Sunday, I returned to the SCV to race the Chuck Pontius Criterium because:
- It’s 20 minutes from my house.
- I had already signed up.
- This gets me one race closer to getting out of Cat 5.
Just to say I competed in an Omnium, even though I still have no idea what that means.
Let me just say I love crits.
No, that’s wrong. I don’t like them. Even though I have a sprinter looking body, quick accelerations ain’t my thing. Plus at this experience level, the races ate wonky and half your mind is focused on not crashing.
I headed out with my buddy Steve who was also looking for the proper balance of racing fun and returning to his wife safely.
Not learning my lesson from the day before, it gets cold in the morning in the high desert. I decided to wing it come race time, but I felt like a bigger doofus leaving my water bottle in the car.
The game face is here. We’re racing!
I got to the starting line right before the gun went off, not giving me enough time to recognize the fast riders who were going to gun it off the line.
Sure enough, five riders took clear off and that was the last I saw of them. Oh well, I just want to finish this race, right?
Everyone else was scattered all over the place with everyone trying not to get left behind any further.
By the end of the first, things came pretty well together and from that point on, the announcer would refer to our pack of twelve riders as “the field”.
I was hoping that since we had numbers, somehow we could catch the lead pack, but you have to remember that this is Cat 5. Our group was divided into three types of contributors:
- Riders who took pulls
- Riders who closed gaps
- Riders who did no work and/or created gaps
I was in the first group and surprisingly, it was the other thicker cyclists who also comprised this group. Early on, I signaled and shouted to form a paceline, but there were a lot of blank stares out there. It was almost Homeresque.
The real star of our group was one the riders from CBS Cycling(in the white). He would continually motion for the preceding rider to pull through only to have a fair number of riders follow him as he tried rotating out. To keep everything together, there were a number of times he went back to the front after getting just a few seconds off.
Near the last third of the race, me and Keith(I introduced myself in the middle of the race) were going to try sticking together, but this was the point where the gap closers stepped in.
The last few rotations around the course were pretty compulsory and by the time we entered the final lap, I moved to the outside just to steer clear of the last lap craziness since I didn’t know what I was getting with this group.
Around the final turn, I’m not saying I could have passed Keith, but I definitely wasn’t going to suck his wheel and sprint past him after all the hard work he had done.
In the end, I finished 11th, somehow better than my positioning the previous day in the road race. Most importantly, that’s another Cat 5 race in the books and just two more until I upgrade to Cat 4. Who knows? Maybe the next pair will also be crits?