I did a criterium in Aliquippa, PA.
First off, remind me never to go to Aliquippa again. Honestly? The place really did look like the red-headed stepchild of Detroit and postwar France. Really; and I'm from Cleveland. From what the girl at Subway told me, it was a steel-town, which dried up and has been in disrepair ever since. Driving through toen after the race, 9 of 10 buildings were boarded up completely, old brick buildings had been turned to rubble, and the roads were in absolute disrepair. I wouldn't drive through there at anything more than 25 mph in fear of breaking my truck, or at the very least biting my tongue.
Onto the race (which was in a nearby industrial parkway, which was nice)
30 miles, 4 corner no-brakes crit course with a small speedbump hill on the backstretch.
There were some heavy hitters in the 123 field, and I've only had a hanful of races and rides to my name this year. I arrived feeling not-so-great; my warmup was hardly so.
For the first 15 laps (of 20) I was getting jostled around the midfield and jockeying for position and watching who the real swinging dicks were (instead of the ones I was told about by the locals).
With 7 laps to go, one of the collegiate guys I was talking to (from WVU on a brushed CAAD9 with pink bar tape and pink-decalled Zipp 606's) launches off the front on the finishing straight. I decide to go with him since he looked really strong and was downplaying his chances before the race. Another rider chased us, but wasn't able to catch us. After trading pulls for a lap, he started slowing down so I helped myself and went off solo.
The next 5 laps I was out in the front by myself dieseling along, yelling stuff at the crowd and getting them riled up with that insidious Pennsylvanian hatred of all things Cleveland.
The first three laps I kept on gaining and gaining more time against the field, and by the fourth I was starting to realize that I should back off a little. By the fifth lap, I realized that I was doomed when I noticed the small speed mound in the back course.
With one lap remaining a chase group passed me. I caught on with them briefly, but all of my will was gone and all my energy used up. I pulled to the side and let the whole field pass my mangled self and came to the finish a minute behind them.
So yeah, I got a prime, but came in DFL. Maybe next time. The good news (or bad, depending on how you like your news) is the most everyone I was racing with;
a.) now knows my name
b.) now knows my team's name
c.) complimented me on "the ballsiest break I've seen in a long time" (as stated by one rider, and agreed with by 6 others)
When you don't have the acceleration to win a sprint against 6-person teams, you better TT that sh.