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TX Criterium Championship

May 26, 2009

FWcrit2bWhile I was up in north Texas celebrating Memorial Day with kinfolk, I thought I’d take in a little road racing Monday afternoon in Ft. Worth. True, I had sworn off any serious road racing for a while since a crappy weekend of road racing back in February, but Thursday’s positive results out at the local Driveway Crit Series gave me high hopes for a decent finish, even If I were racing a bike 6 lbs “inferior” to everyone else’s out there. I was further fueled by news that my upgrade request for Cat 3 did not pass, and that a strong showing at a state championship race would perhaps give the officials more reason to reverse their decision. I would keep my expectations low though, as the last time I attempted this race 2 years ago, I didn’t even finish it. The visit to see my folks was first priority, the race second.

With that in mind, I had no problem partaking in several tasty adult beverages for the majority of the weekend, along with copious amounts of grilled meat and vegetables. I didn’t drink enough to get sick, but it certainly didn’t help to keep me hydrated. Come 12:15 at race start, it was very warm and very humid. I would guess 65 or so riders toed the line. Here I am, unshaven legs, unshaven face, no gloves, no computer, no heart rate monitor, safety glasses for eyewear, steel framed bike, still trying to recover from a weekend of gluttony. I look nothing the part of a “road racer”, and I’ve never considered myself one (thank God), but I was ready to roll.

Start line position has never been an advantageous component of my carefree attitude. I didn’t care too much that I was in the back until 1/2 way through the first lap ( of about 26 laps of the 60 min race). The first 10 or so laps were absolute balls to the wall, and it was absolute carnage. Riders were dropping like flies. The attrition rate was incredible. I remembered now why I got dropped the last time I did this race. This course is fast, but when a state title is on the line, the racers are even faster! Throw some $25,$50, & $100 primes in the mix and you’ve really got an exciting (meaning ridiculously fast) race.

I struggled to stay on the rear as racers fell off the back, one by one. A group of three got off the front, but there was nothing I could do about it this very day. The elements and lack of proper hydration were definitely taking their toll on my body. I was not the same rider that killed out on the track Thursday night. At least I wasn’t one of the unfortunate souls getting dropped. I’ve been there, and I know the shame and disappointment that comes with it. Better luck to those racers next time, and I sincerely mean that.

About 40 mins into the race, the pace lets up just enough for me to catch my breath. The peloton is still pushing on pretty hard to catch the 3 up the road, but at least now I find myself in position to move up some spots. By the last lap, I’m up to midpack and ready for the sprint. we hit the next to last turn and I gun it to move up a few spots. Hit the last turn, avoid the nasty crash to my left, then gun it all the way to 13th place. In a race this fast, the difference between 4th and 13th is only .265 seconds. Close, yes, but almost doesn’t count in crit racing-that is the nature of the beast.

Looking back over the Texas racing forums today, someone taking lap times out there mentioned that the Cat 4 race was faster than the Cat 3 race. There were definitely some fast and hungry racers out there Monday-congrats to them all. Considering the circumstances, I felt good with 13th place, and like I’ve said before, only stand to get better. No racing this weekend, but should have some time to get that raw food post out this week. Keep on keepin’ on!

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