Monday, July 11, 2011

Iron Hill Twilight Crit

As a race, Iron Hill would be classified as scary. I would rate it as a full blown 10 on the clustercuss scale. This year, I decided to race. We all know my relationship with crits, but I had more important things to worry about, like helping my teammates (we had three with a chance) do well.

We lined up 25 minutes early for the start. Even then we were in the 3rd row. Start position in this race is crucial. Lining up in the back effectively ends your race before the gun even goes off.
While standing there waiting to start, Krapf bus company, home of the lovely school bus driver that tried to kill my wife and I one day… decided the best way to advertise would be to bring a coach bus through the start finish area. Everyone had to squish to one side. When we unsquished I had magically lost 15 spots. Repeat this process for the pace car, and now I am at best, in 50th
Luckily 2 of my teammates, Dan and Chris, made the front row.
The first lap was ok. I made some good passes and moved up to the top 30. Then 90 seconds into the race, on turn one on lap 2, my race basically ended. Huge crash on the outside.. The top 15 make it through, maybe 7 guys around me make it through after much sliding, and the back half of the field crashes on the inside.  I have a teammate with me and pace him back up to the lead group over the course of the next lap. Right as we rejoin the leaders in turn 3, there’s another huge pile up. This time I have to unclip and stop. Standing there in the middle of the road, watching the race fly away from me while hoping I don’t get plowed into was not where I had seen myself. 
If you look close, you can see me standing in the back.
I escaped, again, and chased. It was just me now. I had a 15 second gap to the leaders and a 15 second gap over the chasers.
8 people made the lead group. Dan and Chris were there. I wanted nothing more to join the group and help them. I chased by myself for 5 laps, stuck in no man’s land between the two groups. Somewhere in the chase I almost died, again. I rounded turn one and there was a dude and his bike (crashed out of the lead group) still laying in the road. I unclipped and leaned way hard to avoid him and made it through.
While chasing they let 7 more people who crashed out of my bunch rejoin into the lead group. Not really all that cool.  
I looked back and the chase had made up some ground. I sat up and went back, hoping the chase group would get me closer to the leaders for a bridge, where I could finally be with my teammates. At this point there were maybe 30 people of the 92 starters left in the race. We were barely ½ way through!

It seemed as though the 10 guys in my group had no interest in chasing after a while. I was the one primarily at the front.  A few guys tried to attack out of the group, but I was able to shut down the efforts. Despite my best attempts to organize, I ended up just leading us around as not to be lapped...  In the end most of my group came around me after turn 4 in the sprint.

I crossed the line happy I wasn’t bleeding, but very disappointed. I wanted to repay my friends for the work they have done for me recently and I felt as though I had let them and myself down. Dan Lavelle rolled towards me with two fingers in the air. I learned Newport had grabbed 2nd! Dan was able to lead him out and took 13th. I went from frustrated to ecstatic in about .5 seconds.  In the end, my team and I got our wish anyways. We made the podium, and Chris got a result he had been so close to for the entire season. 
Lauren's shot of Chris, as she screamed and jumped in the air. 

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