I thought I'd give Hermes' idea a shot, as I think it will be great for showing/discussing/contrasting results over time. So here is AzTallRider's oft-embellished race report thread. These reports are published for entertainment purposes only, and any reference to actual people, events or occurrences is purely coincidental. Any and all average speeds mentioned are "Internet Speeds", and provided solely to feed my ego. Emulating any of my tactics is discouraged, unless, of course, the reader has a strong desire to visit Offthebackistan.
Underground Criterium 2012-07-17
.8 mile; 4 turn rectangle; 18' of rise on front stretch; headwind on back straight
Mixed cat's; A Race; 30-40 starters
In these dog days of summer, the A group is smaller than normal (30-50), with a combination of hardcore fast riders, and slower folks trying to get a leg up on their category for next year. With such a mix of capabilities, the pack thins out very quickly, and lately there have been less than 10 on the lead lap, with only a handful sprinting for the win. Coaching instruction was "Race to Win". I decided my best chance for that was to conserve as much as possible during the race, while staying near the front, and then stretch things out on the final lap for an early/extended sprint. I've tried holding an attack for longer than that against this crowd to no avail, and winning a short sprint was more of a long shot.
There was a crash in the B's, which many of us use to warmup, riding along on the back. Someone's rear wheel slid on something, he went down, and another guy ran into him, going over the high sde hard and severely separating (displacing?) his shoulder.
I had two Cat2 teammates in the race, and they and another guy took turns going off the front. That kept the pack strung out and moving along pretty quickly. Not nearly as fast as the nights when there is a larger group with several Cat1s, but fast enough to limit my recovery. The combination of the pace and the rapidly shrinking pack meant any moving up was exposed, even during the bunching up that occasionally occurs in a couple of places. I don't think I did a particularly good job of staying up front while conserving. I needed to stay up there, and had to see the wind on occasion to do that. As we got in the last third of the race (shortened by the crash and summer heat), I missed a split. I was tired, let myself fall back on the rise, and didn't jump around someone quick enough. Damn.
To encourage OTF efforts, it is specifically allowed for this race, even encouraged, to jump back on and still contest the finish. There are also points awarded, but I think that is being questioned due to a couple of crashes. So I slowed, and when the pack came around with less than 3 to go, there was one guy OTF, and only 4 in the lead chase group, a teammate being one of those. I jumped back in on the back of the chase group. As we came around for the bell lap (we had gone past the guy who had been OTF), my teammate was trying to get off the front to preserve for the sprint. So I went around to give him my wheel, and started drilling it as best I could. I lasted for .75 of the lap before they blew by me. I sat up, but decided I didn't want anyome sneaking past, and so I did a practice half-sprint to the finish.
Biggest issue for me right now is fading towards the end when there aren't recovery opportunities. I think it's a combination of fitness, and conservation skills. But there was no way I should have missed that split, and of course things eased up when the gap was too big for it to do me any good. I needed to really dig deep at that one critical point, and didn't get it done. But it was a fun race, particularly the leadout.