First I wish to start by saying thank you. Thank you to everyone on our team, XXX, Cuttin Crew, and the city of Chicago for allowing this Crit to take place. Without your hard work, this would not have been possible, nor would it have been as successful or so smoothly run.
I’ll first start by saying this is the first race for me of the 2009 racing season. I viewed it simply as a tune-up to get the kinks and cob-webs sorted out, and to gauge how I was progressing in my training compared to everyone else. I was a little nervous, because I was spit out the back of both crits I raced last year due to poor training/planning, so my goal was to hold on to the pack for 45 minutes (that and not to crash).
I toed the line towards the far left, got a good jump at the start, and settled in for the first lap in the top 5-10 positions. After that, I just let people shuffle around me and tried to stay in the draft to conserve energy. While in the peloton, I was learning it was best to be towards the outside of the corners so that you could carry more speed through them and not have to sprint out of every corner to stay with the group. I moved from the front to the back to the front of the peloton over the remaining 11 laps.
To be honest, I settled into the groove, and my mind went blank, only concentrating on maintaining a consistant pace, and on the riders to my left, right, and front. Every now and then I would hear Audrey, Erica and Julie screaming, but it was almost inaudible amoungst all the noise. Originally I had hoped that I would have had the stamina and power to mount an attack with the stronger guys on Half Acre, but as the laps wound down, I knew that I couldn’t sustain the required watts that it would take to make a break-away stick.
As the bell lap sounded, the pace dramatically increased. I was behind Danny and felt he and I could possibly work together to make up some spots to get near the top 10. After coming out of the first turn and into the S-bend on the back stretch, someone failed to hold their line and almost caused a wreck. Danny and I got seperated, and my momentum was shot. From here to the Finish line, I focused on what Kevin Perez says at track clinics “Concentrate on passing the person in front of you” So, I picked off 2 riders and almost a third before the finish line. I’m not overly concerned with my finish, as it was somewhere mid-pack, but I am very happy with my overall performance, and knowing that my training is working. Now lets see how the rest of the season plays out.
I’d like to give a shout out to Stan on the team, who finished 5, in only his 4th Criterium ever. Very impressive.
Watch out for the blue Half Acre train, I forsee some good things happening on the road this year from our squad.