Saturday, July 9, 2011

Citerium Detroit City

Well first thing is, at least I didn't crash.... But we will cover this in a minute. With my mountain bike season, training, etc. coming to crawl with not much on tap for the next month other than start ramping up for CX, I decided to throw my name in the hat a venture into some road racing. And what better way to do it than to do the First Annual Cirterium Detroit City! What a great place for this style of racing. Located on the twisty block of the Opera House just behind Comerica Park. The course was short but it had plenty of corners and none of them were the same. The one thing that could use some improvement was the many many wheel destroying pot holes located at random. But hey, this is Detroit. Overall, the venue and the style of racing was top notch. You may see me pop in a few more in the future. And I think I will be back for this one for sure if they continue to have it.

As for the race itself, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had to do the Cat 5 race because I don't hold a road licence, or have any road races under my belt for an upgrade. But not a problem. I got to start somewhere. So I put my wheel on the line with 27 other "Cat 5's" (I am curious what the criteria is to be a Cat 5) and we were off. Since the race was going to be under 30 mins, the pace was quick right from the start. It instantly strung out on the first lap. Soon after, it came together for a bit, and then it was a battle to make sure people would hold their line. I got a little frustrated with this, and about 10 mins into the race decided to make a break to open things up a bit. I went hard for about 1 lap and paid for it. I was soon caught, but my plan worked and the pace stayed high from here on out. Another break went off, and this time I was in the field to chase them down. We worked together and got them back. I continued to stay up near the front to avoid any crashes. Everything was fine, until the last 2-3 laps. One rider went down hard on the right side of the course in a tricky section of corners. Luckily I was on the other side, and no one else went down. This did however cause several riders to get nervous and panic for the rest of the race. With 2 laps to go, the pace was getting quicker. I was sitting in the top 10 waiting to make a move if I could. In the final lap, things were strung out again, and others were trying to move to the front. I was in an OK position, but should have been closer to the front. Lesson learned. As I rounded the last corner getting ready to cue up for the sprint. I got boxed out by the guy on the inside of me, and I guess he needed to use his brakes. This pushed me toward the back of the top 10 pack. I shifted into a few more bigger gears but I was on the outside of the road and racers on the inside were already going into their sprint. I stood up and started to give it all I had. I was making ground on some and getting pulled back by others. With about 75 yards to go, There was a spectacular crash just ahead of me with the top 3-5 guys which also took out the race officials standing on the side of the road! WOW! As Soon as I saw this I backed off my sprint to avoid being part of the carnage. I ended up 12th out of 27. Not too bad I guess for a dirty mountain bike/CX racer... In the end, I was surprised that a Cat 5 group would avg. 24.2 mph! really? Are these actually Cat 5 dudes? I guess I really have no reference to go by. But I do know how I will do things different if I line up again for a Crit...

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