My worst crit?

Tint A Car criterium
Open C grade
Kwinana Motorplex
November 28 2013

The field had changed from the previous week, an extra 10 riders, a lot of new riders and number I recognised rode club B grade. So I expected a tough race and was hoping to last five laps.

The first half a lap was done behind the car. I was sitting mid pack and was surprised how badly most of the riders took the 180 degree corner at the bottom of the circuit.

The car pulled off at the end of the lap and the pace picked up. I had no problems with the pace or the cornering at the top half of the circuit. Though I was slowly drifting back to my usual position of ticket collector. A couple of riders panicked and raced past me, when I did not surge as hard as the riders in front coming out of the 180 degree corner at the top of the circuit. I knew from experience the pack would slow through the kink under the bridge before the service road.

I was sitting at the back as we swung off the service road onto the drag strip. The rider in front of me, rode across the rails on the circuit and promptly sat up for a couple of seconds. With no where to go I slowed. That rider realising his mistake, started a full on sprint to catch the bunch. I conserved my energy, stayed seated and drove hard. The rider infront caught the bunch at the turn and I was only 10m or so behind.

All I needed to do was take the corner well, drive hard out and catch the bunch. Except I took the corner so badly I ended more than 25m off the back of a surging bunch.

I rode hard to try and catch the bunch, passing the rider who just sprinted, got back on and promptly popped. However, the bunch was surging and riders where being spat out, at one stage a small group of six where off the back. It gave me a little hope as the bunch slowed and they got back on. But another surge and the group was strung out and going away. Riding into a head/crosswind I was never going to catch a group of riders who normally ride two grades above me.

I rode another lap, so I was not the first to retire, that honour belonged to the rider who slowed going onto the drag strip. I did catch another couple of riders, who got spat out. There was no way I was going to get back on, the bunch had good gap,it was growing and I was pretty spent.

I got to watch the end of the race. It was a war of attrition, half the riders finished in the bunch. The rest were spread out on the course or retired.

At home the post race analysis was interesting, particularly as you could see the how other people rode the race on Strava. The fastest laps of the race where slower than the previous week. The average speed was a little higher than the previous week, but not enough to cause me problems. So I should of been able to survive in the bunch. This was supported by my power data was similar to other recent crits.

So what happened, I was feeling the effects of racing for the fourth time in five days, but that was not a major factor. I lacked confidence in myself, I did not believe I was capable of riding with this bunch and I was. I need to ride further up the bunch of unknown riders for the first few laps, so I don’t get caught out by other riders mistakes.

The big questions is will I be back for the next Tint A Car criterium in two weeks time. It depends, if I do well at the two PDCC C grade crits in the next two weeks, I will race, as confidence plays a bit part in my racing.

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