Whiskey Off Road - Fat Tire Crit
I have never done a road race, never toed the line in a crit or anything even close. Maybe a short track race, but its been a few years since my last one. So the Fat Tire Crit on Friday was going to be a new experience. Fast cornering, pack riding, all out from the gun. Yikes! I had no expectations going into the race. I knew they would be pulling lapped riders, so my goal was to just stay in the race for as long as I could. The crit really had no bearing on the main event Sunday, but starting was mandatory. So while I wanted a good performance, I also didn't want to kill myself just for the show. Since our hotel was just a mile from Whiskey Row, Nick and I rode down to the venue. The course was marked and mostly clear. I did a few laps for my warmup, trying to learn the corners and prep for the coming event. Two steep hills, a few tight corners and fast descents. Bike handling would be important. The crowds were building - cheering on all the riders warming up and pedaling around. While it wasn't the big race of the weekend, the spectators wanted a show.
Then we were called to the line. A huge group of women, all ready to go. A few notable riders were introduced, then the start. Time for 20 minutes of all out pain. I tried to get into the front group before the first turn and was in a good position as we crested the first hill. Held in the first third of the pack on the first corner. Then it was over. The real riders took control on the second hill and broke the pack apart. I was swallowed by the herd and plummeted down the standings at the top. So much for maybe trying my hand at a prime or even getting all 20 minutes of the race! Took a pedal stroke to regroup, then revised my plan. Now was to just move up a few slots each lap and hold on for as long as I could! I pulled back a few slots over the next three laps and was starting to reel in a large group in front of me. Then the whistle. Sweet relief. I was pulled from the race before I could be lapped. Total crit stats? Four laps and 13 minutes of racing. Some of the hardest racing I've done, no matter how short it was. But I was done. Soft pedaled over to where Nick was taking some photos and tried not to cough my lungs up.
Overall, an interesting experience. I didn't hold on as long as I wanted, nor was I ever a factor in the race. I was simply pack fodder to make sure the show was good. A little disappointing - I really wanted to make a statement in the crit as someone to watch for the Whiskey 50. As far as the racing went, that was far from the result. But I felt good in the pack and really solid on the bike handling through all the tight corners and high speed maneuvering.CA good lesson on how the real pros ride. It also left me wondering what would happen on Sunday.
|The line up - just a few national champions, Olympic Medalists, World Champions and me!|
|Jamie B leading a small group into a fast corner - I'm last in the picture|
|Taking the corner hot|
|Moved up a few places, getting set up for another fast corner|
|Power to the pedals on the flat - trying to close down a gap|
|Done - the agony is over!|
|Start of the men's crit with the sun setting behind Thumb Butte|
|Cameron C on the first lap, attacking the hill|