Monday, March 26, 2012

North Bend Crit 2012

The last few weeks of racing have been fun, and good training too.
Two Sequims (both had crashes - and they say Mason is dangerous?!), neither race went all that well for me though I stayed upright. Then there was Indy Valley, which I at least made it through with the pack, unlike last year..

But finally a crit came along, in March! Some grumbled it was too early for one, but it sounded great to me! And this was a new one on the calendar, out east in North Bend right up against the Cascades.

A flat four-corner deal, sounds a lot like Ballard! Seemed a little shorter than that, but still great training for one of my favorite races. The pavement was mostly smooth, with just enough broken-up pavement on the backside to make it interesting.

Our Cat 3 field was doing only 40 minutes, and a small field. No rain either. Perfect! I had three teammates in the race, ready to throw down.

The Race

I was on the second row at the start, and of course got stuck behind someone who couldn't clip in, and had to go around while not running in to anyone else - ahhh, crits!! The we all jammed together for the first turn, with brakes screeching and people grumbling, oh crits. I guess people need to get the cobwebs out anyway, better now than at Volunteer Park coming up!

It was great to see teammates on the front, and going off the front too. I tried to stay up in the pack to avoid any crashes in the middle/back, and the accordion effect too. Overall it was a pretty clean race, though I did see a UW guy in the grass out of corner one, not sure what happened there.

Off The Front

With about 15 minutes to go there was one guy off the front and another dude jumped out of the pack to bridge, so I grabbed his wheel to bridge too. Before too long we made it up to the guy, and I was off the front! Breaks are hard..

Usually in crits I try to sit in the pack, or chase on the front/speed things up when necessary. After all if it comes down to a field sprint, it really helps to rest (coast) as much as possible, so I usually can't do both.

We stayed off for a few laps, but I eventually ran out of gas and decided to just sit on. Of course my break-mates weren't happy with that, but what can ya do. Then I started to think that a field sprint suited me better anyway, so demoralizing the break might actually work out, or so I thought.

The End

We eventually got caught by the field and before I knew it there were 5 laps to go, with everyone together, sweet. Time to get set up for the sprint! My team came up front and we started trying to speed things up, keep it safer and make it harder to move up.

But we started the leadout too early and couldn't hold it for 5 laps, so on the last lap someone else was on the front, damn. This is what training is all about - dialing in the experience so you can get it right next time.

The last lap came and my legs felt good, but I wasn't as far up as I wanted to be. Maybe 8th wheel or so, pretty happy with how things are going, but not in a great spot. I started to jump on the backstretch before the 3rd turn, but then for some reason I sat and coasted (actually my legs probably gave out!) and some guy jumped around everyone on the inside of the corner. Ah, crits. Love it.

Some yelling and two corners later and we're coming down the home stretch, and I have to pass Mr. I-like-to-jam-on-the-inside guy on his right, having to go around his wheel with not much space. Overtook a few guys in the final 100m, making ground slowly on 3rd place, but couldn't do it in time. 4th, I guess I'll take it for the first crit of the season!

As usual, better positioning at the end would have made the different in the result, but that's what practice is for.

Seward Park is starting up next Thursday, and then Volunteer Park on Saturday. Can't wait!

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