I didn't race the crit, so can't comment on it, but I raced the C road race at Dartmouth. What to say? Holy ****! This was a very hard race. Officially 51 miles, my computer says almost exactly 49. One big and one very big climb (Mt. Moosilauke) in the race, sharply rolling terrain otherwise.
I didn't feel nearly as good as I did last week. I couldn't climb at the front for the first climb, but caught back on the fast, fun descent. Similarly, I watched a front group of around 20 disappear on the climb of Moosilauke. I really can't climb as well as I should on paper (5' 5", 125 lbs). Or maybe I'm not in good shape, or perhaps my bike weighed me down a lot. It is a steel beast.
Anyway, me and a bunch of other guys chased hard down the descent and onto the rollers after the big hills were over. My lower back muscles caught fire before I even cracked, and I had to fall off the back. And then I cracked for real. I think that my fit is farked - too cramped. I couldn't believe the pain in my lower back. I recovered and grabbed a passing paceline for a few miles, fell off of that one, managed to grab onto another one and hang desperately onto the back until the last turn, after which I just couldn't hold the pace and had to small ring it on the flat almost all the way to the finish. Ouch.
Came in 34th out of 64, 8:30 down on the leaders. Not too great, but not as bad I thought or felt, either. This was a very hard race, and I doubt I would have done well even if my back muscles hadn't given me problems. Good form seems so fleeting!
Anyway, that's it for the collegiate road season this year, and thank goodness! It was fun, but I'm ready to relax for a while. The bike needs to go to the shop for a look at my cross-threaded derailer hanger and I need to gear up for finals. I had a great time, and I hope to see my fellow racers again, possibly in a couple years!
EDIT: Funny post race moment: I was talking to a guy from U Delaware. I was complaining about suffering on the climb, and mentioned my high placing at the UVM crit. He remembered my second place at Grant's Tomb Crit, looked me up and down and said, "You're a sprinter, right?" My goodness, I hope not! I sprint worse than I climb - my max speed on flat ground, no leadout in February was 32 mph. I must be faster now, but no more than 34-35, probably not even that. I told him that I was praying to end up a pint-sized all-rounder, Leipheimer style (only more aggressive and not even remotely close to that level of speed and competition). Well, it was funny to me, given how small I am.
Sounds like you need to work on your core some. I have similar trouble, but it has been better this year thanks to some core work.
Aren't the most epic races the best ones? Our race in WV was amazing. Mud, rain, mountains. Beautiful. Philly was awesome too.
Btw, was the Delaware guy wearing their zebra stripes kit?
The core work sounds like a good idea. I still think that my position is too cramped, causing my to hunch my back rather than keep those muscles stretched out, but I can easily see both being a problem. More core strength = good.
And yes, epic races are sweet. This one sure did make a selection! I was really enjoying Philly, too, until I crashed out due to a combination of poor descending by a Penn State and inexperience on my part (he rode like an idiot and crashed, I made the wrong move to avoid the carnage). This course was also pretty special, with mist-shrouded mountains, a couple epic climbs and some extremely long and fast descents. The max speed recorded by my computer was 53.45, and that was holding back!
And yes, Delaware has the fugliest kit I have ever seen in all my days. I don't think it's supposed to be Zebra stripes, though. Too thin. No one seems to know what it is, even the Delaware riders, but everyone agrees that it sucks. Sure stands out, though!