2011 Early Bird Crit #4, Cat 4

Posted: February 4, 2011 in Crit

The weather was not great on this the last Sunday in January, low 50s, cloudy with a bit of northerly breeze. But there was only ~5 minutes of sprinkles during my warm-up. It was so refreshing to go through the motions of getting ready to race for the first time of the year. Pack the race bag, cram trainer, front wheel block, floor pump, race bag and Ipod into the Del Sol. Strap the bike onto the back and crank the Slipknot on the way to the race. Find the course, find a place to park. Then, fill out the event waiver, have a conversation with someone I hadn’t seen all winter, register, grab my number, head back to the car.

Pull out my trainer, mount the bike in the trainer, check the air pressure in the tires, pin my number on, kit up, hop on the bike and do the warm-up. I scored an awesome parking spot and was able to watch the Pro 1/2/3 race while I warmed up. I made it to the start/finish line with 2 laps to go in the P/1/2/3 race, so I rode around a bit to stay warm. Larry Nolan and Dave McCook were off the front and clear for the victory w/ 1 to go as I heard Larry say “Hi Ted” as they were heading down the front stretch. Oh what it must be like to have talent! Caught by surprise I gurgled something like “go get ‘em boys.” Er, hello, allow me to introduce myself: My name is Fred and I’ll be here all week. Listening to all of the cat 4s at the finish line was quite funny as they were all predicting that Larry was going to take it easily. But as soon as I saw Larry leading out the sprint, I knew it was all over for him. McCook took it at the line, from Larry with a hard charging “Fast” Freddie Rodriguez almost pipping the both of them.

The Cat 4 race was a whole lot less exciting. With ~20 of us I figured we would keep it safe, but I knew it was going to be a rough race when on lap 2, I took a pull down the back stretch, moved over, motioned for someone to pull through, started to slow down, continued to slow down, slowed some more, and still no one would pull through. I had to slow to ~15 mph before anyone would pull through. Um, the wind wasn’t that bad guys. ~20 min in a Los Gatos rider and one other attacked, after ~1 lap of not chasing the break, it split up and we eventually neutralized it. I really wanted to attack about 6 different times, but I knew that I would be either solo or with only 1 other. Plus my strength is to wait for the sprint and I’m supposed to race my strength, right? So there I was, in zone 3, sitting about fourth wheel for a good part of the race, and waiting for the sprint. Going into turn 1, on the last lap, there was a daring solo attack. A chase was quickly organized and again I was ~4th wheel. We caught the break just before the sweeper. I was all set up when someone jumped early. I knew that if I didn’t jump, I was history, so I jumped for a “looooooooong” sprint. Just as I was really about to let it go, I saw someone out of the corner of my eye, real close and coming up along side of me.  I hesitated, for just a split second, and that is where I lost the race. I fought it out for 2nd, which is a great result, but I think I did 2 things wrong.

First, when I’m out sprinting with my friends/colleagues/teammates, I pin my ears back and let it rip. I know that we are not going to crash each other. I’ve truly never gone that hard in a sprint. In an attack I have, but not in a sprint. So that’s just a comfort level issue that I need to get over. More racin’ will help that. Second, I didn’t truly fight for the win. I fought for second. Fine for an Early Bird Crit, but I need to have more of a killer instinct if I ever expect to win a “real” race.

Oh and the average speed, 22.5 mph! Come on guys, that was weak!

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