Team Arc-en-ciel Newhouse Criterium
Bikereg.com Team Arc-en-ciel Newhouse Criterium Results
On Sunday, My parents and I woke up at 4:30 to get ready for my 8:00 race. We left the house at around 5:10, hoping to make it there right after 7. We got there with our Dunkin Coffee’s at around 7:10 and I went over and registered for my Cat 5 race. After I regged, I went over and put on some clothes to warm up in. The lap was awesome! I loved the tight turns, and the straights, although there was a little wind. We started the race at exactly 8, and we were off. The first 10-15 min, we were only going around 22 Mph average, until a guy in a pink helmet managed to pick up the pace. We had dropped a few people during that little pull, but most of the field managed to hang on. Some hung on with dear life, but others were very confident. With around 9 laps to go, the guy in the pink helmet sped up the pace and me and 5 other guys formed a breakaway. It was awesome! I had never taken part in a break away, and I felt really strong. With the 4 laps to go sign, one of the guys in the breakaway group slides, but he manages to not fall. It scared me because I was right behind him, and if he had fallen I would have gone with. When we got onto the straight his tire explodes, probably because his tube had been caught between the rims of his wheels. We were only 5 left in the breakaway. With three laps to go I helped speed up the pace, just to see if I could drop one or two more people, but that didn’t go as planned. It then came down to the final sprint between me and 4 others. I got boxed in around 30 meters before the line, but on the bright side, this was my best result yet. And I took part in a break away!!!! It was and Awesome race!. I had hoped I could make it in the top 3, but better luck next time! Atleast I passed Junior Gearing again!!
We got there at 8:00 for my dads 3/4 race at 9:00 so I had to wait there all day for my junior race at 3:30. This was also our first team race which I was pretty excited for, the only thing was that it had been raining for most of the day and it was very windy like it always is at Ninigrat. About 45 minutes from the start Ethan P, Aidan, and I started to warm up by doing some sprints in the parking lot while drying to stay dry (which wasn’t going to happen). By the time we were lining up my shoes felt like pools and my feet were becoming numb. Right when we started Aidan and a few others decided to have a fast start which screwed me up (I don’t know why I did this but the day before I had ridden 50 miles which doesn’t really help much the day before the race) For the rest of the race I basically TTed and tried to get up to Ethan P in the wind and rain but you have good races and sometimes you have bad races.
When Sunday rolled around and the roads were dry I remained apprehensive about the weather: the skies still looked ready to open up and the relative humidity was through the roof. I was happy, then, as I rolled around a dry course immediately before the race. You could pedal through all the corners and they all had grass on the inside and outside so you could roll onto that.
I was hoping for a pretty high finish, maybe top ten, at least amongst the fours I was racing against. The field was small, at least as it was shown on Bikereg, and my legs felt good. So we started out quickly off the line and we were keeping a pretty fast pace in the mid to upper twenties, and it was all fine. I was sitting midpack, figuring out the corners, and I felt pretty good.
A group of the faster guys went off the front after a couple laps, and for a solid ten or fifteen minutes there was a group of five off the front. The CLR guys had a man in the break and they had a few riders who were slowing it down at the front of the pack, and nobody was doing anything. I figured I would attack just to test the legs, and either I’d bridge or bring the pack up. Predictably, after getting almost all the way up to the break, I looked back and there was a long line of guys on my wheel. I pulled off and moved back a little, and the guys from the break filtered back into the pack.
After a few more laps, coming in at eight to go, everyone was getting a bit too comfortable. Around one of the corners that wasn’t even a real corner, just more of a bend (where the two sides of the course pinched together in the middle), I saw a bunch of bumping and heard brakes sqealing up and to my right. A few guys went down and knocked over a guy who was directly in front of me. I slammed on the brakes and headed into the grass, keeping myself upright. A little shaken and without thinking, after the pack was already around the next corner, I clip back in and start to chase. Immediately I realize that I should have taken the free lap afforded me, but I was already chasing and commited to that. The pack was already too far away and hard on the gas after the crash. I saw Aidan behind the pack because he’d gotten caught behind the crash too, but he had started chasing earlier than I and was able to catch back on. So I rode in the rest of the eight laps alone, the pack stretching the gap to almost a half lap by the end.
All in all, a pretty disappointing finish, but much better than being caught in the crash, and at least it was some good training. I’m smacking myself in the head for not taking the free lap, and I really should have been closer to the front so I wouldn’t have gotten caught behind a crash in the first place. So I’m going to write a thousand times over “I will race smarter” and hopefully I’ll get that into my head.
The night before I got home from work pretty late, and was so incredibly tired, that I set my alarm for an early wake up to pack, and do all the things I usually do the night before.
Knock Knock…” Aidan! It is 6:15, don’t you need to be up by now?” said my Mom. I had slept through my alarm. Totally stressed out, I even considered not coming out to the race, but I ended up throwing every possible piece of bike clothing I could find in my room into a bag, my helmet, shoes, and I was off. Somehow, I got to the race at a reasonable time, with about 10 laps to go in the 5s race, and I watched Emil have great positioning in the final laps, just to get boxed out in the final sprint. Better luck next time!
Anyway, I pinned my number, and since it hadn’t started raining yet, and was rather warm, I just wore a SS jersey and shorts. Got all set, and started warming up and hanging out with Noah, and some other juniors before the 3/4 race. Unfortunately, I felt pretty sluggish and didn’t feel prepared at all mentally for the race.
The race began, and the pace was pretty fast. We were in mid to high 20s with some spikes above 30. I felt fine minus the fact that I couldn’t seem to get a good feel for the corners (I had this same issue at Chris Hinds 2 weeks before on the same course) so after every corner, I found myself gapped and had to sprint all out in the wind to get back on someones wheel. After 55 minutes of this on 6 corner course, it can get rather tiring. I was unaware of most of what was going on in the break aways, but instead I was just working on getting better positioning, moving up whenever possible.
About 3/4ths through the race, on a right hand turn, that isn’t really much of a turn, a guy went down about 2 riders infront of me. It turned into a chain reaction and about 5-6 others went down too. Instinctually, I found an escape route, and rode off into the grass, and there was actually a rider leaning on my shoulder. He crashed as well, and nearly took me down too. I had to put my foot down to get around the carnage of bikes and bodies, and by the time I got back on the course, there was a huge gap until the field. I hadn’t known about a free lap that I was allowed to take, so I just started chasing as hard as I could. About a lap or 2 later, after pushing 25+ for a few minutes, I caught back on. I was toast. We probably had 6-7 laps left, and I just held on mid pack, and I found Duane’s wheel and just held it. Unfortunately, on the final turn coming into the final sprint, we were about 30 back in the pack, and I had nothing left for a sprint. I ended up sprinting past a few people for a placing of 24th.
Not exactly what I had hoped for, but due to the fact that I had to chase back to a group of fast 3/4s, I felt ok with my performance for the race.
I had to hang out for another 4 hours or so for the junior race later that afternoon. I made the mistake of not eating enough during the break between races at Chris Hinds, so I loaded up on the sandwiches and fruit, and was good to go for the junior race. As the races went on, the rain began to pour. I was in my car all afternoon so that I could stay warm and dry, while still being able to watch some races. The P/1/2/3 race was right before ours, so I thought I’d do the smart thing since about 90% of them were wearing shorts and a LS jersey, was that I’d do the same. I opened the car door for the first time in about 3 hours, and felt a spray of freezing cold water and an extremely loud cold wind hit me. I immediately closed it again. I eventually told myself to HTFU and get out there. Duane offered me some embro, so since it was my first time using it, I put way too much on (which came back to bite me later) and felt nice and warm during the warmup. The juniors were all at the line, and the race official said the race will be 10, 12, or 15 laps, and almost everyone screamed “10 please!” We all decided on a 10 lap race because we were all really cold and wanted to get out of the rain and wind.
I got a good start and was right on the line, in the middle at the start. They blew the whistle, and I clipped in really quickly and pushed the pace 25+ within a few seconds around the first turn. Later I found out that I nearly shattered the field by doing this. I pulled us for about a half a lap, then some others didn’t want to pull through, so I happily sat on the front and pulled at an easy 20mph in a tailwind. No issues there. Eventually someone decided to pull through and about a lap later, Peter Goguen jumped and was gone for the rest of the race. This caused a few other people to jump later in that same lap, and I tried to grab their wheels but I always seemed to get boxed in and wasn’t able to get on their wheels. The legs were still tired and feeling the race that morning no doubt about it. I found myself in a group with a kid from CL Noonan, someone from CF, and another guy from COX. I did a lot of work on the front, and they kept attacking trying to get away from me. It was the final lap, we just crossed the line and they were ringing the bell, I thought I’d give it one last go and try to get them off my wheel, I sprinted out of the first corner and boom, I flatted. I quickly slowed down because I knew the combination of a rear flat, a wet course, and corners would =crash. I didn’t want that. All three of the riders passed me and I ended up getting passed by multiple other riders while riding the rest of the lap at a mere 9mph so I wouldn’t damage my rim. I was very frustrated with my luck.
When waiting for rollout, I checked my tire to find that I had a staple, yes a staple, in my rear tire. There are 2 things you should know about this. At Chris Hinds 2 weeks before, I got a flat in the junior race( but thanks to Duane, I borrowed his wheel and was able to chase back on), it was none else, but another staple! Also, I still had my Battenkill tires on from the weekend before. You’d think that they’d be much more flat protective. I was totally bummed out, soaked to the bone, and freezing. I ended up heading home for a 2 hour drive thinking about the season thus far. Flats, mechanicals, sketchy riders. Every race I had competed in this year has had something happen that affected my result, while being completely out of my control. I really couldn’t believe my terrible luck.
All I can hope for is a fun first MTB race this weekend, and an uneventful Blue Hills Classic the following weekend.