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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Early Bird Criterium #3, NORCAL January 23, 2011

Today was the third Early Bird Training Criterium (second for me) put on by Velo Promo. I missed last week's crit in favor of the second Oakland Composite TT, but was glad that I forwent yesterday's road race and joined in the fun of the junior criterium.

This week, after some sage advice, I decided to tear it up in just the junior crit and save Cat5 for a later date when there aren't so many crashes and wobbles. Dad and I left at 8am and arrived around 8:20 with a few minutes for me to register and get dressed for the clinic below. The guys and gals from VP have been doing a great job to keep the race organized and safe for all who enter.
(Briefing.)

Since I didn't make last week's race and clinic focusing on cornering, I opted to do my clinic with those who missed week two as well. We practiced two-by-two and three-by-three cornering at speed. No crashes, which was good.
(Clinic Briefing.)

Once the adults' clinic was over, the juniors had their own little skill clinic in one of the parking lots off the side of the course. We practiced practical real-life assertiveness, balance, shoulder looking, etc. Easy stuff, but it was fun and we all had some laughs. The junior race started right after the women who were proceeded by the U30 Cat5 men. The Cat5 guys had one crash coming into the sweeper after the start/finish line. The pavement there is incredibly rough, and the sliding sound after cross-wheel impact was really nerve-racking. Both guys made it out all right. So, the junior race began and the groups quickly separated. They start the really little kids with us as well, but we're quickly away from them so they can have their own race without worry.
(Big sweeper after the start/finish. The rough stuff is out of sight to the right.)

The group did a pretty good job of staying together and I stayed near the front of the main group for the whole race. Somehow I drifted back in this turn and that wasn't a good choice. On the next lap some kid was on the outside of me in the same turn, wiggled his bars a bit and leaned hard onto my shoulder. As per the advice of our in-race mentors prior to the start, I flicked him off with my elbow.
(SRV kit, red and black. That's me.)

And finally, the glory shot here. This is the bell lap, and things got strung out for sure up in the front. Right here, I'm probably sitting around seventh and we were going hard all the way to the finish. I don't really think anybody sprinted, but we just ended up finishing in the order of who had the most oomf left. I probably finished in the top 10-ish riders of the first power group.
(Killin' it.)

All-in-all, the race was great fun and I did far better than my first race on this circuit where I opted to ride with Cat5 and got dropped out the back. These are just training races, but there's definitely some competition and I think it's really good that some of the juniors are attending these races - we all learned something. For example, the team that will remain nameless that was leading the pack made some huge mistakes up in the front such as slowing and dangerously mushrooming the rest of the pelican. The mentors certainly had a word with them. Plus, I learned that while the drops do offer a defensive position, I don't need a death grip. Numb, stiff fingers suck after a race.

So that's that AYC. Sorry if it's incoherent or babbling, but I'm getting ready for a nap and then some serious studying. Stay tuned for next week's report! UPDATE: there might not be a next week. Stanford Parliamentary Debate Invitational here we come...

2 comments:

  1. Great race update! Looks like a super good velo-scene out there in Norcal. You are clearly getting some great experience and putting the hurt on. Bravo- way to represent!

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  2. Looking at the last photo- you are on the brink of launching yourself into a full on power sprint position- my quads ache thinking about it, but I can see how close you are. That is awesome. Keep up the goodwork- you ARE getting stronger and stronger.

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