Monday, March 9, 2009
Menlo Park Criterium Women's 4 & Women's 4 35+ Race Report
After the Merco Crit last weekend I was ready and raring to go race the Menlo Park Crit this last Sunday. I showed up a little after 12 and was able to run into Amy after her Cat 1/2/3 race and get a insight on the layout of the course. After my warm-up we were given a free lap before positioning ourselves at the start line. I had a sweet spot in the front, but after about 10 minutes of standing there we were told our race was going to be delayed since there was a crash with the Men's Cat 1/2/3 race just before. They were still in the process of clearing the course so we ended up promenading around for a good 15 minutes before we lined up again. There was little complaining, but I know everyone was antsy to start and screaming in their heads "LET'S GO ALREADY!"
Once the whistle did go we were all under the impression that our race was going to be cut short to 30 minutes. Most girls were going all out right from the get-go and setting up their positions to attack on the straightaway on the finish line. I settled into my typical 5-10 person back position and fought to keep my place. The primes were nice and hefty, some were $50 which I've never heard of for a Women's Cat4 race before! I only sprinted for one, but found 2 girls come screaming up from behind me to dash my hopes for a post race box of girl scout cookies.
There were no breakaways during the race, and any girl that did end up at the front would eventually soft-pedal back into the pack. The group of 4's this year are much less aggressive during the race than the girls from last year. This group tends to wait until the end to lay the hammer down.
On the final lap, things got sketchy with the pack. I almost got pushed into the outside gutter on Turn 1 after a girl cut in on my inside and forced me to take a strange line, and there was a crash shortly after that. I don't know if anyone was hurt but it sure sounded like someone did! Along the backside of the course I was finding it hard to keep my position since I was stuck behind a few girls and everyone was coming up along the sides. (Note to self, on the last lap, stay in a defensive position) A small gap in front opened up right after the last turn, and I shot myself out only to find that a group of 5 girls had taken off the front. Meanwhile, the pack just seemed to slow down and let them go for it. "Hell no, they're not getting away!" I thought. I shifted down into my largest gear and ended up finding my legs spinning and the group of 5 coming closer into view. I was hoping to pass at least one of them, but sprinted across the finish line 6th overall and 5th in the Women's Cat 4. I was pretty excited to find out that I would finally be on a podium, and I actually won prize money! $35!
All in all I had a fun, safe race with some great girls. I'm half-way to moving into the land of the Cat 3's, though I would like to outright win a race before I get there. Just to feel victory!
Next stop San Dimas Stage race...