I drove up to Denver yesterday with Jon for some crit racin’. He raced the 4/5, took 4th, and had some insight on the course. The course used 3 roundabouts as turns, the first was an easy dog-leg but the 2 others were 150 degree turns using most of the roundabout to complete the turn. It was also windy, 15-20mph with gusts well over. I waffled on wheels but decided to go with the 50mm race wheels which turned out to be the right decision. I won the race to the race again (second race in a row where I started on the front row exactly where I wanted to, I’m getting good!) and was planning to patrol the front for the break I expected, but everything went sideways. I could not get around the roundabouts fast enough and soon found myself dangling at the back, getting gapped, and sprinting out of the turns to regain contact. I was working on my line and increasing entry speed but I lacked the confidence to hit the turns fast enough, I realized after about 5 laps that I was not racing and was in it for the workout.
Crash! About half-way through some guy 3 bike lengths ahead of me went down in a turn. He slide straight and his bike went wide. I instinctively went to the outside like I would on the track but that was the wrong way on the road. His bike was sliding into my path and the curb was coming up quickly so I got on the front brake hard enough to lift the rear wheel. I kind of bumped into his bike right as I was coming to a stop, put a foot down, and kept it up! I was granted a lap and jumped back in, I thought the rest would do me good but the official held me until half the pack had gone by so I was doing a full-on Kilo start to get back in.
I finished out the race at the back of the main field, 22nd/34 starters with 10 DNFs. I had great legs to be able to sprint and recover 40-something times but it didn’t mean much during the race, other than keeping me from going off the back. I know where I went wrong, I need more confidence in those abnormal corners. The funny thing is that I am 100 times better than I was last year, some day, I tell you, some day.
It was not a loss from a workout standpoint, I’m pretty sure I haven’t ridden that hard since I raced my first 1/2/3 Points race back in Aug, ’10. Gila is 6 weeks away so some hard racing is good for me.