Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Menlo Park Crit Race Report

The legs were pretty tired from doing the TT yesterday, but I wanted to get in this crit before next weekend's fun at Madera. Being my first crit of the year I was expecting this to be a really fast race. I line up and behind me are BJM and Holloway. Nothing like doing my first 1/2/3 crit and having these guys on my heels.

Things started out fast and pretty smooth. However, the new left/right corner sequence on the back kept being taken too slow. From my position in the back it looked like those in the front were able to take it faster since they were strung out, but towards the back we constantly were slowing down and then re-accelerating. That got old real quick.

My lungs felt fine, but the legs were pretty dead. I hung out at the back and wondered just how long I could hang at these speeds (we averaged around 28+mph for the race). I forced myself to get real low and aero to get any draft benefit available from the wheel in front of me.

With 5 laps to go and heading across the start/finish, I feel the rear wheel getting a little loose. I had to slow down and take corner #1 slow and by the time I hit corner #2 the rear was completely flat. I found a spot on the course where I could cut across a parking lot and get back to the start/finish area and the neutral wheel support. I hopped over the barriers and ran the next 50 yards across the start/finish line down to the wheel support area. I wasn't expecting to work on my CX skills, but I was running like a gazelle with my bike over my shoulder.

Thankfully my sprint to the pits gave me plenty of time to get a new rear. I wasn't able to get in the gear I wanted when I hopped back onto the tail of the group, but I quickly latched back on. With only a few laps to go and nothing really left in the tank, I found an opportunity to get to the front with 3 laps to go.

Coming out of the last turn there was a brief lull and I shot up the right side and slotted in 3rd wheel behind Joel Robertson (I think) and a Team Oakland rider. Both pulled off and I went into TT mode. Down through the start/finish, around turns #1 & #2, and still going on the back straight. I pulled off halfway down the straight and knew that the end was near. As the group begins to pass I hear Nevitt yell over to me, "You went too early". I didn't say anything, but knew that I had to do something w/ only fumes in the tank.

After that it was a slow death march off the back with a couple of other riders. We ended up being pulled with 1 lap to go and I promptly found a spot to watch the finish in the wheel pit. Holloway laid down a nasty sprint to easily take the win by a few bike lengths.

I have to say the speed of this race was a wake up call to me. I knew it would be fast, but had no idea that it would be this fast! Boy that was fun; completely different than any 35+ cat 4 crit I did last year. The faster speed definitely felt safer. Hopefully the body will be better prepped after this weekend of racing for the upcoming Madera stage race.

4 comments:

velogirl said...

Todd, thanks for coming out to race!

Lorri

Manley Man said...

Contrary to some comments over at ncncaracing.com/forums, I had a blast as a 3 racing in the p/1/2 field.

velogirl said...

thanks, Todd! actually, I haven't heard any negative feedback directly related to Sunday's race. KC is just, well, you know.

Manley Man said...

:)