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Continuing Adventures of the Cat 5: Pain in Whosville(7 posts)

Continuing Adventures of the Cat 5: Pain in WhosvilleMarlon
Aug 8, 2001 6:32 PM
Ow. Ow. Just finished that last crit, and I'm still in so much pain, it hurts even to think. But here goes anyways...

The Scene: Hot, humid, and virtually not a whisper of wind. High 80s to low 90s in temperature with the humidex, and the moisture so thick that at times it felt like you could take your water bottle, swing it around in the air with the top off, and fill up. Enter the criterium: a new Wednesday night series, it's a roughly 1.2 mile gently curving circuit, 1 hour + 5 laps in this godforsaken weather, and 4 primes. All categories *combined*, 60 riders total, mostly cat 2's and 3's, with a sprinkling of 4's. And one cat 5. That's me.

The Motive: Fresh off last week's 3rd placing in the novice/intermediate Tuesday Nighter, I was thinking - "I can kick some ass now." That was before I showed up to this night's crit and learned that all categories were combined. Needless to say, I think I was the most junior rider there,

The Plot: Realizing that water loss was going to be my biggest problem, I pre-loaded up on the Gatorade and lugged two full bottles of sweet dihydrogen monoxide to the race. 3 washroom trips later, I realized that I had perhaps gone overboard, and eased up on the water intake. Then, the usual roll-up to the start, a quick prayer to the Gods of Grippy Rubber and No-Crashing, and we were off.

DEEP THOUGHT INTERLUDE OF THE MOMENT: "This isn't so bad for a bunch of cat 2's and 3's".

First lap was easy, second lap got a bit faster, and the third lap... well, only 5 minutes into the race, some enthusiast has taken off, my speedometer is reading 28mph and climbing, and the pack is still as cool as a cucumber. Or, as cool as a cucumber that's slowly roasting in a sauna. Blast this weather!

DEEP THOUGHT INTERLUDE OF THE MOMENT: "Stay cool grasshoppa', stay cool..."

A couple of laps later, we're starting to hold steady between 28 and 30mph, and I think I feel strong enough to try an attack. OOps. Big mistake. No sooner do I get roughly 20 feet away that the pack reels me in like a minnow on a deep-water line. And I was really trying too! Panting, I lick my salt-encrusted lips, and nudge back into the pack.

DEEP THOUGHT: "I am soooo outta my league."

The pace begins to waver. We drop to ridiculously slow speeds, then spring forward in mind shattering sprints. I feel like I'm caught in a slinky, one that is very painful indeed. My max speed has hit more than 38mph. The first of the primes begin. They are torture. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the first of the dropped riders on the sidelines. Some of these people have raced longer than I've been alive. I am scared.

DEEP THOUGHT: "We're only 30 minutes into the race?!? DANG."

A new development - a crash! It happens on a slightly winding part of the course, a stretched-out "S" bend. A rider was coming up on the outside of the bend alongside the pack, and as the bend turned in the other direction, becoming the inside of the bend, the pack shifted towards the inside, cutting the poor guy off, and sending him into the curb. The sound of his pedals and wheels scraping at high speed rips though the pack, along with cries of alarm and surprise. With 10 riders behind him, the cut-off rider makes his choice, and I barely see him hop up into the air, over the curb, and into the grass where he bails. That takes guts... I see him later, riding a teammate's bike. To sacrifice your race like that - that's teamwork.

DEEP THOUGHT: "Let the pain end, pleeease."

Skip to the final lap; in the interim, I've done some chasing on behalf of the pack, led a bridging attempt, worked in a breakaway - I've done it all, and I've held my own. But it hasn't been easy. My stomach is cramping up, my legs feel like lead, and worst of all, everyone's getting more squirrely than a chipmunk on LSD. The pack gets nervous... half a lap down... WHOA, huge swerve by some idiot, nea
Pain in Whosville, part 2...Marlon
Aug 8, 2001 6:38 PM
Sorry, last part got cut off. Here's the rest:

Skip to the final lap; in the interim, I've done some chasing on behalf of the pack, led a bridging attempt, worked in a breakaway - I've done it all, and I've held my own. But it hasn't been easy. My stomach is cramping up, my legs feel like lead, and worst of all, everyone's getting more squirrely than a chipmunk on LSD. The pack gets nervous... half a lap down... WHOA, huge swerve by some idiot, nearly takes out the front half of the pack... easy, easy... leadout guys are in the front now, and I've tagged along for the ride... wow, I'm actually in the front! 500 yards to go, and some enthusiastic idiot has started the sprinting. No choice, and off the saddle I go, clinging to the wheel of this very large and powerful guy whom I can barely keep up with and who is causing me so much pain I want to die right now.

FLASH THOUGHT: "I do this for fun. I am a moron."

Sprint, sprint, sprint, it's useless, there's too many guys in front, but heck, might as well finish hard, and whoa - I think I finished well! Quick double-check - yes, I've actually finished 10th! The lone cat 5 with the 2's and 3's! WOO HOO!

5 minutes later, the stomach cramps set in with a vengence.

LAST THOUGHT OF THE DAY: "I am never doing this again."

The conclusion: Now that I feel a little better, I think I'll do a nice easy ride on the weekend, and try the next crit in the series. I am such a moron.
Freakin' loserHinault
Aug 9, 2001 4:32 AM
Jeez, I could kick your ass like I did Lemond's. I recon' you've too much time on your hands if you can type all that old hooey. Just think you wouldn't have to keep suckin' my wheel you freak if you spent more time on your bike.

Bernard H.
Classic writing!rollo tommassi
Aug 9, 2001 6:47 AM
A lovely bit of reading to start my day! Very funny and all to true! Keep up the good work!

pay no attention to 'Mr. Hinault' - Brittany has never had a better pig farmer......
Pain in Whosville, part 2...flyinbowlofmilk
Aug 11, 2001 12:51 PM
Congradulations! I wish I could ride my road bike like you. I know the feeling. I did that in a Mtbr race in june . But back to you good going. Maybe one of these day I will be able to ride in a Crit. That when I get up to Crit Speed.Good luck in moving up in the crit Racing series and e-mail me to keep me posted .
truly excellent, and BTW pay no mindlonefrontranger
Aug 15, 2001 12:28 PM
to that jealous 14-yo flame magnet. Like he's ever raced anyhow.

Told you triathletes were excellent road race candidates, didn't I? You sound about like the 2-time Ironman triathlete I recruited for my women's team in OH. That would be the one who catted up from 4 to 1 in her second season of road racing, then got picked up by an elite regional team.

If you're a true criterium specialist, it's like an incurable addiction. The shriek of thousands of dollars worth of metal sliding across pavement and the stink of burning skin and carbon fiber is merely part of the sick attraction. It's a disease you might never be cured of.

Love the stories, *please* keep them coming. They're keeping me amped for the start of my second training phase this season - CYCLOCROSS! If you think crits are bad, try running around in the mud wearing a fully-functional bicycle.
wow...Duane Gran
Aug 9, 2001 3:42 AM
Great race summary. It sounds like it was pretty crash laden though. I enjoy crits but that is my major beef with them.

It sounds like you are totally hooked on racing, man. That is awesome. After my first race earlier this year I was in instant addict and still love it. Thanks for posting this fun to read stories of your races. If I have a fun story to share I may post as well. Good idea.