Tuesday, May 31, 2011

KY State Championships and Men's Health Awareness Crits

Four criteriums in two days... that was the plan. After missing a full week of training due to flood watch at work just two weeks prior, fitness wasn't quite top notch, but was certainly coming around. There were a few goals going into the weekend including getting enough points or at least finishing well enough to warrant an upgrade from Category 4 to 3 and winning the State Championship Cat 4 Criterium.

Kentucky State Cat 4 Crit Champion
Saturday Coach and I rolled to Frankfort nice and early, drove all the way around town to get to the backside of the course for parking and set up with Duane and other Louisville folks just before the finish line. Typical pizza (Clifton's) consumption followed by a warm-up on the trainer and a couple laps on the course and I was set to go in the 4/5 race. I got a second row start behind the army of McDonald's racers, we got our orders from the Chief Referee and we were off. A handful of people went off the front, but I never saw a combination that I liked so I did my share of the work to bring them back, but no more and never attempted to jump across solo. I felt like I managed the race to perfection - staying in the front five to eight riders, taking more pulls in the tailwind than in the headwind, getting the line I wanted in the turns, etc. UNTIL THE LAST TWO LAPS! I set up around fifth wheel with two to go, and fell to about eighth as we got the bell, no big deal. Then setting up for turn three I found myself on the outside with no hole to get through. I didn't panic, but did fall another 3-4 spots and was then setup for turn four on the outside which allowed me to accelerate even before the turn and come out swinging. I had 5 bike lengths to make up in about 200m - no small order, but I stood up, saw a hole through the eleven guys standing between me and the line and tried to rip the cranks off! I edged a Hoosier Climber guy by less than a wheel at the line for the Cat 4 Kentucky State Crit Title!

The 3/4 race was faster from the gun and for the first half of the race I could really feel the effort I left in the sprint just a couple hours before. Attacks stayed away for laps at a time, but they all came back. By the end of the race I had recovered and worked my way back near the front. I remembered what I'd been taught, that you have to make it hurt for the last five laps just to be there for the sprint and did just that! I was in the mix when we got the bell for the second race in a day! I set up on Tim Hargrave's wheel across the line, knowing he'd be there at the finish only to get chopped going into turn one and lose his wheel. I got back on the gas, but had slid to mid teens pretty quickly and came out of turn four with way too much ground to make up and with far less snap/power in the legs from the previous effort. I finished 12th and though I wanted more, I had conquered criteriums!

The smallest part of The Three Ring Circus - aka my little buddy
Sunday Christine and I loaded up with the three ring circus at just past dawn thirty to head to Richmond. Since the race was sponsored in part by McDonalds, we felt obliged to enjoy their breakfast on the road. I had the big breakfast with pancakes combo in preparation for another double and before we knew it, we were driving backwards on the course to set up at the start finish. (The Voice of the Ville, aka The Mouth of the South, aka ???  is the matriarch of the Three Ring Circus and was announcing for the race)

Showing my hand with 1 TO GO!
The 4/5 race was smaller than the day before, but the course had a nice little hill that strung out the field pretty quickly. A McDonalds guy and a Scholar's Inn Bakehouse guy went off the front at some point and while I couldn't figure out the the SIB "A" player was, my bet was on the other McD's guy and let the break have some room. Sure enough, they got chased down and a prime was announced so I went for it, stayed seated but thought there might be a chance of rolling off the front from there with a couple guys. No such luck, the field came back together and I got ready for a field sprint. THEN, before we got the bell I noticed the McD's guy (Michael) had been on the front for a lap or so and looked gassed so between turns three and four I made a pretty ballsy move and attacked on the last uphill of the lap. I knew if I didn't open a gap, I could recover on the downhill and turns one and two but as I got the bell (last lap) I had a few bike lengths. I had showed my hand, now it was time to play it to the end so I buried my head and nearly puked on the backstretch but made the final turn with plenty of room to put my hands in the air and enjoy a victory!
4/5 Solo WIN!

4/5 Podium

The 3/4 race was MUCH harder from the whistle. There were laps where I wanted to pull the plug, but it was all about training today and once a couple of Bakehouse guys got away, their team mates blocked well and there wasn't much I could do on my own. McDonalds also had a guy a half lap up and weren't chasing so the two Bakehouse guys lapped the field and then the race was on again. Tim H and another guy were off the front of the group and after missing that move I figured I was racing for 6th. Honestly, I was ok with that since it was my second solo race of the day on a tough course. Then, with about five laps to go, Bakehouse starts chasing hard, bringing the other two guys back - SWEET! They were trying to set up their other guys for the other money spots. The break of two was caught with two to go and suddenly we were racing for fourth. I found a spot in the middle of the Bakehouse train, pretty much alongside Tim H coming out of turn four and won the drag race for the line to take THIRD! Wait, the math doesn't work???? Joel (McD's) had flatted with just a couple laps to go while solo and tried to chase back on the field.

Three podiums in two days and an upgrade to Cat 3. I'd call that a mighty fine weekend!

Cat 3/4 Field Sprint for Third (Photo By: Jerrell Goodpaster)

Other things worth mentioning:
  •  One of the three ring circus members won his first ever bike race.

  • Coach took second in the Masters and seventh in the 1/2/3 race.

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