Thursday, July 8, 2010

Joe Matava Cat 3's Crit 2010

Last year this was my 2nd "real" crit (besides Seward Park), got 11th, and was of course super happy with that result.

A fun 4-corner course with the start on a downhill, two left turns leading to an uphill backstretch, two more lefts and then the downhill to the finish. Classic crit format. In Burien.

The Ride Down to Burien

Unlike last year, when I was racing the 4/5's and had to get up super early to ride down in time to register, this year the 3's were racing until 12 PM or so, giving me plenty of time to rest, and take my time on the way down. I averaged about 13 mph down there.

I still left around 9:30-ish, hoping to catch some of the racing and was afraid the 3's field would sell out, as it supposedly did last year. Overcast and a little windy, but not too bad. Took Delridge to Ambaum to get down there, much to the delight of a few drivers.

Watched some good racing from the juniors, the women's 1/2 field, and rode around with Mark from Starbucks, Karl from Keller-Rohrbach, and Mike(?) from Garage, all nice guys but we'd be racing against each other soon. We rode in circles in a closed off block, an OK warm-up but I need to start bringing a trainer to races..

The Race

Upon signing up for the 3's race, a woman at the registration table said "Cat 3 means you're good! I learned that this morning." I laughed and said well I'm getting there, but enjoyed the idea that I'm something special. Works for me!

Took a few practice laps and lined up in the back, but there were only 35 or so other racers, and only a few rows of people. The Capitol Crit a few weeks ago was fun, but with so few riders and a tougher course it didn't have the feel of a straight-forward criterium, something I've gotten pretty good at. So this was my first bigger 3's crit.

The pack:

We started and a strong team mate Josh, who just upgraded to the 3's a couple of months ago, set off some early fireworks and launched an attack from the whistle, in our 45 minute race. Sweet.

I sat back and watched as he hammered in the distance, actually building quite the lead for a few laps:

He came back into the pack after a while, but it was a good effort. I'm still a little timid about attacking in a 3's race, but I'm getting there. And crits are so fast that I don't feel like I can last very long anyway..

I ignored all the premes, even though some were $10, $20, or $50, saving energy for the final sprint. Not ready to try for premes and the win or top 5 placing, not yet anyway.

Even so, at one point there was a break of 3 or so up the road, and I attacked the peloton from 3rd wheel coming down the straigh-away finish. A little camera time, if you will.

Later in the race Jordan took off on an attack for a preme and held off for a few laps, and Josh was out there again, if I remember correctly. Damn those kids are strong! Jordan he won $60 in the race too! Nice man..

There were more attacks here and there, but we were all together for the final few laps at least. And that's when people really started competing for the corners, and I had to back off a bit coming into the first corner on the last lap, there just wasn't any room, and people were getting way frisky (e.g. swerving a lot).

I remember at the time thinking, "Well there goes placing in the top 10.." as I watched 10 more people swarm around me. Sometimes you just know when you've given up spots that will cost you in the end.

In the 2nd corner a UW guy slid out, Jordan said he ran over the guy's bike! (and kept going)

Then in the 3rd corner, I'm sitting 10 wheels back or so, and a guy up ahead all of a sudden bucks his back wheel up a foot off the ground, and I'm thinking, "Yup, he's screwed!" But not a second later, my own pedal lightly touched the ground... maybe a little too early to gloat.

Coming out of the last corner I was about 15th, and looked up to see the riders fanned across the road. Well, maybe I can gain a few spots here? There are cash payouts for top 10 after all..

The Field Sprint

Hard to tell who's going to take it from about 150m out:

I put in a good dig but coming from 15th I was gunning for 10th at best. Actually passed a few guys that sat up near the line, or just couldn't hold their sprint long enough. Ended up 11th. (Just like last year no less!)

Patrick from Second Ascent took the win in the end, he was actually in the big crash in the Boston Harbor Circuit Race a few weeks ago. Helluva recovery! Good for him:

Photos from

The Ride Back

Ride back was slow, and traffic was heavier at 3 PM. But it felt great to have done decent in the crit, and kept it upright, ready to race again.

Next up: Derby Days in Redmond! $300 up for grabs for 1st place..

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