Monday, July 26, 2010

The Liberty Criterium.

In the spirit of trying to complete in the widest range of cycling events I can possibly compete in, I found my way back to the world of criterium racing. My team promotes the race so we were motivated to have a good showing on our home turf. I was a bit stiff from my absolutely stupid and completely my own fault crash the day prior... with a stiff hip and some bad road rash, I was looking forward to making my legs hurt in a self induced way instead of the pointless reminder that I fell down." Why yes leg, I remember we crashed. Stop stinging, I cant do anything about it..."
We had a lot of guys lined up for the race, we made a few action plans and set out on our way. Being that I am not so good at sprinting, I was looking for a break away. There were a number of guys in the race that were proven break away/starters and more importantly winners... I was to look out for them. After a tough first 10 minutes nothing was sticking attack wise. Countless attempts to form a break occurred but everything was chased down. We had at least one rider in every move, which limited the whole "chase like mad" tactic.
Maybe about half way through the race we realized we needed to setup our sprinter, Chris. I gave up any aspirations of a result from a now non existing break and focused on covering attacks for my team. Between Brian Kall, Dan Lavelle, Jamie Harris and myself we had pretty much everything locked down. Joey and Jason were in the mix late to help Chris up front.
With about 5 to go I moved to the front to cover one last set of attacks. I drifted back and it took a lap to recover. I got a bit swamped and drifted a bit farther back that I would have liked. Worse yet I was on the right hand (inside) of the road next to the gutter. With 3 to go I needed to get to the front and help keep the pace up one more time in order to keep Chris and company from getting swamped and loosing position. There was no other way to move up that a 3 foot wide ribbon of pavement along the right curb. I had a clear lane up past 20 or so riders and I progressed up the gutter. With roughly 5 or 6 people left to the front, despite announcing my presence, somebody came over into the lane I was in while my front wheel was probably at their bars. Our arms became somewhat tangled up and both us wobbled back and forth quite violently. There was an immediate clustercuss of profanity. I tried to keep cool and focus on keeping my now violently shaking carbon fiber plastic bicycle away from the curb of impending doom and the consequences associated with hitting said curb. I was able to wiggle free and slide up to the front row. The clustercuss continued behind me. 
I promptly continued to the front and drilled it one more time. I slid backwards and knew my day was done. Chris ended up in the top ten in a tough race.
 Prior to my race, was Lauren's 4th ever road race. She had been doing the training races for months now and was really looking forward to this race. It showed in her riding as well as her mean mugging the girls as they lined up...
She was well positioned the entire race, riding near or at the front. With 300m to go she launched her sprint. I couldn't believe it when I saw her standing up out of the last turn turning the screws. I was waiting to stage and forget who I was standing next to but they asked" wheres Lauren? Is that her at the front?" I admit I replied, a bit unconfident with Lauren's long range sprint "I hope not" I realised however she was looking very strong and was fending off the girl in 2nd. I yelled at her as I watched the rider in 2nd start to surge.
Lauren clicked down one more gear and gave it one last kick. She held her off for another seconds but in the end got pipped right at the line by 1/2 a wheel. I still couldn't believe her result, I was so happy for her. At least somebody in this marriage can turn in a result!

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