Monday, March 30, 2009

2009 Ronde Van Brisbeen (Elite 3)

Criterium: I carpooled with Joe, who was doing the 45+ 3/4 race at 11:00am. My race was at 2:00pm, so I had plenty of time to doze, warm up, take pictures, and watch several rather horrid crashes (the latter not being the best motivation to do your race, by any means!) This was the first crit I've done since Timpani last year, so it took me a few laps to really fall into my element. I moved up a few places each lap, but it was clear that there'd be no way of getting to the very front. I finished somewhere in the 3Xth and was happy that our field had a safe race.

Circuit Race: I love this course (coincidentally, I won it as an Elite 4 in 2005). The dynamics would be different today, as there was a strong headwind from the left on the climb, discouraging people from pushing the pace on the climb. I know I'm strong on this kind of interval-esque course, and for better or worse, I had no intentions of sitting in until the end.

On the 2nd lap, the field expectedly slowed on the climb, but I didn't. I had no delusions of breaking away, but I also wanted to keep things lively at the start. Sure enough, I was caught at the top and happily slipped in behind a wheel. Throughout the race, I'd find myself at the front on the climb but never pushing 100%. It helped keep the pace high, even if it cost me the necessary explosive power I'd need at the end.

In the last lap, I was tactically positioned in the top 10-20 wheels -- not a problem. The final descent and series of turns went mostly without incident (one rider went down behind me; I hope he's healing quickly). I had a great wheel coming towards the top of the climb, but that's where my plans all fell apart. People slowed up, I found myself boxed in, and I couldn't make it out in time. I ended up top 20, and felt very content with this race.

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