Saturday, April 14, 2007

Rock Hill Criterium Masters 4/5 race report

Today was my very first race as a 4. Woohoo!

There were 50 guys in the combined field (with separate payouts to the 35-44 and 45+ groups). I lined up at the front and tried to stay near the front for the whole race. I thought I rode a pretty good race: stayed in the draft where possible, managed the corners well, got in a short-lived break, etc.

The criterium course includes six turns and a short hill which makes for some fun racing. Guys who can power up the hill and recover quickly have an advantage. Lots of guys were dropped and lapped. The corner at the bottom of the hill was a bit sketchy due to a cement median after the turn but I thought I managed that well, even coming down the hill at 35mph on the last lap. A few others did not fare so well but there were no crashes in our race though a few guys ended up doing some frantic bunny hopping as the median came rushing toward them.

Coming into the last turn I was 2nd wheel and thought I had a great shot at 1st or 2nd but I'm just not a sprinter type... not yet anyway. I couldn't catch the guy in front of me and two other guys managed to pass me as well so I came in 4th overall and 3rd in the 35-44 group of 38. I was pretty happy to finish on the podium in my first race as a 4 and I even won $50 (of which I gave $30 to some teammates so they could buy lunch as tradition dictates; unfortunately I had a three-hour drive ahead of me so I couldn't stay and eat with them--yep 12 hours in the car in two days!).

With a better sprint or an increased willingness to suffer over the last two minutes I might have done better but I can't feel bad about my results.


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