when ur alarm goes off on a school day and you just
CCC - Day 4 - Stage 3 Downtown Twilight Criterium - Today was a mellow day of sleeping in and relaxing around Joe’s house until our crit race later in the afternoon. With some good recovery we were looking forward to the race and another chance to get in the mix. The course seemed like a straightforward four corner rectangle, but after further inspection we realized a few things - course ran counterclockwise (all lefts), the south west corner was a tight bottleneck leading into a small rise, the last two corners had a bumpy road surface, and the wind was picking up (tailwind down finishing straight, headwind on the back stretch). Furthermore, the race was only 40 minutes, which meant it was going to be a fast one. With all these details and a field of 100+ riders, positioning was key.
As soon as the masters races ended we jumped on to the course and took one lap only to come up to the finish and see the entire field already lined up. So there went our good starting position and all we could do now is move up every chance we get. Racing a crit from the front can be tough, but it let’s you choose your own lines and avoid the sprint out of every corner along with the chaos of crashes in the field. So right from the gun we just slowly worked our way through the field, either fighting to hold a position or making up places at every opportunity. It was a fairly fast start and it really took a bit to make up some ground. After about 25 minutes we linked up and began to move Mesa up to towards the front. Hammering up through the headwind stretch we got Mesa up in a good spot and tried to slot in and ride out he remaining race in position for the sprint. Unfortunately the chaos of crits hit the field and a few laps after we positioned ourselves well, someone lost it on the outside turn into the bottleneck part of the course. No serious injuries, but it forced Mesa to completely stop and loose any chance of seeing the front again. He tried to get a free lap, but it was too close to the finish and he simply rode out the rest of the race. Jaffa and I missed the crash but due to some sketchy bike handling we lost our good positioning and had to fight to make up ground ASAP. By the time the final 3 laps started we simply couldn’t get through to the front and finished in the pack, boxed in and frustrated. Of course this was not what we wanted from the race, but we were happy to keep the rubber side down and still have some good legs (even though we didn’t get to use them).
After the race we went back to the house, washed the kits, and went back to downtown to watch the pro race. Joe met up with us and we ate some burritos as we watched Optum and Jelly Belly fight it out for the sprint. Funny enough I heard that out cat 2 crit had the fastest average speed, but since it was only 40 minutes it wasn’t that surprising. With a field of 200 racing over a longer time, the pro race looked much tougher and we all can’t wait to be in there. All in good time.
One more stage and one more opportunity remains for us to leave it all on the road and do what we love.