Saturday, July 4, 2009

Master's Nats Crit @ Churchill Downs

Last night I slept like crap...I was wired and a bit nervous about the race today.  My race was at 11:30 so there was no rush in the morning.  I got there at around 10am and had a really good warmup then put the race wheels on and did some laps on the course.

I had to stop to get some tattoo's put on that I promised my daughter...then it was to the line.  The course was a 1/2 mile with most of the turns rounded so you could sort of pedal through them and turn 4 was weirdly banked and fast...about 65 guys started and we did 62 laps.

I'll tell you it was balls out fast and hard from the gun...and really never let up.  There were some lulls here and there but for the most part it was just crazy fast.  I saw more pedal strikes in corners than I care to remember but the group was really smooth and well behaved.

I tried to stay *near* the front but that meant about midpack.  A break of 5 guys eventually got away and held about a 20" gap.  Around the last third of the race I started feeling really good and started moving up and looking for an opportunity to go across to the break.  One guy who I was watching was the Kelly Benefits guy who Jay was chasing with on Tuesday...I knew he was strong so when he attacked, me and another dude went with him and chased.  The field eventually caught us and the gap then was only about 5 seconds and I gambled that the gap would close...Nope.  I was a little fried at that key moment and *should* have tried to bridge right then...but couldn't, and the gap went back out to 20".

At this point with 10 laps to go it was just looking like a field sprint for 6th...things started getting a bit argy-bargy and people were taking more risks to get to the front.  With 2 to go I had moved up to about 15th wheel...exactly where I wanted to be.  Then all I know is that when we were flying through turn 3 the guy to my left got in trouble and going down...I just hoped I'd sneak through but he slid out right in front of me and I slammed into him.  Luckily I landed on his bike (with him under it) so I wasn't hurt that bad but the race for me was over.

I did get up and ride the last 2 laps to finish the race...with rash down my left leg (ripping my new leg tattoo off!) and chain grease covering my entire left arm.  Whadda ya gonna do?  Later someone said a lapped rider caused the crash...I have no idea.  Now, 9 hours later I pretty sore and stiff.  Nothing a hand full of ibu and a few beers won't cure.

So I'm a bit bummed at the result but I am satisfied with how I felt and how I rode the race.  I was as aggressive as I think I could have been considering how hard it was and I was positioned where I wanted to be at the end.  

I'll do a post with some wattage numbers of both races when I get back to Columbia.


jmcswain said...

You had a great week up there! No reason to feel bummed out. But sorry about your crash and hope you recover quickly. Thanks for all your updates.

Anonymous said...

I love the crit racer mentality-counting yourself lucky to have landed on the other guy and his bike-so bad a$$

Rich W said...

Well, as the saying should have seen the other guy! He was in pretty bad shape, I kept asking him if he was ok, he just laid there, then I took off as the medics showed up. At one point In the race I did think that maybe I should have done more crits this year than zero.

Rich W said...

A quick calculation: 27.6 mph ave for 1:07