Sunday, May 02, 2010

La Crosse crit race report

Did the La Crosse criterium today. Bit of a long drive, but it turned out to be worth it in the end. The drive down took me through some really scenic areas in southeast Minnesota. Makes me want to try out the trail they have down there! Couldn't get any teammates to make the drive though. From what I heard about the road race yesterday, people would have been too tired anyway!

Arrived in time to register, do a lap and get a warm up on the trainer, if abbreviated. Need to budget in more time for all the little things that need to get done before a race! The course's start/finish is along the waterfront park, very nice! Registration was smooth. The course is four corners, flat and mostly wide. Turn four seemed like it should be the most trouble, with a pothole and a recessed manhole cover both on the inside corner, but turn one caused the most trouble for the earlier races, as the road narrows and people get pushed to the outside curb. An ambulance took away someone in the 4/5 race before mine. Glad I can race the Masters' 4/5!

With that warning, I made it my mission to stay at the front. In the end, I was at or near the front of the peloton for practically the whole race. Good exposure for Birchwood Cafe! Unfortunately I couldn't keep up with the break, who ended up lapping the field. In retrospect, I probably could have, but I didn't think they'd stay away. There were two Brone's guys, a Flanders guy and I think two others in it. Three other Brone's guys patrolled the front of the main group. Some serious tactics for a 4/5 race! There was even some questionable blocking and swinging wide that caused some words to be exchanged. Nothing happened in the end though, and it was pretty moot since we ended up being lapped about 2/3 in to the race. No one was going to risk anything for 6th place.

A good race; I felt good, and I'm pleased with how the fitness is coming around, and pleased that body and bike are safe. Pleased also with the tire upgrade; I finally got some "real" Vittoria open tubular race tires, and they stuck to the corners like glue and provided a lot of confidence; they also took a direct hit over that manhole cover just fine.

The women's open race was after ours, so I stuck around to watch Linda Sone ride away from the field on the last lap. There was some good money on the line, so even if Dan doesn't clean up, they have gas and coffee money! More women should have shown up though; there were only like 12 in the open race and it paid $400 8 deep!