On Saturday I was in Harrisonburg, VA for the Tour of Virginia criterium. It was 15 laps of a flat 1.3 mile course. There were two 90 degree corners and one 160 degree corner. Now to set the stage for this story there are a few things you need to know about me and criteriums. First, I have never finished one. I've only tried two of them but didn't finish either because of a wreck occurring in front of me in both and I never caught back on. Second, I don't like them. Finally, third, on my yearly training plan that I wrote in December one of my season long goals was just to finish with the main pack in one of these crazy events. Now back to the race. It was a good field of cat. 3, cat. 4, and juniors. I figured it would be fast since this is one of the larger profile events in VA, similar to the Tour de 'toona in PA. The race started out fast and never let up. No one wanted to let a break go anywhere which was fine with me because that meant I just got to hide from the wind until the last lap. It was a nice day in the high 60's at race time and sunny. The race was very uneventful and actually easier than I had thought it would be. Now jump to the end...............Coming down the final straight I had positioned myself in fifth or sixth place for the sprint when someone from behind me takes off like a rocket. I say to myself, "Self, this is your chance." So I follow his wheel. It seemed to be going well at first as he seemed to be going strong. Then all of a sudden he just died. Right in the middle of the road he just putzed out. So there I was into the wind with 500 yards still to go. I knew I was in trouble so I just took off and hoped for the best. With about 200 yards I hear the clicking of derailleurs and there goes a guy whizzing past and then another and another. I ended up finishing 4th cat. 4 and 7th over all. Not too bad, but not too good either. On the other hand I did finally finish a crit. with the main pack and I was happy about that.
I also got to see the movie 24 Solo in the theater in Harrisonburg. It was a cool experience. The director of the film was there to talk about the making of the movie. Sue Haywood was there to watch the movie, she was also in the last movie from Gripped Films, Off Road to Athens. There were also a bunch of the pros who had just finished their race who decided to stop by and see the movie. It was truly awesome. I'm not sure if it would have been as powerful if it was not in a movie theater but I do know that I'm psyched to go ride my mtb. I'll be getting the receiving my copy of the movie in the mail this week if anyone would like to see it let me know. It may be the greatest cycling movie ever!
Well, you can never say I'm not consistent. Race #3 was the nicest day for any of the races, by far. So of course the field was full for the first time in the series. Once again Joe Vallese went off the front. I didn't know what he looked like so when I saw him go I wasn't really worried until someone told me who it was. I then tried a crazy move to try and catch him but when no one followed me I quickly gave up that chase and decided I'd try for the sprint again. On the last lap I was trying to stay in the top 3 riders on the downhill to avoid getting boxed in. On the last small hill I got completely on the left and had to move really far forward or I knew I'd get shut in. On the back straight two people tried to make moves that I jumped on right away. The second rider to go was from Spokes N Skies and I moved around him about 200yards til the last turn. When we hit the small bump as you make the turn I started my sprint and felt my back wheel come off of the ground. From there, there was no turning back. With approx. 200 yards to go I saw a rider starting to pull along side me and I was just hoping that I wasn't already in my 53x12. Luckily I was spinning my legs off in a 53x14 so I still had two gears to go and it allowed me to hold him off by about a wheel length. This second place also got me the overall win in the series for points. Unfortunately I wasn't able to stick around for the awards ceremony because I had to ride straight back to my car and get on the road so I could make it to work on time.
34 degrees and rain, not a great day for a bike race. I had a blowout while riding to the start line and didn't even know if I'd make the start. If it wasn't for the help from Mr. Pointon I probably wouldn't have. I didn't feel the need for leg warmers so I lined up without them. Apparently I was the only one who felt like this because everyone else had them. By the first time up the small hill on course I was fine and had warmed up. The 4/5 race only had 17 people at the start line and only 6 were left in the lead group by the second lap. At that point Joe Vallese was already off the front. The race went on rather uneventfully because with only 6 people in the group it more of a small group ride. On the final lap after clearing the top of the hill my hands were so frozen that I couldn't feel them enough to shift into my large chainring for about 20 seconds and even then it was only by reaching over with my right hand and pulling the shifter over. On the sprint Luke and his teammate were trying to box me in so I decided to jump earlier than I had originally wanted to but it all worked out for good as I held off the field for another second place.
It was a great showing by Indiana Cycling! April fools, I was the only one from Indiana Cycling who showed up. The race was a pretty easy pace for the first 4 laps. The last 3 laps things picked up a bit because a guy from Trizilla broke away from the field. With only me their from Indiana and no one willing to work together there was no catching him. On the back stretch one guy jumped and decided to start his sprint from about 1 mile to the line and I jumped on his wheel. So after he was spent I was in the wind with about 1/2 miles to go, so when we made the last right turn I jumped and was able to hold off the field til the finish for a second place finish.