May 18, 2009

Two crits and a W

After last weeks death march (aka Bear Mountain) I was happy to get back to what I'm good at: Going in circles really fast!

Saturday morning was AVD's New York Crit, aka a bunch of cones on an old runway at Floyd Bennett Field. It was foggy and raining at FBF, which makes for a sort of other worldly experience. The race itself was pretty boring. Round and round we went. I tried to grab onto a couple breaks, but nothing stuck. About halfway through, three guys went off the front and dangled there. I thought there was no way it was gonna stick, so I just sat there waiting for them to come back. Sure enough, they eventually rolled away and made it count. Then another rider did the same on a prime lap. I must be the worst person in the world on picking breaks. Never have I instigated or bridged to a winning break or even one that stayed away for any decent amount of time.

My sprint felt pretty good and I was able to accelerate away whenever I wanted. In the end I sprinted for second in the field. I jumped a little late and wasn't quite able to catch another rider. Turns outI was relegated two positions for going outside the cones to avoid crashing. It wasn't like I was moving up or anything, but I wasn't going to argue it at a training crit when the results will probably never be posted.

Foggy at FBF

The next morning was Tour de Parc. Last year it was my first crit back after crashing out in '07, so I was really nervous and couldn't move up enough to finish well in the end.

I got to the race a little early and accidentally ended up ruining my warm up by standing in the rain and watching the masters race. I felt a lot better once the race started and I warmed up again. Larry was preaching a group finish and, given my little experience, I believed it. I messed around at the beginning a little and got myself in a break for a couple laps, but we got reeled in and I sat up. Larry got away too, but he didn't go anywhere.

Going into the final lap, Skip(?) from Babylon was still away from a long break, but it was obvious we were gonna catch him before the finish. On the back stretch, his teammate Mark countered when he was caught. Immediately, two guys chased after Mark. Just as they were about to catch him, on the backside of the little hill, someone hesitated and I jumped around everyone. It was about 300 meters from the line and I wasn't sure if I could make it from that far out. I just put my head down and pedaled like mad and I was able to hold the field off for the win!

It was a strange sprint for me, usually I'm out of the saddle, accelerating my whole sprint. This one started downhill, then into a headwind, so it was all sitting down and downshifting. No pictures, I'd like to see the look on my face at the end ("Oh damn that sprint started way too early").

It was great racing with everyone from East End. We had Larry, Chris, Rob, Nick, and George out there. It was nice to have some friendly faces around you in a race.

May 11, 2009

Bear Mountain

Bear Mountain is my first real, hard race of the year. I've done three Prospect races and a TT, but Bear is the first show all your cards, leave it all on the road type of race. I think its good training for the Giro di Jersey. The 4 race is four loops in Harriman Park with quite a bit of climbing; mostly short stair steps, but it adds up quick.

I drove up with Craig, who was also doing the cat 4 race (but a different cat 4 race only for people older than 37, wtf?). We got ready and did a little recon of the course. The initial descent was fast and the following climb was tough. The finish looked good, though, and if I could last that long it fit me well.

Well, the race was... hard. I played by strategy well. I was near the front for the first two laps, avoiding getting gapped on the climbs and any of the cat 4 carnage in the turns. The climb was hard for me, but the flats and downhill went well and I could recover again. The third time up the climb, I looked back and saw the field that was previously 100 strong was reduced to 30 riders. Just after that, my legs cramped pretty bad as we crested the hill and the lake came into view. Not get off the bike in agony bad, but every muscle in my legs staged a tiny rebellion. From there I just rolled along and caught a draft from whoever I could stay with. We almost caught back on the cat 4 group at the end of lap 3, but my legs didn't have it on the last little rise to the finish line. I was pretty wrecked by the end of four laps. No matter how much I ate or drank I just couldn't recover. I guess I need a race like that to start out each year.

Props to Craig and Robin. Craig got third place in the older cat 4s and Robin got a top ten in the 3/4 women. I definitely felt the extra weight I carry in that race. I'm not sure if someone who weighs 180 pounds will ever be competitive with that much climbing.

Maybe I need some lighter wheels....

Here I am trying to hide behind the next biggest guy in the race. Amazingly the yellow and black guy from BVF finished at the front.

I think I'm getting dropped here.