Race Report – City Park Crit

6 Jun

After a couple of weeks without a race, I was back at it on Sunday, racing again with my teammate Benten in the Men’s 4/5 race at City Park.  As I mentioned in the last post, this course is technical with the turns through the roundabouts, plus an almost 120 degree turn.  We both went out on Thursday to check it out, and I went back Friday morning to have a few more laps.  I had a better feel for the course after that, but definitely was not up to race speed yet.

Taking off

Sunday morning came way too early, but I warmed up more since I could just ride to the race, about 3 miles from our place.  As usual, the pace was fast from the start, but I thought I did a better job hanging on through the first couple of laps, and definitely felt in better shape and/or did not tire quickly.  I hope the former had more impact, because otherwise I probably could have ridden even harder.  I’ve felt that I’ve started every race too slowly, and this time I still did not have a handle on the cornering at those speeds (20-25 mph).  I’m certain that drifted out too wide on the second roundabout (the largest one), putting me in a worse position coming out of the corner, hanging out in the gutter by myself.  I felt much more comfortable by the third lap, and I benefit from seeing the lines that other riders take through the corner.  I often doubt how fast I can corner until I see others do it, and never more than in this case.  A dude from the Men 35+ Cat 4’s taped some of his race later in the day and posted it here, so you can get a perspective of what we all saw and went through.  He also points out the key features of the course on the first lap, so one can see how we had to ride it.

Around twenty minutes in I had fallen off the main group, but had joined in on a rag-tag group of stragglers to ease the work.  The three of us rode together until the lead group lapped us, breaking us up as we all went through a turn together.  After that, I eventually rejoined one of the riders, and we rode the rest of the race together.

Headed into the last roundabout (I’m in the middle)

From a results standpoint, I don’t need to get into any specifics, but I’ll say the race was a valuable experience, and I still had fun.  I actually felt ready to race this course again, and I’m sure I could move up and definitely hang longer.  This crit was also 45 minutes which had more than doubled the length of the previous two I raced this year, and I felt much better through this one.  Each week provides a building block in some form, and this one was all about bike handling, cornering, and positioning.  While I have a lot to work on still, I know these are things that will improve with practice.  I also have fewer worries now about my fitness, and I know I’m getting closer to a level where I can hang with the pack, at least for longer periods of time.  This too, will continue to improve as long as I build in adequate rest and recovery.

Leaving the second roundabout (I’m on the front now)

Oh yeah, Benten finished first out of us 5’s, and second overall in the race!  I was glad he had a successful day, even though I did absolutely nothing to help him out.  We will probably race a few more times together this season, and I would like to stay in the main group headed into the final laps.  For now, I’ll keep adding to my experience, turn by turn, corner by corner.

The lead group through the second roundabout (Benten in 2nd position)

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One Response to “Race Report – City Park Crit”

  1. dsantilli June 6, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    Nice work Devin and Benten. Wish I could have been there and I plan to next month.

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