Sunday, May 23, 2010

Round and Round

This weekend I returned to my roots. In the fall of 1985 I did my first criterium at age 14 and it too just happened to be the Capital City Criterium. Yep, that's 25 years of bike racing. On that Sunday 25 years ago I won the two lap race around the Capital building, this year, not so much.

I spent the first 6 years of my cycling career on the road and since '91 have been pretty much off-road racing. I've dabbled here and their but it's been another 6 year time span since I last turned the skinny tires in anger. I didn't quite know what to expect but I learned a lot of hard lessons over those first six years so I basically still knew what to do, where to position myself and so on. The two variables I didn't know were (1) my fitness compared to a quality Pro / 1 / 2 field and (2) my competition.

As the whistle blew it wasn't long before Matt Landen decided to light things up. I was expecting a move like this coming from the SoCal based pro rider and thought to myself that a move like this just might stick. The picture to the left pretty much sums up the move. Matt hammering, me unable to completely close the gap, and the field charging behind. I conceded, later finding out from Matt that he saw me coming and thought he'd "make me work for it", thanks buddy. Didn't I give you a job in college? Ah the love.

Anyway, as I rode in the bunch I was still feeling pretty good. I missed the first move of the day that stuck, when Matt and Chris Spence got away. Later I would follow a move that attempted to bridge, we had a gap but once I was there I couldn't contribute much and at that point I kind of decided that I'm probably not strong enough yet to make any serious efforts off the front of a quality Cat 2 field. A botched sprint would leave me 11th on the day, it should have been 6th, but at the end of the day I was beginning to be able to fill in the blanks. Fitness was pretty good and I learned a ton about the guys I'll be racing against.



Sunday was going to be a different animal as the race moved to the circuit at Pioneers Park, another familiar course from years gone by. I was worried because the race was so violent and so bumpy the day before I couldn't even sit down after the race. My glutes took a thrashing from the effort and my sit bones took an equally big thrashing from the pavement. Luckily the folks from Synergy were on site and they hooked me up with some active release massage after the race Saturday which was immediately noticeable. Sunday morning the glutes and sit bones were feeling better.

I wasn't expecting much from the race Sunday so on lap one when I had that "feeling" I decided to go. I got a good gap and I was hoping someone would come across and we could get a rhythm going. It wasn't to be as I was brought back a few minutes later. The second time up the climb Tim Farnham and Chris Spence went, I had the legs but not the position. I was blocked in, break gone, now what? A lap later, maybe two, I thought I'd try to bridge. I got a gap, peeked behind and saw two blue jerseys, maybe more. Jared Berger came through and thought I saw the whole group behind so I eased up a bit as Jared got a gap. Little did I know but he and the other guy had a gap and now I was stuck trying to close up to Jared's wheel. I didn't have the juice, plan and simple. Lost out again. I missed the third chance when Matt Landen went 20 minutes later. In hindsight, some errors were made and noted. Dead last on the day, mainly due to me early animation, a good day of training none the less.

All in all I'm pretty stoked on the whole road racing thing. It was awesome to be racing with guys that I've been racing with for quarter of a century, and some new faces too. Stoked that prep is coming along really well for 'cross season and I'm taking the weekends racing with a grain of salt as I've yet to begin any structured interval work. I'm pretty bummed I'll miss the Norfolk weekend as I'll be in Panama that week taking a rest week. And I'll miss the Papio Crit due to Rafal's wedding. So what else is there, I need more criteriums!

A few more pics.



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