Bubble in the desert

A blog I started whilst on a GE "Bubble" assignment in Nevada. I'm back in Cambridge (UK) now but still miss the desert and my friends out there.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

East Valley Crit

Scott and I had been preparing for the Crit all day, winding each other up and deliberately not doing much lunchtime to save some energy.

As we arrived it became clear that there were a lot of people in the C category, perhaps 20, and some potential power houses amongst them. One, Jef, wins the time trial fairly convincingly and is preparing for an Iron Man event in a couple of weeks (2.4 mile swim, 100 mile bike, 26 mile run).

After a warm-up we got under way. As usual, the game was to tuck in and not use too much energy, but being sporting, Scott and I took our turn at the front of the pack for a while. It's funny how quickly you notice the people who don't do that, but this is racing and that's ok (kind of, it just makes you want to beat those people over the line).

On an early tight turn, David, from work, hit a stone or something and his back wheel kicked out alarmingly. I think those of us behind him were the most alarmed but we all stayed upright and he went on to get a good finish. Crit racing seems to be a bit like that.

As the final lap dawned I realized way too late that there was a breakway group with my old time trial buddy leading it. I think I hadn't noticed they'd broken away because there were other riders out on the track warming up for the next race. I think my main race mistake was not noticing that development. Had I noticed I think I would have tried harder to pull up on them earlier.

Half a mile out, and into the full force of the wind, I got to the front (not clever) and said to Andrew, 'are we going to reel them in?' (meaning - work together to reel them in). He thought it a good idea and tucked in behind me(!). I switched into sheepdog mode and chased the lead group, heading in to the wind (at apparently 28mph according to Scott). I'm told I did a good thing and narrowed the gap but I kinda realized what I was doing at the time - I was losing a race! Just before the last turn riders came past me like they were riding motorcycles. They felt a good 5mph faster than me. I tried to hang on but I knew I'd blown it by then. I didn't sprint too early, but when I did stand to sprint I only had a couple of 2 seconds of sprinting in my legs (not the 6 or 7 seconds that should have been there). So, I came 1 millionth out of 20 in the race I think.

What of Scott? He got an impressively high place, 3rd perhaps. I guess he must have been the first of the pack over the line, right behind the breakaway group.

Another valuable learning experience. Damn! This Crit thing is like planning your cleverest chess strategy, whilst pushing your heart-rate, pushing your legs, and being tough enough to find and hold a decent line in the turns (not to mention avoiding the unpredictable wobbly people). Excellent fun and more addictive every race.


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