Well, I guess I had enough fun last weekend at the Burning Quad that I found myself signed up for another crit race over the weekend. This was was in New Albany and the layout was different than what I have done before. With out the hill, I was not sure how the pace would go. The other issue was that we had a ton of rain on Saturday night and there was a chance for rain on Sunday. Thankfully I pre-registered and also had a passenger to share the ride down with me. If it was not for those two things, I probably would have just stayed home. I am nervous enough about crashing in a crit race and didn’t need to add to the issue with all the rain.
It was not raining when we left and had a little hope that maybe it would miss us and everything would stay dry. They were working on clearing and drying the course when we got there, but shorty after the canopy was set up, the rain decided to come down and it was coming down pretty hard for a little bit. This held up the start since they didn’t get the start/finish set up as quickly. I was fine with that since the rain let up and looked like it might have been done for a while. The second race was cheap enough and like a fool, I signed up for two races again. I secretly figured that if the weather got too bad, I would just do the first race and be done with it.
I took some warm up laps and tried to find all the spots to keep an eye out for and where the slick spots might be. I didn’t feel like I warmed up as good as I needed to and hoped it was enough. Soon enough thee race started and we were off. There was some accelerations on a couple straights that I tried to not get too excited about. When I was tapping the brakes at the end of the straight anyway. I had the same plan to try and stay as protected as I could for most of the race. There was a good head wind on a few sections and figured to try and use as little energy as possible. This worked out pretty well for most of the race. I felt like I was riding a smart race. I was getting worried about where I was in the pack and made a move forward in some corners. I ended up a little farther than I wanted and in 3rd place, but the rain was starting to come down again and as we rolled past the start/finish they said 2 laps to go. They were cutting the race short for the rain and I believe some lightning was in the area.
Right as the guy in the front pulled off, the guy in second made a jump. It looked like a good jump and one that was going to stick. I was a second late in making my decision, but tried to jump on his wheel. I was gaining some ground, but the right hand corner in the middle was tricky and I was not ready when I got there. I ended up taking the corner way wide as I was worried about sliding out and was going too fast for where I was. I thought for sure that I was going to wipe out. Some how I held on and got back on the gas, but this let too big of a gap open up and I could not make the connection. At this point my heart rate was out the roof from almost wrecking and trying to bridge the gap. My legs lost power and I sat up and waited for the pack. As they came by, I jumped in the middle and tried to minimize my losses. I held my own and made a good effort at the end, but could only manage to finish in 9th place. Not bad for another pack finish, but not where I could have been.
I feel like I made the right decision, but it was just a little late. I could have just stayed where I was and hoped to sprint for second, but I would have been in the front of the pack and not where I would have wanted to be hard telling where I would have ended up. Even though I am not happy with the result, I am happy with the thought. Can’t win if you don’t take any risks.
Even though I didn’t fair too well in the 4/5 race I will say that my teammates looked really good. They did a lot of work up front and made a good move late in the race, but it didn’t hold up. I hope to get my legs in a little better shape to help them out better next time. It is just hard to believe the I am doing some crit races and actually looking forward to some more. I just don’t want to turn into a full time roadie. I know I am still a mountain biker at heart, it just depends on timing and conflicts as to what I can do more often. This year just turns out to be road riding.