Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Indy Crit ---> A Week Off!

First, a race report - Saturday I drove up and raced the Indy Crit. It was H-O-T. The End.

Just kidding - though temperatures were in the upper 90s with heat index well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit! With a part time race day babysitting gig (practice for ten or fifteen years from now) I didn't get much warm up, but no worries with the heat. I hit the line with 82 other 3/4's and left my extra bottle at the start (bad idea). The start was pretty fast, but moving up wasn't a big deal in the longest headwind stretch and within a few laps I was mixing it up, but not going with any moves just yet. As we crossed the lap line, I reached for my bottle to get a swig of water. No bottle.!.!.! Rachel was watching from the announcer's stand and told me later that my face said it all.... mostly disgusted bad words...

Time to try some of these?

I tried to forget about water and went back to racing, but I got hotter and thirstier and started slipping backward in the field. Next thing I know, I'm not racing, I'm hanging on the back for dear life. I looked at the time and was only 30 minutes into the 45. Somehow I convinced myself to hang on for two more laps, planning to repeat this process to the end. Then, as if it were magic, a bottle of Accelerade or some sports drink appeared in my hand (Thank you AP)!

Then I had ten minutes to get my legs back and move up in the field and hope like hell the two guys off the front got caught - all at the same time. I moved up on the downwind side along the longest stretch each lap from 5 laps to 2 to go. At one to go I found myself on the front, the place I did NOT want to be (Lesson learned) so I pulled off and hopped back in about fifth wheel. With about 300m to go I saw an opening and tried to go on the left while a few guys tried to go right, which meant I took the last turn on the outside. From there I gained one more place, but simply ran out of steam and finished fourth.
Crossing for fourth (Copyright Truesport.com)

To have a pretty terrible day in the saddle and finish fourth of 83 starters - I'm ecstatic! I'm excited to soon make the next step into the 1/2/3's and head into cross season - but first, it's time for a scheduled week off the bike. Starting Sunday, I became a terrible golfer instead of a bike racer - for just one week.

With the heat and no races within several hours drive this coming weekend, the break is coming at a good time. Starting next week I'll begin to ramp things up again with plenty of volume, intervals and some late season crits and hope to have a solid start at Fisherman's Park and then build into November!

Bring on the cooler weather, mud and cowbells....

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bloomington Crit

I'm gonna keep today's post short and sweet. It's been a while since I've written here, mostly because I haven't done much racing and none to write home about until this weekend. Last Sunday was a long day of base miles, 130 actually with about a hundred solo! Followed it up with a massage on Monday and back to training as usual for the week.

Saturday was Bloomington Crit. This was the home to my second race on the road ever and first criterium last year. It was a horrible experience with crashes and yo-yoing and nerves and I was in over my head. Basically after getting pulled last year I wanted another go at it this year. There were two teams with huge numbers - Scholars Inn Bakehouse and Upland Brewery. Both are local Bloomington teams and I hoped that I could fly under the radar while they were busy focusing on each other.

My legs/body didn't feel quite good enough to really give it a go early in the race, but I was also comfortable in the pack, never sliding more than a third or half way back in the field. I went against my normal M-O and did not attempt to take any primes, partly because I wasn't feeling it in the heat and partially to stay under the radar. With five to go I started moving back up, but just floated in the 5-15 range. I noticed that Upland was setting up a lead out train with Scholars Inn nearby doing the same. I had no idea who Upland was working for, but was pretty sure SIB was setting up for Depasse. With two to go I was about 13 deep and wanted to be further up but knew I could take a few places as we got the bell and the jump on a leadout at the end. Going into turn three, bad position suddenly turned to outstanding position - the guy in second wheel washed out as the turn went off camber and took out 2-10!! The guy on the front took off, I squeezed by and there was one guy between us who basically towed me around for a lap until I jumped with about 200m to go, easily overtaking the guy who'd been in front of the crash for the WIN.

It happened so fast, I can't seem to replay exactly how I got through the crash, but remember consciously not locking up the brakes, just feathering and watching for holes on my left since all the bodies and bikes were moving to the right.

Here's some awesome footage from one of the racer's go-pro camera, mounted on his bars:

I opted out of the 1/2/3 race with a stacked 70+ guy field knowing I'd burned enough matches to make staying anywhere near the front a challenge, especially with the heat. Instead I watched with beer in hand and chatted with my team mate Ryan K and Matt K's lady friend Sarah. Then it was dessert and time to hit the road, but all in all a great day racing bikes!!

Bloomington Criterium Men's 3/4 Podium (Photo Ryan Kiel/Sarah Prendergast)

Careful, that cork will take your eye out! (Photo Ryan Kiel/Sarah Prendergast)