Sunday, July 20, 2008

Leanin' Tree Crit

Blue Sky Velo lined up 4 strong for the Leanin' Tree Crit. Bryan Grace and Pete Galt were entering their first ever crit, and Ross and I are "veterans" at getting dropped.

I was hoping the blazing heat of the day would hold off until after our race, but it was clear as I warmed up that my wishes wouldn't come true. It was a scorcher. I don't know if the heat contributed, but the group was pretty small (<30?).

We started out hard, but I was suprised at how quickly and frequently the group sat up. I went to the front a number of times to see if I could get things moving. As soon as I would let someone pull through, though, the pace would slow right back down. I wish I had the legs today to try to make a break happen, but it just wasn't happening. I'll be curious to check out the power data later to see if the ride was as easy as I thought it was. (I'm out of town now, but I'm going to try out Isaac's PowerTap downloading tool to grab all my ride data until I can get back to my house and WJO+.)

People were choosing weird lines today. It's like people forgot that the shortest path between 2 points is a straight line. For example. after the start/finish, the road curved to the left. For the first half of the race, people were staying far right instead of taking the straighter line on the left. I think their brains were thinking that they needed to stay in the lane like they were driving, or maybe they thought they'd be better off drafting than taking a faster line. Also, someone came up from behind and banged into me (more than the usual incidental contact). It was weird. There was a little bend in the road, and I'm not sure what line this person was trying to take. Nobody went down, so that's good I suppose.

With a couple to go, someone from Turin put it an attack and had a good gap. I was mid-pack at that point and saw one of his teammates on the front soft pedaling and let the gap grow. It's pretty amazing what one person can do to help a gap grow. It was even more amazing that people were happy to sit on his wheel. I came around him and picked up the pace for a quarter lap and that got things moving a bit.

On the final lap I came through the corner before the climb on Ross's wheel. He made a great attack on the hill and I was following him when somone came in and pinched me agains the curb. I had no choice but to grab some brake and lose all my momentum. That was rough. I reaccelerated and stayed with the group, but there was no way I could get up to the front again. That's too bad, it would have been a sweet leadout from Ross. He led the field up the finishing stretch and took 4th. Bryan rode near the front of the group the whole time and took 6th. An awesome result, especially for his first crit. All those short track races are paying dividends on the pavement too.

Nice work everyone and I'll see you all in Prospect on August 9th. I imagine with a short course and a bunch of corners, it'll be quite a bit different than this race.

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