Monday, April 16, 2007

Oxbow podium!

After getting pulled from every crit I did last year, and dropped hard from every road race, I started out with a decent result for the first race of the year. The Oxbow road race was a good segue from cyclocross to road racing, with a hill that some racers treated as a run-up, mostly gravel roads and potholes, and most people riding cyclocross or mountain bikes. After pre-riding last week and doing a pre-race ride on Friday to get the legs used to doing their job, I decided that weight would be a factor if I really wanted to compete and went with the cyclocross bike after all. I stole the wide road tires from the Surly and ran them at only 100psi and tried to stay out of the wind by riding in the drops. It wasn't a comfortable ride, but then again it was only 17 miles. My secret goal for the race was to take stab at the prime, which was the first person over the incredibly steep but short Oxenburg hill. To do that it was crucial that I be warmed up since we hit the hill only a couple miles into the first lap. I got there early enough to get a good warm up in and hit the hill twice. I stayed near the front rolling up to the hill, and waited for someone to make a move, and when he did I gave it everything.
__One thing I've learned about racing - if you're going to make a move, do it like you mean it and don't mess around. If you do it right, you'll get a gap before anyone knows what's up, and then you just have to maintain it. If you do it half-@ss3d, then someone will just grab on your wheel. This was my plan, and it worked for the race, and for the only other race in MN that I've done well at, which was my first crit ever at Dakota Tech. I don't count it really, because even though it was my first crit I was racing with beginners. But in each case, I just gave it everything I had and didn't mess around.
__Going up the Ox some spectators were yelling at me that I had a minute on the field! I was ecstatic, because I was riding like the whole field was breathing down my neck, which is what I would have expected with a prime on the line (okay, just a pound of Peace Coffee, but still d@mn good coffee plus bragging rights!). After the prime, I sat up and waited for the field to catch up so I could get a break from the wind. It took a while, but a group came up and we worked together to hold off the field. Eventually they dropped me, but could have come in last at that point and been happy. When I finally came across the line, teammate Steve said that I was third (he crashed out of the B race with some respectable road rash)! This was every bit as surprising since it seemed like a bigger group that I got dropped from, but one of them was an amazing single speeder, who was in a separate race. So, a prime and a podium for the first race of the season! I'm already being called a sandbagger, but given my results (or lack thereof) from last year, I'm going to take that as a compliment! On the off chance that I should ever do this again, I'll be proud to upgrade once I get enough points, and be able to help my teammates in the Cat4 races. Thanks Sascha for the picture, and congrats to the Birchwood men for dominating the B race!