Bite off more than you can chew and, suffer!
Saturday, 14th Folsom Criterium
Unfortunately, instead of being the downtown crit as advertised it was a weird business park crit. An out and back course with a roundabout at one end and a slight down hill hairpin turn on the other - nasty! I signed up for the E3/4s omnium which would include the Folsom Crit and the Nevada City Crit on the Sunday; and the 35+ 1/2/3s crit.
I drove up with David Allen and a couple of his teammates from San Francisco. I arrived with plenty of time to warm-up and ready myself for the 3/4s. We went off at a cracking, good pace. Due to the hairpin, wind, and roundabout it was very difficult to move up. With 7 to go I was able to start my move to the front. I finally felt good about the race - confident of a good placing. We came to the hairpin with about 5 to go. I came around sharply on the inside and sprinted hard to get to the front. As I passed a younger rider on my right, he suddenly moved into me. His handlebars caught on my thigh. He was thrown to the right, he then whipped behind me, hit my rear wheel, and went down. Amazingly, I didn't go down but a few people behind me did. Unfortunately, I ended up at the back of the peloton and didn't recover my position. The crash really wiped me out. David Allen told me I should have tried to take a free lap. Next time I will. It was really hard to focus and get back on after the crash. However, I soldiered on to the finish.
At 2:35 pm I competed with the 35+ 1/2/3s. The pace was slower to begin with, but boy did it hot up pretty quickly. I struggled to keep with the main group but I made it. I even took a shot at a breakaway with another rider but we were caught pretty sharpish. Folsom bikes were keeping the pressure on. They had a number of riders including two national champions. They were definitely out for victory. It was a hell of 50 minutes of sprinting from one end of the course to the other as we came to a virtual standstill due to the hairpin and roundabout. At the finish I did well to come in the top 20 perhaps 15, I have yet to see the results. However, I know that I beat a few cat. 1s and came behind a couple of national champions!
Sunday, 15th Nevada City Classic
This had the best atmosphere for a race I have experienced so far this year. There are people on every part of the course cheering the riders on. Regardless of whether you think you could do well here or not, I definitely think this is one race that is worth experiencing. Even though it is advertised as a criterium, being 1.1 miles long it feels like a mini circuit race. It is a course that favors climbers. Many of our climbers would do well at this event. The course stair-steps up to the top for about a 2/3 of a mile climb then sweeps fast down to the finish. After the start/finish, there is a long sweeping bend that takes you back into the stair stepping climb.
I wanted to be on the front at the start knowing I would have trouble keeping up with the climbers. Unfortunately, due to a crash in the race before ours we were waiting on the sides for a while. During this time riders were sneaking into place. I ended up two or three back from the start line in a race of 70 riders. It was a hectic start. I didn't get a good one and found myself at the back of the first group. After a couple of fast and furious laps, I found my legs tiring. I just didn't have it. Frankie came past me on the climb and I urged him on. I think he ended up just a few places in front of me. I think two hard crits the day before wasn't the best preparation for this really hard race. However, the atmosphere and the need to prove myself over the course will bring me back again next year.