Random Cycling Quote

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rutgers/Princeton Race Report

Yesterday was the Time Trial at Rutgers and the Criterium at Princeton. I was aiming to do 7 minutes for the 2.7 miles in the time trial, and ended up doing 7:23. This course was similar to Rutgers TT two years ago, and I did almost 9 minutes, so I definitely did improve my speed/sprinting. However, so did everyone else in my field since last year, and I got 91st out of 122 in Men's D. I based teh 7 minutes goal off of the results from last year's race, and that didn't work out for me. However, I still consider this a great time for me and I think I did pretty well.

We then headed towards Princeton for the criterium after we all raced the TT. The usual 4 corners with a power climb. A power climb it WAS! I completely bombed on this course and got 51st out of 52 for Men's D Division-2. And as I've said in the past, brakes should be illegal in criteriums, just like on the track. There were 4 or 5 crashes that I know of, all after a turn and involved someone hitting their brakes too hard from what I've been told. And, I almost rear-ended one kid who slammed on his brakes for no apparent reason! No one was in front of him or to the left of him, and he took the inside of the turn as I was following him. I yelled at him to not use his brakes as hard next time. When I was pretty much by myself or with another rider or two for the last 4 or 5 laps I did (got dropped because I was going to get lapped), I hardly used the brakes on all the corners, and on the first, third and forth corner I would go through around 20-25 mph.

This morning we left at about 5:30 bright and early for the Rutgers Circuit Race. I forgot about Daylight Savings Time today and woke up at 5:10 when I set my alarm for 4:10 last night, and I get a friendly call from Kim at 5:25, thinking it was 4:25, asking if I was coming or not. Luckily my cycling bag was still packed from last night and so I just grabbed that and my food bag and went outside to see Kim and Taylor waiting for me in Kim's car just outside my dorm. I only forgot my sunglasses but I was fine without it today.

We get to the course, first to show up so we were really confused if we were in the right place or not. We were, and people started showing up about 5 or 10 minutes after we parked. I rode the course once with Taylor, and then got on the trainer. I wasn't feeling good this morning and could not eat anything solid, so I went to race on a near-empty stomach, even though I tried forcing
food down. I was able to get half a muffin and half a banana down, but that was it, nothing else was going down.

"GO" was yelled and I went off the front. I lead the course through the first turn, looked back and saw I was a little too far, so I slowed down a little and got into the field. Ended up being 3rd and 4th wheel which I was happy. I was feeling really good and had no problems for the first half of the first lap. Then, about halfway through someone attacked off the front and I went to chase.

Realizing it was too early, I backed off and went back to 3rd or 4th wheel, at which point everyone started chasing. A few broke off and caught him, while the field just became a big pack that I was in the middle of. Still feeling good though, and thought I was going to make something happen soon.

We crossed the start/finish line after the first lap and when coming around the first turn, I saw people slamming on their brakes, sliding their rear wheel, and when I got a clear look, there was a 3 or 4 bike crash in front if me, I barely got through going between two bikes and a person on the road. Those that got by quicker sprinted right away to take advantage of the situation, and since I slowed down to go by the bikes on the road, I needed to sprint harder to keep up. Couldn't do so, and the field broke up rather quickly.

After the second turn, I believe still on the second lap, I hit a huge bump in the road and my cyclo-computer broke off and my water bottle fell out of the cage... I went the whole 30 minutes without water, the dehydration definitely kicked in halfway through which slowed me down significantly.

After that, I tried chasing these two that were in front of me, but couldn't and saw a pack behind me, so I slowed down for them to catch up to me. Rode with them for a little, and on the second-to-last lap I did a chase for those two that I saw were slowing down. No one from the group I was in followed me so I was on my own, eventually wasting my energy and having to go back to the group of 6 or 7 of us. On the last lap me and someone else then did a chase for these two and caught them half way though the lap. Then the rest of the previous group caught up and it became a sprint for the finish. I beat out 2 or 3 of the guys I was "racing" with, while several were off the front already beating us.

Overall, I think I did well considering my circumstances. If I had my water and drank from it, I could have done a lot better. I ended up placing 42nd out of 52. A definite improvement from the criterium yesterday, but still have a lot of work ahead of me for this season.

Overall, this weekend was great; for me, for both my teammates, and the team in general. I hope we all keep doing this and improving for the rest of the season, and despite being a 3-person team, I think we can rank high at the end of the season.

No comments: