NEBC U23/Junior Development Team
Chris Hinds Memorial Criterium
Cat 5 Race
My plan for the Chris Hinds memorial Crit was to do two races: the Cat 5 at 10:10 and the Juniors at 3:05. Because of some unfortunate directions and a little too much coffee in the morning, my father and I didn’t arrive until about 9:20. We prepared as quick as we could, leaving about 20 minutes to warmup before the race started. This certainly wasn’t the plan, but it wasn’t too bad as the Cat 5 race didn’t start out too fast. When the race started my goal, which I executed pretty well, was to stay in the top third and to never be in the wind. And speaking of the wind, boy was it strong. Even when I was ducking for cover behind people, I felt like there was a leaf blower bearing down on me as I rode down the front straight. For a good chunk of the race I bounced from wheel to wheel, never drifting too far back. With about a third of the race to go, my father found himself in the front and I was second wheel. The pace slowed a bit because he was the basically the only person driving the pack until half a lap to go. He told me after that he slowed down intentionally hoping people would pass him and he could get off the front but that never quite happened. This was his first race though, and he certainly learned a lot. With half a lap to go the speed quickly picked up and we started to fall backwards. I left his wheel and got on another riders’ in about 6th position. As we came around the final corner, a lapped rider essentially set a pick on me and I lost contact with the guy in front of me who ended up being the winner. I finished second so it would have been nice to see if I could have got him at the line had I been on his wheel during the sprint, but he was very strong so I don’t think me losing contact with him made much of a difference.
I knew the Junior race was going to be much tougher. My goal for the race was to stay in contact for as long as possible. The race started out at a fairly moderate pace until the preems started to come. For the most part the pace would accelerate a lot down the front straight and then the pack would regroup after the line. After one preem, though, about halfway through the race, two Team CF riders (including Peter Goguen) and two BayHill Capital riders had a little bit of a gap. I was afraid they were going to pull away so I put a big effort in and was able to catch them. We were alone for a bit, but over the next couple laps riders came back to us until we were back in a pack of nine. On the last lap, Jonathan Anderson attacked and the pack quickly responded. Six riders kept going once they caught and passed Anderson, but I wasn’t able to make the gap so I sat on Anderson’s wheel. On the front straight I was easily able to dispatch of him because he was so tired and I caught up to a group of two that drifted back from the winning group. I finished 6th (one rider was DQ’d for failed rollout if you were doing the math), 4 seconds back. Overall I am very happy with my day. I had some good results and I didn’t crash during my first races of the year. I’ll call it a success!
Cat 5 Race
My dad and I got there at around 7:00 for my dad’s Cat 4 race at 8:00, my Cat 5 race was at 10:10. At around 9:30 Brandon and I started to warm up by riding around the parking lot and doing sprints. Once the Cat 3/4 race was over we went over to line up. It was about 40 so it was a bit chilly for our race, it was also very windy with the headwind on the final straight. Once the race started I tried to stay near the front but on the turns I would get pushed back and was forced to sprint back to the field. I stayed in the pack for about more than half the race and then I rode alone for the rest of the race. I hadn’t been able to ride for a week because I had tendonitis in my knees but with advice from my chiropractor and a lot of stretching I was able race.
The Junior race was supposed to be at 3:05 but there was a nasty crash in the 50+ race and they had to call an ambulance for the guy. This also delayed the 40+ which was before our race. Aidan, Ethan Pearl, Brandon, and I warmed up together by riding around the parking lot and doing some sprints. We watched the final lap of the 40+ race and then lined up. I stayed in the pack for about 5 laps but me, Ethan, and 2 other riders chased for 2 laps and caught the main field to find them ramp up the pace after a prime. Ethan stayed with the pack but me and the other 2 riders dropped back. We picked up another rider and just worked together to try to get back. For the rest of the race we just kept the same pace until the last lap where we ramped it up a little bit and sprinted for fun.
I was registered for the junior race at 3:10, I arrived at about 2:45. This was my first time at the venue and I found it to be very windy and a very fast course. I registered and got my number then watched the end of the race in progress. I had a pretty good warm up, riding around the parking lot. Most of the other juniors were also riding in the same area also, as it was the most convenient place to ride. The race was delayed about 10 minuted due to a crash in the previous race. We lined up behind the really young juniors. My start did not go too well due to the very small riders directly in front of me. I was almost taken out my one of them swerving across the pack. I caught back up to the pack by the second turn and positioned myself near the outside, around the back. I held this position for about 4 laps. When the prime bell rang, the front of the pack took off and I was in able to keep the pace and quickly fell behind. I joined up with another NEBC rider who dropped along with some other riders, after I discovered that I would be unable to catch back up on my own. We spent the next 3-4 laps in a pace line and eventually caught the pack. I stayed with them for about 2 laps until another prime bell rang and I was yet again unable to keep up. I fell very far behind at this point and did not have much left. I rode by myself for a couple laps, until I was a lapped by the lead riders. I jumped on the back of the back for the last few laps and once again fell behind when the pace increased. I rode the last 2 laps with about 4 other riders and we sprinted toward the finish. I was in the front of the group but 2 other riders caught up to me for a very close finish. Overall I felt I could have done better if my legs had not been so sore from a long game of air soft the day before, but I gave it all I could and finished fairly well under the circumstances.