Friday, July 22, 2011

Ironclad Crit

 So sorry for this taking so long to get up on the blog. I've had a busy last couple of days. Our two oldest boys turned 16 and in turn got their licence's the same day. I know, RUN!!!!!!!!!!!! Head for the hills! And make sure to put on a helmet! But in all seriousness they did great, are very good drivers and make their Mom and I very proud. Good job guys! And now, on with the show...

So the Ironclad crit was this last weekend. A couple things stick out to me about this race.

First, that in only the second year of it's existence this race has jumped in popularity probably three fold.  My race had almost 60 starters (A good chunk were pulled and not counted before the race was done.) in it. Considering the tight course it made for a very "interesting" start. I knew I was in trouble when I looked at the two guys in front of me at the start and the both were in the little ring up front and about 3/4 the way up the cassette in the back.

As soon as the whistle went off I was dodging guys fumbling with their cleats and busily shifting gears. I was expecting a fast start but I was in for a rood awakening. There were a hand full of guys at the front that were putting the hammer down! I was gnawing on the stem for a good lap and a half just trying to latch on to the back of that front group.

I'm really glad I did. Because with in about six laps we were already passing riders. Our average speed at the end didn't really show it (23 mph) but on both longer straight aways I was seeing very consistent  28-30 mph speeds.

There was only one crash in the race which happened around lap 10-12. A pour guy on the outside of turn two lost control (Clipped pedal I think.) and hit the outside curb. He seemed to get up pretty quick so hopefully he was alright.

Lana and a couple teammates keeping us safe on corner #2.

One thing I was really happy about this race was that I felt a lot more comfortable. I pretty much got into the groove straight away and staid there. Thank God. I really didn't want to continue getting over nerves (Well, more than usual anyway.) before each and every race.

So we continued round and round at a pretty high pace. That caused very little attacking. Which quite frankly is very unusual in a 4/5 race. Most upper category races are defined by people looking at someone else doing the work. Everyone acting like they're allergic to the wind and generally hiding out unless someone tries to make a break. Then it's game on! until they're caught. After which it goes back to everyone staring at each other. Rinse and repeat...  But because of the high pace no one was feeling that frisky.

The only time that wasn't true was on prime laps. But even then there was only a 100 yard (From the final corner.) dash and then it went right back to the high pace.

I had a difficult time staying towards the front. Because of the large field and narrow corners (They had these planter beds that were curbed and jutted out into the corners on both sides.) that made moving up even a few places really tough. At one point I was somewhere between 5-10th wheel but lost it in a sketchy moment (In a 4/5 race!? I know, weird!). Then spent the remainder of the race trying to regain what I had lost.

To be totally honest I was never really at the pointy end of the race. But I ended up a respectable (For this race anyway.) 17th. Meh. I'll take it. I'm usually not a fan of mediocrity. But I'll take feeling more comfortable in the pack and still being able to pass some people in a supper tight finish as a good sign of things to come.

No racing this weekend. I'll go down to the Twilight crit with the boy's next Tuesday though. That should be a fun time. And then I have a double header the following weekend with the Gresham Crit and the Vancouver Crit. They're coming thick and fast now! Next thing you know our not-a-summer will be over and I shall be bending all your ears with talk of cyclocross.

Good times.

Rubber side down,

Big E

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