Archive for the ‘Crit’ Category

2011 Wente Crit

Posted: May 4, 2011 in Crit

Being one of the organizers for the Wente Vineyards Classic Road Race and Criterium makes for a unique set of circumstances leading into a race as typical preparation such as rest, recovery, and the like are replaced with sleep deprivation, long stressful hours away from the family, convenient, but generally poor food choices, and little or, in this case no warmup at all. Thirty-eight riders heard the wistle blow precisely at 8:20AM for the 35+ Cat 4 race at the Wente Crit. I had one teammate in the field along who rode for me. His intention was to “stir the shit” (his words) along with a couple of other guys, while I sat in for the inevitable sprit finish.

Turning onto Los Positas from Bennett

The race went in the typical Cat 4 fashion; bat-shit fast for the first few laps,  settling down to an easy tempo pace for the next half hour, with stupidity ensuing for the final lap. A few close calls on the corners as my competitors haven’t learned the hard lesson about dive-bombing a corner in a crit, but all of that sillyness pales in comparison to what happened in the last 1km. Five guys stringing it out in front of me when the racer immediately in front of me, decides to take a left turn, right into my teammate. I moved right to avoid the crash I knew was about to happen when I was amazed to see my teammate save it. Once that happened,  the whole field behind us bunched up and riders starting overtaking us, while we worked to get our speed back up. As my teammate got the punch of adrenalin, he sprinted ahead and took the wheel of three guys who seemingly immediately blew up in front of him and shot back through the middle of the pack causing people to duck and dodge them as they started to ramp up for the sprint. After a few brake checks (grumble, grumble), and a white knuckle corner, I entered the final stretch ~25th in line, nowhere near my leadout man. I knew I wasn’t going to win, so, trying to salvage some points, I ramped up a sprint on the inside and tried to pass as many riders as possible. For my efforts, I placed 13th. Ahh, crit racing.

Then I had to go give the people who just beat me some money. 😦

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!