Sunday, April 18, 2010

CCCX #3, Sea Otter Crit, Santa Cruz Classic Race, Cat 3

by Nils Tikkanen

What a great streak of racing! I also did the Sea Otter Circuit Race, but the 19th place in that sufferfest on fatigued legs isn't even worth writing about. So, without further ado...

CCCX Circuit Race, 4/10/10 (cat 3/4)
A fast, windy, hilly ~4.2 mile loop. Finish is on a slight uphill just after a fast downhill and a sweeping right turn. For once, I had teammates! Abe Rotstein, a 3, and Rob Gaukel, a 4. Rob placed 4th in his earlier race and decided to use his winnings to enter our race! Smallish field (~30 riders).

In summary, Abe helped a lot at the front, while I put the hurt on with attacks and guttering the field on a hard stair-step climb section. People afterwards talked about "the break".. I guess they were referring to this (thanks Steven Woo!):

Fast forward to the finish. I was feeling very strong, but was counting on Abe to drill the pace down the hill, through the small flat section, and into the turn... however, I'd tucked into such an aero position on the descent I ended up on the front. Oops. When the flat road came, a few guys jumped on my right... I latched on, one guy who sat in the whole race went early for the finish. I lit it up, but not in time to catch him. 2nd.

Sea Otter Crit 4/15/10 a.k.a. the lamest prizes ever
30 guys showed up to race this super-technical banana crit. Wind. Hills. Some of the tightest chicanes known to mankind. Being mid-pack on those turns make you very sad. So.. early into the race, 3 guys go off. One is a breakaway specialist and one is well-represented in the pack, and we do absolutely nothing to catch them. Really lame. After trying to initiate a chase and watching it fall flat, I decide to go for the gusto. With four laps to go, I ride hard but smooth off the front of the pack. Nobody's chasing. Wow. Can I really do this? I watch the lap cards count down, and I'm holding the gap. I go into time trial mode, and take great pleasure in being on my own through the corners. Here's a pic:

(original source I manage to hold the gap into the finish, and take the hardest-earned fourth place ever. And what did I get for fourth place at my $55 entry-fee race at one of the most commercial bike events? A box of Clif Bars and two tubes. I'm not even kidding.

Santa Cruz Classic 4/18/10
One of my favorite crits. Technical, not at all flat, and a finish that's well-suited for me.... not much to report, except I put in some hard efforts in an attempt to string out the field, grabbed a cash prime, kept it safe, and stayed towards the front. The last lap was particularly interesting -- two guys went earlier than expected, but I was a few wheels in and couldn't react. So when we came out of that final corner onto 3rd, I lit it up hard and opened a huge gap on the field, looked back, looked back and saw some chasers, and put in a second acceleration. 3rd.


Jim Langley said...

Awesome racing Nils. Nice job and nice report too ;-)

Michele said...

Way to go Nils. I like your style and love the race reports!

Eddy Price said...


Words can't explain how happy I am for you, not only upgrading to the very competitive Cat 3 division (a mean feat in itself) but placing very high to boot, all in your first year.

Nils, I think you are improving every year and just when I think you have "done your best race", you "one-up" that performance with a better one.

How far can you go? The sky is the limit.

Ed Price