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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