Monday, April 28, 2008

Peel Out Criterium Race Report

Sunday I did the Peel Out Criterium in San Antonio. I was woken up at 6am by a huge storm that was dumping hail in buckets. I was actually worried that my windows were going to break. It was crazy.

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.


Blogger lauren said...

hey! good job! sounds like it was HARD with all that wind.

4th is awesome! congrats!

4/28/08, 9:34 PM  
Blogger bluecolnago said...

awesome finish, bro! gotta love that hard racing! congrats!

4/29/08, 4:47 AM  
Blogger Lily on the Road said...

Holy hard wind!!! Crap that has to be exhausting!!!

Congrat's sounds like an awesome finish you worked your butt off!


4/29/08, 5:46 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

Awesome... Great finish. Pride yourself knowing the 3rd place guy was probably somebody whose ass you pulled for so many laps. You helped him and you still finished so well. Hail Storms are good luck.

4/29/08, 6:55 AM  
Blogger bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

That is great! Congratulations!

I find that nothing helps me prepare for the finish like doing too much work at the beginning (after which I shame myself into resting in the field).

4/29/08, 8:58 AM  
Blogger jahowie said...

Awesome result. I can't stand riding in wind like that. You must be one hell of a rider.

4/29/08, 10:20 AM  
Blogger CyclistRick said...

Great job! Wind is just flat hills, resistance one way and screaming fun the other :-)

4/29/08, 11:25 AM  
Blogger chatterbox said...

Great job and great report! You've come so far in the last year. You really understand what's happening around you and when you are working too hard. You are finishing regularly in the pack and in the top of the selection. Keep up the hard work, and soon you will be seeing the big "W"s.

4/29/08, 11:27 AM  
Blogger Eclectchick said...

Holy crap! Way to go!!!

I vote that a 4th place finish in conditions like that karmically equals a 1st in any other race.

How's that for wacky logic?

Way to stick it out.

4/29/08, 12:33 PM  
Blogger oldmanandhisbike said...

Awesome finish Chris. 4th place is great; sounds like your race strategy and fitness are paying off. Glad to hear there was no road rash issues either! :^)
Keep it up and stay off the juice; your my cycling hero now!

4/29/08, 1:41 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Lauren - thanks. Where you been lately? Your posting frequency is way way down.

Blue - when you racing that Colnago?

Lily - Thanks!

Donald - yeah he was, but that is the way it works I guess.

BBelf - maybe there is something to that. Next race I am going right to the front!

Jahowie - I suffered as much as everyone else. Wind sucks.

Rick - there you go with the hills again. You are addicted to hills!

Eclectchick - I wish you were the head official at my races.

Oldman - yeah, two races without any carnage. No juice for me. I am high on life! HA!

Chatterbox - hopefully I will win something at some point. That is the goal.

4/29/08, 8:07 PM  
Blogger bryan said...

crit monster lives!

4/29/08, 10:55 PM  
Blogger Sev said...

That sound slike a tough last lap effort. I have only raced 2 crits and I have already noticed the guys that just 'sit on'. Then they have the tenacity to shout "keep pedaling"... Sigh. Great effort Chris. Time off bike can be good.

4/30/08, 3:49 AM  
Blogger allan said...

Way to go man!!!! Soundslike the wind made it more of a painfest than usual.

4/30/08, 5:18 AM  
Blogger AMRcyclist said...

Is that what Spring looks like for you guys?
Great ride! Did the work, had a rest, took your chance and finish up there!
So cool! Keep racing!

5/1/08, 5:16 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

"When you turned into the wind it sounded like one of those hand driers in a public rest room."

Oh I had that feeling so many times, I just didn't know how to put it. Great report and awesome result. Seems like you're getting there!

5/1/08, 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Fendergal said...

Hooo!!!!! (Waves hands in the air, cats look at me all funny, like there she goes again)

Hate the wind, love the wind. Hate the guys who yell from the middle to pick it up.

5/1/08, 5:58 PM  
Blogger Pete Basso said...

seeing blurry and all...that was a great quote. I know exactly how you feel. Great job Chris, you continue to get stronger and stronger every race.

5/1/08, 9:09 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Everyone, thanks for your comments. Maybe someday I will actually win a race :)

5/1/08, 10:17 PM  
Blogger Whitey said...

Well done! Sounds like a great little track! Terrible weather at the beginning of the day though! I can't think of anything worse that than big headwind.

5/4/08, 1:04 AM  

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