Monday, May 19, 2008

Houston Grand Criterium

I drove the 150 miles to Houston on Saturday with the family because I was racing on Sunday morning at 8am. I was signed up for the 35+ 4/5 race. I left the hotel at 6am and figured that I would grab breakfast at the hotel on the way out. No go. The restaurant opened at 7am. So I found a Chevron on the way to the race and grabbed one of those ham and cheese sandwiches in a plastic triangle package along with a banana and a giant Rice Crispie treat. It definitely wasn't the ideal pre-race meal, but it would have to suffice.

There were 56 racers on the starting line. The course was basically an out and back with a 180 at one end and a city block at the other end. A lap was 2.8 miles. The race started off at a decent pace, but not blazing by any stretch. I was in the second row at the start and got off well. I made sure that I was at or near the front going through the 180 on every lap. I went through first on 4 laps. I wanted to avoid the "slinky" effect that you get when you are coming out of a sharp turn when sitting too far back. I managed to get into 2 breaks both of which were short lived. The problem with breaks in higher cat races is that once they make the break some riders want to sit on and it only takes one to ruin the cooperation. On the last lap I led through the 180 at the far end of the course. The pace was fast and I grabbed a few wheels. Unfortunately about 1/4 mile or so from the two left turns before the finish I got boxed in. Coming out of the last corner I throttled it and came around 2 racers in the sprint to finish 10th. This was the first time this year that I felt like I was able to motor the sprint. I still have some work to do on sprinting, but it is coming along. I was hoping for top 5, but top 10 will have to do.

I am in the blue and white between the two guys in yellow and black.

Here is the second break that I managed to get in about to get caught. I worked my ass off to get across only to find the guy on the left yelling at the two other guys because they wouldn't work. I hadn't even had a chance to recover and pull before it was all but done. Great job on spotting a good break, Chris.

Here is the sprint. The guy in red that won had a killer sprint. He came by me earlier in the race for a preem and was hauling ass. I checked his results and am not surprised to see that he does most of his racing on the track.

Here is the weather for the next week. Luckily I will be in cool So. Cal. for the next 3 days.

And finally, what you have been waiting for. Number 8 on the list of "Top 10 Cheesiest Songs of All Time That You Probably Like But Won't Admit It." Here is Barbie Girl by Aqua!


Blogger Zach said...

out of 56, 10th place is still pretty damn good. Good job!

Lucky weather you've having, it's been pretty shitty in Eastern PA.

I've actually heard that song played on the radio, a tv show or something in my lifetime before. Never knew what the song was until now.

5/19/08, 8:18 PM  
Blogger AMRcyclist said...

Bad, bad song!!!
Nice report and good form, Chris.
It is just a matter of time and you will be crossing that line first.
What is the Av. speed in those crits?

5/19/08, 10:47 PM  
Blogger Groover said...

Well done! Great photos, too.

But that song is definitely not on my fav list. It's one of those songs that get stuck in your head and you can't get rid of it.

5/20/08, 1:51 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Zach - I guess we all have different ideas of what bad weather is.

Amrcyclist - average speed in that race was right at 25mph (40kph).

Groover - you will be singing the Barbie song all day long now. :)

5/20/08, 4:08 AM  
Blogger bluecolnago said...

that sounds like a perfectly good pre-race breakfast to me. the roller dogs weren't cooking yet? i love those things!

sounds like you worked hard and had a good finish. congrats!

5/20/08, 4:47 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

The top ten has got to get better. But like Zach said... you being in the top ten is pretty damn good especially out of 56.
Great pics... your family knows right when to snap.

5/20/08, 5:04 AM  
Blogger jahowie said...

That's an awesome finish!! Nice work. I bet you were pissed when those guys wasted that break opportunity.

5/20/08, 8:16 AM  
Blogger oldmanandhisbike said...

Dude, enough Cheesy music already! I am going to have to slap some Metallica on to wash out my ears.
Anybody else here think that the guy "Rene" in that video looks remarkably like Bryan from Algomaha?
Anyway, to your race. Top Ten is a great finish to what sounds like a tough race. Sorry you couldn't get any of the breaks to work. Next time, just pull a Laurent Jalabert and make a solo break right from the gun all the way to the end! :^)
Nice pre-race nutrition plan. I'm sure Eddie stopped at a Petrol station just before every stage!

5/20/08, 8:40 AM  
Blogger Lily on the Road said...

Excellent job Chris!! I love the pic', you were flying!! You really ride low, that is awesome!

BTW, hadn't heard Bertie Higgins in about 30 years!!! OMG, I loved his song....LOL...

5/20/08, 10:47 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Blue - I actually did check the rollers and they were bare.

Donald - I can't promise it gets better, but it will go on!

Jahowie - it was a good break I thought that had a nice gap. I think it was just one guy that mucked it up.

Oldman - he is a hell of a lot better looking than Bryan. You think Eddy would be proud?

Lily - at least someone admits to liking Bertie! Oldman will come forth eventually.

5/20/08, 5:12 PM  
Blogger Whitey said...

Well done! 10th is a good result! I'm looking forward to the day I get into a break, I'll be even happier if that break works.

Don't listen to amrcyclist or groover, that's an awesome song. :p Memories of the weekly walk from school to the local skating rink in Grade 4 (yes, I'm only a youngen) and when that song used to come on we'd all go as fast as possible. Savage Garden 'I want you' was another fave back in the day ;-)

5/20/08, 5:48 PM  
Blogger bryan said...

that is so not cool.

5/20/08, 7:09 PM  
Blogger bluecolnago said...

yes it is

5/20/08, 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Fendergal said...

I am not ashamed to say I love that song.

Great job in the race! Next time, if you're feeling that good, go for it with three or four laps to go. Someone will surely come with you, and if it doesn't pan out, you'll have some recovery time for the sprint.

5/21/08, 4:05 AM  
Blogger CyclistRick said...

I would be ashamed to say I love that song, but I do not have to; please make it go away, please ....

Great job on the race! Always tough when someone does not or cannot work. Still trying to learn how to tell whose wheel I can trust. Harder when you travel and have a lot of folks you do not know in the race.

5/21/08, 4:50 AM  
Blogger Eclectchick said...

GREAT job!! I can't wait to find out what the rest of the season holds for you.

Again, refusing to click on play.


5/21/08, 7:38 AM  
Blogger allan said...

Doesn't everybody eat rice krispie treats before a race?

Congrats on the top 10. Your results are getting better and better.

5/21/08, 2:34 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

You look tucked in there, very aero, you also look emotionlessly confident. Btw, did I tell you that do get a lot of comments. I'm struggling to keep up here bro... nl

5/21/08, 9:30 PM  
Blogger Neese said...

Hey Chris, thanks for the comment, a few brews are in the plans for Sunday, on a work the next day ahhh

5/22/08, 8:41 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Whitey - did you roller skate or roller blade or were you rad like those guys in that movie ROLLER BALL?

Lily - he even has his own website. You should check it out!

Fendergal - I keep telling myself I am going to attack, but never feel like the time is right to do it. It is just inexperience.

Rick - after racing with these guys for most of the year, I am finding who to follow and who to not. It certainly helps.

Eclectchick - you clicked play. I know you did.

Alan - rice and marshmallow goodness. Hard to beat.

Ron - I guess I leave a lot of comments too, so maybe that is why.

Neese - enjoy your drinks!

5/24/08, 7:48 AM  

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