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waterrockets 06-01-07 07:03 AM

Another Thursday crit report
 
I wanted to race just the Cat 1-4 open last night to figure out if I had the skills and fitness to compete in the M35+ race at the AT&T crit in two weeks. In previous weeks, I've just concentrated on the Cat 3/4 race and gotten 5th twice in a row.

Last night, I learned I probably can compete in the M35+ race, but I didn't learn it the way I wanted :rolleyes:

I did a decent job of managing my position for the first 15 minutes or so, staying in around 8th-5th position. I let a couple breaks go that didn't have any recognizable guys in them -- which worked out for me, as we always reeled them in after a lap or two.

Then a couple of guys I was interested in broke off the front (Cat 2s). I let them get about 50m off, then attacked and caught them. Two more joined after me, and we were off. Unfortunately, only two of us were working.

I was looking over my shoulder and nearly rode out of a turn. In the next turn, I was working very hard to try to make this break stick (we probably had 10s). I had a huge pedal catch that pole vaulted my rear wheel off the ground. This doesn't actually bother me, as I do it every so often, and have never crashed from it -- I have light snags all the time (my pedals always look machined on the outside). It's easy to control. Unfortunately, my breakaway partners were clearly freaked out by it (deservedly), so I gapped them. That pretty much doomed the whole move.

My bad -- 31mph through a corner is a lot tighter lean than 27mph (duh). Important safety tip: I might have to coast for part of it in the future :rolleyes: (I was already leaning my bike as upright as possible -- still caught the pedal hard)

Anyhoo, we got caught about a lap later, and a couple other dangerous riders shot off just meters before the pack caught us (perfect timing, of course). I needed to recover. That break built to 7 riders quickly, and the big teams were well represented. Well, there was my chance. No way in hell to catch them.

There was a good chase attack of three riders I got into, but all we could do was hang in limbo. By this time the pack had been whittled in half, and I was shot. They caught us, someone counterattacked, but the pack stuck with them.

The acceleration was too much for me, and I popped off about 5m... 10m... 20m... for two laps I could not close that gap. There was nobody behind me, but I was wading through shelled riders. Finally, I had to just give up, I was done.

It was a good race for me, given the competition I was up against. The guy who will likely win the M35+ race at the AT&T crit dropped out 2 laps after me (he's a strong Cat 2).

Man, crits are fun. I like road races as much as the next guy, but those corners are a blast.

waterrockets 06-01-07 07:11 AM

BTW, here's the course. I caught my pedal on the left turn at the top (turn 5):

http://img511.imageshack.us/img511/7...arkedupqo5.jpg

ElJamoquio 06-01-07 08:02 AM

Looks like a great course. Was it paved with cyclists in mind, or is it automotive?

waterrockets 06-01-07 08:48 AM


Originally Posted by ElJamoquio
Looks like a great course. Was it paved with cyclists in mind, or is it automotive?

Auto racing. You can see the staging boxes on the finishing straight (painted rectangle brackets). It is a wonderful course. It's so fun. We averaged 27mph last night. It's just over 3/4 of a mile, so 1:50 laps, I think.

Here's a course built for cycling (right next to the velodrome in Colorado springs. It's not quite as fun to race on, but still pretty cool:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...&t=h&z=17&om=1

http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/8...tcoursech2.jpg

LT Intolerant 06-01-07 09:44 AM

Great report and congrats on the solid work. Sounds like you are definitely ready to step up and take on the big dogs. I know that a pedal strike would freak me out at typical crit speeds. Were the others in the break pedaling through the corners? What size cranks do you use?

gene r

San Rensho 06-01-07 09:57 AM

Hey good effort. You clearly had the big picture in mind, thought about what was going on, made a decision and took a chance. It didn't work, but you had a plan, which is better than just sitting in and seeing what happens.

waterrockets 06-01-07 10:10 AM


Originally Posted by LT Intolerant
Great report and congrats on the solid work. Sounds like you are definitely ready to step up and take on the big dogs. I know that a pedal strike would freak me out at typical crit speeds. Were the others in the break pedaling through the corners? What size cranks do you use?

gene r

175mm cranks

This corner can be pedaled at 27mph, but apparently not at 31mph :) The others probably weren't pedaling, but I was leading and couldn't see them. I was trying to pick up the pace to weed the break out a bit and commit the riders who were really in it. We were at that point where a couple of the really strong guys back in the pack were probably ready to bridge up to us, and I wanted to stay out for that.

I was correct about the strong guys being ready, because they attacked just as we were caught.


Originally Posted by San Rensho
Hey good effort. You clearly had the big picture in mind, thought about what was going on, made a decision and took a chance. It didn't work, but you had a plan, which is better than just sitting in and seeing what happens.

Yeah, it was a lot of work. It sucks to be thinking about it here, now, with fresh legs. Totally Monday morning quarterback syndrome. It was really fun though, and I'm looking forward to the big downtown crit.

LT Intolerant 06-01-07 11:03 AM

With shorter cranks you might be able to get away with pedaling through tighter corners but w 175s you certainly have less margin for error.

gene r

NomadVW 06-01-07 04:29 PM

Good that someone knows how to recover from a pedal strike. Last time I had one at speed I was in the ditch with a separated shoulder. Blech. Took me a month to get over the paranoia. (also riding 175s)

San Rensho 06-02-07 12:01 PM


Originally Posted by waterrockets

Yeah, it was a lot of work. It sucks to be thinking about it here, now, with fresh legs. Totally Monday morning quarterback syndrome. It was really fun though, and I'm looking forward to the big downtown crit.

Monday morning quarterbacking is very important. I always learned something from every race I was in, from failure and from victory. Criterium racing is 90% cunning and 10% stregnth.

recursive 06-02-07 12:54 PM

I've skipped my 175s a few times. Never hard enough to lift the back wheel, but in my experience, pedal strikes really aren't a big deal.

waterrockets 06-02-07 04:37 PM


Originally Posted by recursive
I've skipped my 175s a few times. Never hard enough to lift the back wheel, but in my experience, pedal strikes really aren't a big deal.

:beer: I wish you were in that break with me. You might have gone ahead and stuck with me instead of freaking out like those guys :)


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