I should start by saying I did not go in with high expectations. This was my first crit in 15 years, my first mass start race in 10 years. And I had no real goals. I suppose my real motivation was to get that mass start behind me, and see where my fitness level was.
I was nervous, I was anxious, and it was great having David there! He pinned my number on like an old pro.
The weather was ok. Hot, humid, breezy, and threat of rain. A shower passed over real quick one hour before start, but the roads dried real quick. And the last two laps were in the rain. We got lucky. Ugly storm rolled thru about 3:00 PM.
I had planned to ride up, but instead opted to have David drive me up. I did go up early to get my number so that hassle was out of the way (and it was a hassle. I got there at 11AM, and had to wait 15 minutes, and I was third in line). I got to the race area around 12:30, my start time was at 1:15. I did get a decent warmup, and felt ready.
Funny thing happened next, they opened the race course for a warm up, and my legs felt like absolute concrete. All week they have felt great..why did they choose to do this at race time?
Notice my start position. That is a prime start position. Outside, at the line. And at first I was ok with it, when it didn’t appear that we had that many in the race. (Preregs were low, so I really didn’t have any ideal how many to expect. We ended up with a field of around 30, my best guess). As more riders start rolling up, I was getting nervous and felt kind of claustrophobic. I was thinking “this is a great spot for someone more experienced”. But I didn’t think I should be there, for me or the safety of the guy who had his front wheel overlapping my rear wheel, and about 2 inches away!
Oh well. Start was ok, but the thing I was most concerned about, not getting into the pedals quickly, was an issue. I fumbled with it, and finally got in. By the time I was in, I was near the back of the pack, my usual spot.
Them there was the mental issue of the first turn. Got past that very well, and felt comfortable. But by the time I was out of the second turn, I was out of it. OK, this has become a training ride.
The wind was an issue since I was riding along. Had a stiff headwind on the back stretch.
Could I have rode harder? The answer to that question will usually be yes. However I don’t think I had it yesterday. I had several opportunities to catch back on when being passed( ok…lapped) but just could hang on more than 5 seconds.
I do feel I rode as hard as I could have rode yesterday. I was in a world of hurt.
I’m not going to make up multiple excuses. But, my training was greatly reduced this past week, between the weather and my sinus problems, which still bothered me slightly yesterday. But the bottom line is I need to kick up my training a notch ( actually two or three)
I really do wish I had gone to some of the Tuesday night crits. I would have been better prepared, and would have had the “first crit fears” behind me. And I’m sure I would have been better prepared yesterday, and would have had a better race.
I’m grateful to the spectator, who kept me motivated. Thanks to find folks of Grandview for their hospitality. And a thanks to the officials for not pulling me. I was able to complete the race, and get in a good training ride along the way.
So, should I go to today’s race? I am preregistered. I’m not expecting any better results. But I did pay, so I can at least see how I fare on the hill. Another good training ride.