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Maybe I'm not a crit specialist after all (race report)(7 posts)

Maybe I'm not a crit specialist after all (race report)lonefrontranger
Jul 1, 2002 1:59 PM
For those of you who aren't in Colorado, it's been 3 things here lately: hot, windy and smoky. Coupled with the hills and altitude, this makes for really fabulous racing conditions (not).

My swansong Cat IV race was the Andy Finch Memorial State Championship RR on Saturday. I'd not planned for or prepped for this race at all; I basically decided to go at 9 PM Friday night. The course is run on (the remains of) roads belonging to an abandoned housing development south of Castle Rock. This makes for an awesome opportunity to hold a circuit race with no road closure / traffic issues whatsoever, because no one cares. The race itself looks deceptively easy; ours was 4 laps of a 3.6 mile loop. Less than fifteen miles you say - where's the challenge? Well, add 250' of elevation gain per lap and it gets hard quick.

I signed up for the IV race, then the ACA membership / upgrade guru (Yvonne) gave me my shiny new Cat III license. She said it was OK to do the IV race since it was State, I was already signed up, etc... I'd just sent her an e-mail on Thursday, I have to say I'm impressed with their response :)

The race was the usual 5 minutes late getting going, so I sat around at the start line and made jokes about "sprinters to the back, please". Most of the girls who'd stepped up were the skinny types one would expect at a featherweight fest like AF. But a funny thing happened on my way to anaerobic hell and the anticipated severe beating. I actually started feeling quite good on my first trip up the main pitch, as I found myself rolling to the front with happy legs, spinning easily on my "sprinter's secret weapon", the 10-speed cassette with the 27 max cog. At the turn halfway up the climb, I looked around and realized the field had halved - cool, that means I probably won't be DFL! On the last and steepest pitch, I still felt frisky, so I decided to stand up and stretch my legs out a bit. Boom! And then there were 4. I don't even really care that it was this effort that ultimately led to my demise, 'cause it sure felt good to watch the skinny ones suffer on the vertical for a change.

This was apparently the decisive split, and the remaining ladies were your deadly serious 115-lb mountain goat variety bike racers. I sat on for the descent, then kicked it again with lots of momentum on the subsequent "sucker climb", which wasn't as bad as the Biped had originally reported. At least I was able to big-ring it every time (albeit in the 53/24 or 21). The 4 of us yo-yo'ed back and forth from the sucker climb to the bottom of the descent, with the featherweights suffering from lack of mass on the downhill corners. We turned for the deceptively steep finishing pitch to the line, and reality hit, along with the effects of too much family reunion partying, sleep deprivation, and the Thursday Night Bike Nazi Ride I'd done. The 3 mountain goats paddled me soundly up the climb the second trip through, and I spent the rest of the race chasing. Third place cracked badly on the last lap, but I wasn't quite able to make up the distance, and fifth place TT'ed back to me at lap 2 1/2 or so, which meant I had a strong partner for the chase. I won the 2-up sprint to the line for fourth and a much better result than the State Crit, which I actually HAD focused on. Bah. Looks like I really AM a roleur after all (jack of all trades, master of none).
Congrats on the upgradeBipedZed
Jul 1, 2002 2:46 PM
Yeah, when I pre-rode the course last Monday I was wasted from 3 straight intensity days. That sucker climb seemed much harder. On race day it was actually an advantage for me and was a great place to push the pace. This year you've been quite effective in some of the hillier races. You'll kick ass in cross this year I bet. Too bad there's no mid-week Mead cross races this year.

Congrats on moving up and racing with the pros! I won't be around much in July except for Horgan and either Ft. Morgan and/or Niwot.
Horgan... why would you do that to yourself?lonefrontranger
Jul 2, 2002 5:42 AM
I will not touch Magnolia with a 10-foot pole (or a 20-speed bicycle for that matter).

I'll be at Niwot. Probably not much else until August when Bannock / Superior and State TT comes around.
Jul 2, 2002 6:43 AM
I've never climbing Magnolia before, or any of the Boulder climbs for that matter. I hear its super steep and not paved at the top. If you were to do it, would you use your 303s and risk flatting on the dirt sections or use clinchers and bring spares. There's no wheel support at all for this one.
Andy Finch pictureBipedZed
Jul 2, 2002 7:10 AM
A friend just sent this to me. It's on the final pitch of the climb on the last lap. I remember I had just looked back and the group I had attacked was gaining on me. My friend was yelling at me to punch it.
looking good!lonefrontranger
Jul 2, 2002 7:41 AM
You have about the same look on your face at the top of that beast that I did :)

John took some digital pics of me at Andy Finch, but I don't have the files available to link. We're dog / house-sitting for a friend and he doesn't have DSL... Will post them later.

I wouldn't use the 303's myself if I were crazy enough to do that race - but then I just don't like paying for tubies and going through all that struggle with gluing on a new one when I flat them. You're light enough that I would worry about the wheels themselves, but I've been hearing reports that the big boys are starting to break theirs...
re: Maybe I'm not a crit specialist after all (race report)flyinbowlofmilk
Jul 3, 2002 11:03 AM
Congradulations!, LFR Hopefully in the future I will be like you one day. Right now I am enjoying the learning curve. Check out my strange Racce report. All I can say is I had people cheering me on to finish the State Games Crit. But I am getting better. Got another road bike. My other road bikeis the LBS shop with a broken right shifter. It will be another 2 weeks before I can get it back. Good luck in the new Catergory LFR.