of those hand driers in a public rest room. After a few laps I found myself at the front leading into the wind. Not exactly smart, but nobody wanted to do any work. This happened a few times early in the race. I was doing too much work. They announced a preem of two bottle cages and some other crap. I worked hard to get it but in the end didn't. The effort put me in the red and I tucked back into the group and stayed there for the next 15 minutes while I recovered. At about that time a single rider attacked into the wind and was able to get a good gap. With about 15 minutes left in the race it became evident that we weren't closing the gap on this guy which was probably 175 meters. I went to the front and pulled hard for a lap. Another guy took a pull. I took a pull. The other guy took a pull. I looked back and everyone else was just sitting in and not willing to do any work. Realizing that what would probably happen is that I would use it all up and get trounced on the last lap, I decided I wasn't doing anymore work that would benefit others. If we caught the guy great, if not, we would all be racing for 2nd place. At the start of the last lap it was obvious that we wouldn't catch the attacker. He took a chance and made a big effort and it would pay off for him. The pace was fast through the start/finish for the last lap. As we reached the end of the straight and turned right into the wind, everyone came out of their saddles and hammered the pedals. I wasn't in an ideal position sitting in around 10th. About half way down the back stretch the pace slowed as everyone started looking around to see who was willing to do the work back to the line. I saw a gap and shot through it. I was now in 2nd place. The last two corners before the finish straight were a left and a right. I cut the inside of the left tight just like I wanted to. I came over to the right side to cut down the inside of the right but not quite quick enough and a rider got through. I made sure no others came through. At this point I was seeing all blurry. My effort was totally maxed out. We came into the finishing straight and I sprinted as hard as I could. One guy got past and I finished 4th. Overall, not a bad race despite the wind.