Three 60min+ crits in 2 days. Two collegiate A races and one pro/1/2 race.
We were hosting the races on saturday so I was out on course around 5:30am getting everything ready to go. The A's started at 11:00.
I lined up on the front line because I wanted to get in something early, just to test the legs. From the gun I saw a CU guy (one of my trade team teammates) jump and hopped on his wheel, with one other CSU guy following. We had 10 seconds by the end of the first lap and continued to rotate well for the next 15-20 minutes, bringing out gap up to about 23 seconds at one point. Eventually Fort Lewis realized that if they didn't do something the race was over, so they put everyone on the front and started chasing us back.
We were caught with about 30 minutes to go. I hadn't been killing myself in the break so I stayed up front and covered some attacks for a while. The race still felt really slow but apparently we were popping people off the back so it must have been faster than I thought. I was never back more than 10 wheels or so but I imagine that whip at the back of the field was pretty horrible.
At 3 to go I tried to find some teammates to get a leadout going for our sprinters but nobody was there. I ended up on the front and pulled for about half a lap before moving back to 4th wheel or so. With one to go I was second wheel, but had no idea where our sprinters were. The FLC guy who was pulling through the finish with one to go got confused somehow and put his hands up, thinking he had won, so I ended up on the front. I kept it as fast as I could for the next 3/4 of a lap before blowing up pretty hard. I pulled off then jumped back in around 12th wheel, and hung on for dear life for the remainder of the lap. I ended up somewhere in the 15 but had zero sprint (for obvious reasons). Teammates took 2nd, 4th and 6th I think.
1.5 laps to go:
I was more than a little bit pissed about being the only guys from CSU there for the leadout, especially since I had already spent a bunch of time up the road and the whole middle of the race covering attacks, with very little help.
After a few hours of rest I had to kit up again for the P/1/2 race. First race with my new team so I was looking forward to it.
The beginning of the race was relatively easy. Fast, smooth, none of the dumb ***** that goes down in the 3's. Nobody yelling "inside" on every corner. No stupid and dangerous slow-downs. I spent most of my time in the top 10 marking moves from those we had deemed dangerous. Eventually a group of 5 got up the road, with one of our guys in it. I just kept my eye out for a bridge attempt that looked promising and eventually found one. Jumped with 3 others, got about half way across the gap when I clipped a pedal and came down hard on the nose of my saddle. Dumb specialized seatpost clamp slid so the saddle was pointing straight down... needless to say I couldn't ride. Tried to get a free lap but they wouldn't give it to me, apparently I hadn't "broken" anything. I argued that my seat was pretty broken. No luck, my race was over, with only 12 minutes to go.
Sunday's crits were hosted by Colorado College. It's a fun course with a 180˚ turn followed by a long straight stretch, then a little downhill followed by a short but steep kicker, then a left turn and 300m to the finish. Once again I found myself up front in the collegiate race with no teammates in sight, chasing down everything that looked dangerous. Every once in a while someone else from CSU would come up and throw in a counter attack or something so I would get a little rest, but I still felt like I was doing way too much work. We had enough guys in the race that I shouldn't have had to follow break after break after break.
With 3 to go we tried to get things organized for our designated sprinter again, but it was pandemonium. Garrison hit the front and strung it out as best he could but with no other teammates behind him there was no way he could keep it fast for long. Coming up the climb with two to go everybody was swarming the front and the 4 of us setting up the train got swept back to 10th wheel or so. We spent the next lap working our way back up. Coming up the hill right before getting the bell everything swarmed again but we stayed near the front. On the flat at the top I looked around and realized that there were only two guys in front of our sprinter, not nearly enough horsepower for a full lap. I was supposed to sweep but knew I we wouldn't have a chance if I didn't move up and get on the front of the train. I moved up right behind Trevor and put my hand up real quick so that my teammates could find me. Did a quick check to make sure we were on the same wavelength, and saw that we were. Trevor hit it out of the 180 and kept it really fast halfway down the straight stretch, with me second wheel, Dan Lionberg behind me and Zack (our sprinter) behind him. Finally, a good train! When Trevor started to slow I came around and gave it everything, and kept it fast enough to prevent anyone from trying anything at the last minute. I pulled from halfway down the straight to the base of the kicker as hard as I could, dropping Lionberg and Zack off at the bottom. Lionberg led all the way up and around the corner, with Zack on his wheel, dropping him off perfectly. He hit the afterburners and took it by well over a bike length, and Lionberg held on for 6th. I hit the bottom of the climb and went straight backwards, having just done a Kilo as hard as I could, and ended up 29th or something, basically only beating the people who had already fallen off the group.
I was happier with how the team worked, and really please with the result, but still a bit peeved that I had to do so much work, AGAIN. We have a strong enough team that I shouldn't have to do that.
Overall, a very successful first weekend of racing. I still feel a little flat for the high power stuff, but I can motor all day long at the front of the group, which is encouraging. I basically finished base last week so I can't really expect to be going much better than I am right now. Plus, we won 4 out of 5 races on Saturday and the Men's A (arguably the hardest to win) on Sunday.