Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Circuit Race

Before I start my long winded race report. Thank you to the Niklas Group for putting on a great weekend of racing.  I know how much effort goes into holding one event let alone 4.  Great job.

I came into the Circuit Race with apprehension.  Those of you who know me, know that I don’t do crits.  My lamo excuse is that I’m afraid of crashing, which is true but all that speeding up and slowing down over and over again… I mean really!  This was the first Circuit Race and since it’s in my own back yard and it only has two corners, how could I refuse.

After a disappointing road race the previous day, I was not really pumped like I should have been.  My leg had cramped rather drastically on Saturday and my attempt to hydrate and electrolyte myself back to normal lead to an endless pee session all night long.  Having the bladder of a small rodent and fretting about the corners, I slept poorly as I’m sure many do before a race.

The 1st Lap
I figured I would do one lap, see how I felt, then lounge about and hope to get lapped.
The field was full but I was glad not to see the guy in the cotton shirt or the guy with the cross bike from the day before. Not that I’m opposed to guys giving it a whirl, I give them credit for showing up... I’m just sayin’.

I started at the back of the pack and quickly realized that this was not a place I wanted to be.  I know everyone says that you need to be at the front in a crit if you want to be safe. Although this is true, in my experience it’s easier said than done.  I slowly moved up as we neared the first corner.  I was impressed at the gentlemen like approach on the first corner and everyone was slowing and giving adequate space for a nice line through.  Unfortunately, I was not near the front and had to engage every muscle including my colon and small intestine to catch the pack.  Enlightenment #1: stay near the front for safety and leg preservation.  By the time we reached the second corner I had wiggled my way up to the top 10 riders or so and easily hung on the pack.
Lapp 1 was completed.

Lapp 1 had gone better than expected.  I was still full of self-doubt but my legs miraculously didn’t have any spasms and my heart and lungs were enjoying the middle of the pack.  Through the winding road of the south end I found a nice line that allowed me to move up to the front.  Hopefully I was not ticking anyone off in the process but after 3 and one half years of racing, I’m getting pretty adept at moving through the pack…. at least in my mind.  The strategy of moving towards the front prior to the corners was paying off.  The youngens were laying it all out in the front and I was happily cruising in the middle.  Sure, call me a slacker, fair enough.   My trepidation was starting to drain away and I was beginning to enjoy this.  OK, I’ll do one more lap.  The laps following were relatively similar.

The Bell Lap
I managed to weasel my way close to (but not on) the front of the first corner.  The fellows were holding nice lines (other than an incident with an unsuspecting pylon) and my mo-jo level was good.  As we approached the final corner, things were a little more bunched up.  I didn’t get moved up as far as I was hoping and I was boxed in a little too long and ended up near the back of the pack.  A tactical error on my part but that’s how it goes sometimes.


A line opened up the right side of the road.  With 500 meters to go it was perfect timing.  Imagine the angels going “AHHHH!”, the clouds parting, sun shining through.. it was enlightenment #2… sometimes you get lucky if you hang in there.
My lungs and legs had all the guns they needed to really crank it up.  I was ready. A quick check to my right and I was full on the gas.  The tall fellow just ahead of me had the same view and pulled across my bow.  That was ok.  I would let him haul me up to the front.  Life was good.

Then, out of nowhere, he was cut off.  He locked up his brakes so hard his back tire was off the ground at about eye level.  I was just to his left but heading for his rear tire.  I slammed on my brakes.  In an instant, I had the impending vision of me with a lot less skin than I had only few moments ago.  In what seemed forever, his back wheel was off the ground.  My back tire was locked up and I was hard on the front brake. I don’t know who he was but his bike skills were excellent as he landed his bike safely.  There was a great deal of swearing and cussing from this fellow which was probably justified.  He was mad that he was taken out from the sprint.  As for me, I was glad to have my epidermis in one contiguous piece. Enlightenment #3  Shit happens.

It’s rare that I can be in and have the guns for a sprint so getting shut down was disappointing. But I was pretty pleased that I was there and ready to hammer at the end.  I may not have been first for sure, but I was certainly in the game. 



Dan Sigouin said...

Great story. I almost wish that I was there to see it as a racer. I'm hoping to get that race mojo back soon. I have been looking online to see if it comes in a pill form, no luck yet.

Good job Tom and see you on the course this weekend. I will be cheering as loud as I can for you.

cyclingphysio said...

I loved every minute of that story!

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Great report Tom. However to clear up one major point Bob G , and Joel S from Bow Cycle are the brains and brawn behind the Niklas Group Tour De Bowness. If it wasn't for them and the tireless effort of many others related to the Mighty Bow this past weekend would never happen.


Brent said...

Excellent Story Tom, Will we see you wheels down this weekend on the crit?

The Other Brent T

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