I had to get there early (6am) to set up. I moved hay bales around and stuff. Finally at about 7:15 I was able to go and register. Free admission was cool for my wallet! Getting up at 5 sucked though.
The Collegiate Men's C race started at 8am. I wish I could have gotten in more of a warmup. I registered, changed into my kit and did 2 hard laps around the 1.1 mile course. So yeah, a ****ty warmup but I was warm from carrying around bales of hay. Some of my teammates wanted to go on a another lap, but it ended up hurting them in the end. I stopped so I could start on the line. I started next to the guy on my team who got 7th last week at the CU Crit. There were probably 7 or 8 CSU guys in the C race.
The course took place over most of the CSU Campus Oval. We started on the west straight of the oval and then took a slight right onto another street up a very, very slight rise. We then made a left followed by a quick right into a fast little straight before everyone leaned on the brakes for another very tight left, followed by a quick accelerating left. Then back down another short straight before there was another left that you could take WIDE before sliding over to the left lane to apex the tight right hander. This right was the point at which every laid on the gas, as it started going down a small hill and you didn't need to brake for the merge back onto the oval. The back straight of the oval saw speeds in excess of 33-34 mph on every lap, slowing down as the pack bunched up around the wide round end of the oval. You could pedal all the way through this and it made for a GREAT finish coming up to the end up a slight grade out of that corner.
So thats the course, I hopefully have attached a quick picture that might help you visualize it.
The race started off SLOW, but me and two or three other CSU riders quickly pushed the pace. One guy's name is Ryan. He's a beast. He finished just behind me in the CU race (he got 17th at CU - but was out in the wind the whole time at the front, only finished so far back cause he cramped up). The other guy is Ty, who raced B's before without much success (no points) and his fitness has gone down since then. He's still a very strong C rider though, and we're hoping for good things from him this season. He got 7th at CU. So it was us three. I spent the first 3 or 4 laps right at the front, either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in line.
After a while I looked back to see those two guys behind me... and.... *gasp* only about 8 other people. We had broken away from the main field of about 30 in our own little group of 10. The pace wasn't too hard, there were no primes for some reason. We made the break stick for the whole race, so I can't really comment about what happened in the peloton. I heard there was an ass-on-asphalt crash (2 guys) in one of the tight right-handers. So anyway, in the break there wasn't much going on. The pace went up and down a bit but I think we all knew we had to work to keep the gap open and we'd at least get top-10.
One time a guy came burning up the inside and tried to drift outside. the sound of 5 or 6 wheels locking up is a horrid thing, let me tell you. With about 7-8 laps left i somehow got to the back of the line and they gap between me and the guy ahead was increasing. Not a problem, i was well out of the red, but I wanted to get on ASAP. I started pedaling like 1 foot too early coming out of the second hard right. At that moment I wish I had 172.5mm cranks instead of 175's... My right foot hit the ground hard (well the bottom of my X/1 pedal did) the back wheel went into the air and then came down and skidded sideways in a choppy manner. I muscled that bike back under me and stayed up. On that straight I made sure I caught a wheel and stayed there.
The laps went by. The CSU guys moved into the middle of the pack, and I see Ryan (as Georgie would say) looked to be riding without a chain. Coming around on the back straight to the one lap left bell I pulled out of the line and got along side him for a second and shot him a glance. I put the hammer down like I probably never have before. I took the outside of the wide turn at the end of the oval coming into the finish line. I could only hope Ryan jumped on my wheel and that this might help him. We passed the lead group like they had the reverse lights on. I wound it up to nearly 37mph (it was 36.something top speed for the race, and I KNOW this was it) in the drops as I came across the start finish line and the bell sounded. The announcer was going nuts. I kept the pace up until the hard left, at which point I looked back, saw Ryan, and pulled to the side. I was cooked and the break was violated and in pieces for bus lengths behind me. It was him and a like 2 other guys, with 2 booking it hard to catch up. I pushed as hard as I could, but I knew Ryan was going to try to (and I felt he could) win this race. My goal was only to get a top-ten result, especially as my training has been slacking as of late (bah, damn school).
I pushed hard by myself to try to stay ahead of the other guys trying to catch up. There were now 5 guys in front of me. 2 guys then passed me and I couldn't hang on. Two guys were back. One was closing hard and I caught on his wheel. It was a CU guy who wasn't in a CU jersey. As we came around the final corner I knew it would be a battle between him and I for 8th. A respectable finish, I think. We rounded the corner and I'm spinning 120rpms, saving my legs for when I have to put the pedal to the floor to spank this guy. He starts to go and I push it up to 130 and then drop it two gears and wind it up again. I start to pull in front of him and I see him start to stand to put the final sprint on with about 100m to go. I didn't feel I had it in my to shift again and stand, so I tucked my head down and pulled my arms in and gave it all i had. Both of us were literally screaming at this point. He knew it was no use and sat back down at about 10m to go, I pedaled easily through. I slowed down and acknowledged the effort. I think we were both fairly happy with our results - and we both new we pushed ourselves to the limit in the final gallop.
As I rounded the cool down lap I felt like I was about to retch. I could barely breathe, I was seeing with blurry, double, and tunnel vision. The main pack rolled up behind me and I spoke with some other CSU guys. As we came around to exit the course I asked a higher-level CSU guy who was marshalling what happened at the front. Ryan got 5th. I was hoping for a win with my efforts, but I think it was my fault for breaking a bit early than he could handle. He did acknowledge my effort though and said he wouldn't have even got 5th without that, so I was happy. I got 8th. The other riders placed something like 11th, 19th, and the other ones were lapped and didn't get places.
Anyone else go to it?
THIS JUST IN: THERE WAS A CRAZY CRASH IN THE FIELD SPRINT OF THE USCF CAT3 RACE! 4-5 RIDERS WENT DOWN. 3 TIRES EXPLODED. WHEELS TACO'D, ETC.
Maybe someone who saw it will chime in.... *cough*alex*cough*
The best 3 riders today for CSU. I'm in the black and white helmet with the white bar tape: