Sunday, March 29, 2009

Redlands - Won a Prime! - 23rd

Redlands is probably one of the most enjoyable crits you'll find out there. Check out the course map below. Corner 1 is something close to a 150 degree turn around a pointed curb, turn 2 and 3 are back to back 90 degree right and lefts, and then you've got two fast, open corners in 4 and 5. One might expect a lot of crashes on this course, in general however I've found it to be really safe.

We had 3 guys in the race today. It kinda worked out where we each played the role of one of the three bears today:

  • For Alcino, things were just right. After his usual bout of nerves prior to the race he stood on the gas at the end and finished second.
  • For EPete (Euro Pete), things were a little too hot. He crashed with a few laps to go. Pete rode really hard during the race and he's one of our best finishers, so it sucked that his day ended early.
  • For me, things were a little cold, maybe more lukewarm. It would have been nice to get a top 10. Getting a prime win however was a really nice reward.

I got my prime the only way I knew I could, attack way early. As we headed up the home stretch and the announcer called for a prime everyone let up for a bit. I was up near the front, so I decided to go for it. I calmly rolled up to 3rd or so and then hammered it. I got through turn 1 really well, as I got back on the gas I looked under my arm to see how close the field was behind me. As long as I've been back racing, each time I've tried to jump away, I've looked back only to see the entire field right on my wheel. This time I looked back to a 80 foot gap. Wow, finally something encouraging! So I just kept hammering. I was able to hold my advantage to the start/finish and take the prime. There's nothing like rolling across the start/finish and hearing the announcer call out your name and sponsor.

From there I got back in the field and got my heart rate down from 192.

The finish was pretty strategic for a cat 4 race. Normally cat 4 races end in a mass drag race to the finish. With a couple laps to go Andrew Jessup, one of the really strong cat 4s attacked. Most of the time these sorts of efforts are pulled back after a lap or so, Andrew however is a really strong rider and easily could have turned his bravery into a win (he time trialed for 20 minutes to a win at Imperial). With 2/3 of a lap to go we managed to catch him. Right away a little guy from Team Possibilities took off. Alcino saw him go, but unfortunately didn't react quite fast enough. Alcino nearly caught him at the line, but just ran out of road.

The reason I bring this up is that I'd really like to see myself be able to get up to the front and pull these sorts of guys back for Alcino. Jumps, changes in pace, etc. used to be one of the things I did best. If I'm not going to be winning races, I would at least like to make a meaningful contribution. If I'd been able to get up there and help Alcino he would have won. I'm not there quite yet however. Before I can worry about covering attacks, I first have to be at the front at the end of the race.

All in all a good day.

1 comment: said...

Congrats on the prime. Hopefully this is the positive direction you needed. I know you've been working hard and even little rewards help.