It turns out that training crits are really fun. It's been long since established that I don't like doing intervals, and I pretty much only hurt with a number on. I've tried to use road racing to satisfy my number-wearing-training needs before, but I usually end up being bored for most of the event. I'm not strong enough to attack with any success and I'm not weak enough to be anywhere near in trouble of getting dropped. So I generally do nothing, just like everyone else.
But! The training crit is a different animal, because there's really no score keeping, so "winning" is only weakly defined. I can do all kinds of stupid stuff, chase primes, avoid the final sprint, and claim that I "won" by meeting my "training goals." And since I had a number on, I wasn't doing intervals, but I was trying hard!
So yeah, Wells Ave, you will be seeing more of me. This was my first Cat 4 race ever, and my first criterium ever, so I placed myself in the B race. Linnea made her road racing debut in the C race, and thought it was easy enough to ride the B race next time. Perhaps my dream of crashing out my girlfriend in a sprint will finally be realized.
After about 5 laps I found myself moving up on the inside when the pace slowed, and I decided it was a good a chance for a random attack as any. I looked back, pleading with the field to send out a bridge attempt, and they obliged. Mike from Back Bay came across, I waited, and we set out on a merry 2-man TT as only two mountain bikers can.
Then I went to the back of the field to suffer for a while.
After 10 or so laps of hanging perilously close to off the back, I decided that I wasn't entirely out of matches. Anticipating another prime, I moved up hard on the start straight, and sure enough, they gave us the bell. I slotted into third wheel, behind some Threshold guy leading out some non-Threshold guy with super nice wheels.
Threshold dude pulled all the way to turn 4, when nice wheels dude launched on the outside of him. It seemed kind of silly to go the long way around, but then again, I had zero desire to try to jump after him while still in the turn, so he got a gap quickly. Threshold guy tried to chase, but of course this didn't work because he'd been pulling for the entire lap. I stayed on his wheel until he sat back down and then launched.
I can't judge distance on a bike, but nice wheels dude was really far away already, maybe 30 yards? Whatever it was, when I looked up after five seconds I almost gave up when I saw the gap. But it's a training race, and I'm already sprinting in my biggest gear, might as well get in a good effort for the powertap I didn't put on this bike...
After 10 more seconds I realized it was going to end up just like the Noho sprint against Colin Murphy from back in the day, nice wheels guy was cooked and just TT'ing seated to the line as best he could. I came screaming by seconds before he crossed the line, which led to him violating the "no cussing" rule quite loudly. That was at least as rewarding as the can of Shaklee drink powder the prime ended up being for.
After that I was definitely cooked, I tried to attack one more time with Uri and was able to take exactly one pull before swinging off and saying to him, "dude, I'm done, see you later." And then I sat up for real on the last lap and came in 30 seconds behind the sprint, because I like my collarbones.
Post-race the entire internet gathered to make fun of my 3cm bar drop and extremely non-slammed stem. It was a glorious expression of roadie elitism rarely seen by the general public -- if we're lucky, the comments section here will continue the assault.
But seriously, I should probably flip that stem. To be cool, or aero, or pro. Whatever you guys want.