Tuesday, June 10, 2008

That Elusive "W"

Last year, this past weekend, I entered my very first Crit race ever. While I've been riding bikes for years, the idea of road racing never really grabbed a hold of me. Almost everyone I see out there is soooo serious and no one looks like they're having much fun. From the Pros to the Cat 5 racers. They exuded an attitude that never appealed to me. And why pay someone so I can ride my bike with a bunch of spandex clad men? My bikes cost enough to maintain through daily use...why would I want to punish them in a race?

Anyways...last year I jumped into the Second Ascent Twilight Crit, or as it's better know, the Ballard Crit. Why? Mainly just for fun. To try something out and see what all the hub bub was about.

This race was the first appearance of my Coveralls. While some laughed with me, others scoffed and felt I was 'disrespecting' the sport. All I was there to do was have some fun. I mean really...I was in the beginner category!
The race that day saw plenty of rain. A couple of wrecks. A fool hardy break away. And our very own beloved Diablo Rojo winning the sprint finish.

Fast forward one year.

The coveralls still come out to every race in the hopes the local UCI official isn't there. And people give me grief for NOT wearing them even if he is there. I've been called 'sandbagger' more times than I care to count, even though I've requested upgrades and been denied. I've met a lot of great people in the local race scene and look forward to seeing them at any race I can make it to.

The Ballard Crit this year was faster and way harder than the previous year. They combined the beginners and the class above into a Cat 4/5 battle royal. Thankfully it was dry.

Half way through the race I was really questioning why I went out with the Dead Baby Crew the night before and thought I was going to drop out of the race all together.

When we finished I was told we averaged around 30mph for the race...ugh. This pace really took it's toll on everyone. Towards the closing laps it felt like there was a wreck every go around. So when 2 laps to go came up and the front end of the group slowed up...I shot off the front wanting to keep the pace high and carnage free. When I looked back, I had a gap.

Hindsight...I should have buried my head and gone. I might have been able to hold them off.
My foggy brain thought it would be wiser to ride with the pack for the finish...however I continued to lead until the finishing straight. They shot past me close to the line but I managed to hold onto 4th.
{hey daniel, hows that shifter?!}

I blame the Babies for my clouded judgement...next time...next time.

Thanks to Wheels in Focus for the pictures again.


Bobby said...

When it doubt...

"Attack, Attack, Attack!"

Good work though.

ChrisB. said...

That's awesome man.

And I can relate to so much of what you're saying about the seriousness and lack of fun. Part of the reason I stopped road racing many years ago was the unbearable social climate (the other reason being that late nights playing in rock bands aren't quite ideal for keeping a training schedule, but that's neither here nor there).

Now years later, I find that I just don't care at all about all the "roadie attitude" stuff. I take pride in the fact that I'm primarily there just to have fun; and that my entire rig (including the new carbon fork from Nashbar) cost me less than 500 bucks.

Fourth is just one spot off the podium. Odds are your moment will come soon enough.