Sunday, June 28, 2015

Two Weekends of Crit Racing by Matthew Sloan

Saturday, June 20th RedKite Pleasanton 35+ 1/2/3s

This was to be a leg opener for Sunday's Nevada City's Classic Criterium. I was thinking of just sitting in and practicing my sprint but just sitting in is boring. I did a couple of moves that ended in breaks that didn't stick. My third effort got me into the six man break (including me) that stuck.

I worked hard doing more than my fair share on the front because top 5 would be a great result at this level of racing. I got a little boxed in at the finish but came in a strong 4th! It felt good to top 5, really good.

Sunday, June 21st Nevada City Classic 45+ 1/2/3s

Regardless of what position you come in, this is a great race. One of the best supported and organized on the calendar. Just riding it for the atmosphere alone is enough. I highly recommend it!

The course stair steps up for a half mile, has a flat section of about 200 yards, then a swooping decent to the finish. There is a big left hand off camber turn at the bottom of the hill, into a sweeping slightly uphill turn to take you into the climb again.

I started off well but basically lost my nerve on the descents in the group pushing me farther and farther toward the back of the main group. I had to work to hard on the climb to stay in contention and finally got dropped about a third in. I maintained a good rhythm and stole some places back but never got back to the group.

I ended up top ten, 9th, which isn't too shabby for 45+ 1/2/3s. I'm gutted to have to wait a whole year before I can contest it again. My legs felt so good on Monday, I wanted to do it all again.

Better luck next year. That descent won't get the better of me and I won't get dropped from the main group.

Sunday, June 28th Burlingame Crit

35+ 3/4s

I am sure most of you have watched the A Team. Well, "I love it when a plan comes together!"

Yesterday, on a mountain bike ride my friend, David Allen, said Burlingame is the sort of course that you can win off the front. It has a 180 hairpin turn, two turns after the start, this coupled with the many turns make it easy to get out of sight. The old adage, "Out of sight, out of mind!" is perfect for this course.

We were thinking of about 8 laps to go. Most racers start thinking of the finish at this point and not making an attack. As I pondered the race. I thought it would be a good idea to use the last prime lap as my excuse to attack. During the race, a guy was off the front on the second to last prime lap. The group kind of just sat up and were going to let him have it. I thought, this is the perfect time to go. I will make it look like I'm going for the prime and just carry on.

Well, I bridged up to him, got the prime, and then really put the hammer down! I got a really good jump on everyone, using the hairpin to my advantage. Then it was head down. With ten laps to go, they called another prime. No way anyone was going to get that one! I went harder still knowing that after the final prime lap racers wouldn't have as much incentive to push hard as a group.

The teams couldn't sort themselves out into a chase. It was me against the peloton with me winning out this time!

I had one interesting thing happen with five laps to go. I caught my pedal on the u-turn and with my mtb skills managed to bunny hop and keep my self upright. My back wheel kept making this sound that felt like a flat was coming on. I had to take it easy into the corners because I was worried I might have to change wheels. What had happened was the tire had partially come off the rim. I was so lucky it held for the final five laps. Phew!!! I waited around for the podium but ended up missing it when I went to warm-up for the 45+ 1/2/3s race.

Big thank you to Mike Andalora and his friend for their support during the race!

45+ 1/2/3s

I was a little bit blown for this but still felt good. I made a couple of efforts and nearly beat the crit national champion for a prime lap. I was pleased with the fact I was able to hold on and move up when I needed to. I missed the break that stuck in the last five laps; however, I came through strong in the final couple of laps and came 6th in the 45+1/2/3s.

Two weekends of fun crit racing! I will likely race Davis next weekend, we'll see. Time for a Brit to get their own back on July 4th! (This is tongue in cheek, I'm actually a citizen now. I even spelt citizien, correctly!)

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