Sunday, July 6, 2008

Vacaville Crit: accidental attacks and staples

After lining up with Stefan, Robin, Jeff, and Anthony at the start of the Master's 1/2/3 Vacaville Criterium, I decided I was not going to get shoved to the back of the pack on the very first lap, so I blew off the line and hit the first corner as hard as I could. I also pushed the pace through a complicated, 110-degree sweeper and another quick left. I looked behind me expecting to see the field slicing along in my draft--and they were nowhere in sight. A Team CS rider bridged, and we stayed off the front accidentally for two 1-mile laps.

I blew pretty spectacularly and got caught mid-way through lap three, so I integrated and managed to recover enough to survive the next three or four laps. I experimented with gearing on the hill--I can't really climb at all--and found that spinning up in my 39 at 120 rpm allowed me to advance my position if I started the climb in the draft. I was also able to stay away from the rear end of the group and keep the leaders of the pack in sight, which was an improvement over my pack ineptitude on the Fourth.

With three laps to go, I managed to advance to around 20th with Stefan and Jeff close behind. A break of five was up the road, which we had no chance of catching, but I was optimistic about contesting the field sprint and maybe stealing into the top ten. But with two to go, my rear wheel started wobbling all over the place, and a rider behind me shouted that I was flat, so I raised my hand, pulled off, and walked back in time to watch the break sprint for home.

Jas. and Robin R. offered condolences and pulled a huge staple out of my tire. I endured yet another poor result--but I learned that I can finish a hilly crit with this kind of field, so that was a positive improvement. Most importantly, I suffered no back pain-- and my daughter loved riding in the kids race.

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