Originally posted 4/17/2011
Sunday morning started much like Saturday, early. Neal and I left the house right at 5:30AM to get to the criterium course held in Hampton Park next to the Citadel in Charleston, SC. We stopped, got coffee and headed down I17. There was a full moon and it seemed like we were going to drive right up to. One of the coolest moon sets I’ve seen.
We managed to get the Start/Finish Truss and stage set up in record time. The SC Criterium Championship is held on a flat course with two real turns. It’s a super fast 1 mile course.
Today I was racing the 35+ Masters bike race because it was much earlier than the Cat 3/4 criterium. Tracy and I wanted to do some site seeing so this made sense. I was kind of nervous about this race as I also struggled in this race last year.
I managed to get a good start and hung around the top 10-15 for most of the race. Gary Moore (Giordana-Clif-Bar-Brica) was riding strong. He was in the top 5 for the first 10 minutes of the race. Because this course isn’t challenging with turns or hills, the group stays together for most of the race.
The POA team from South Carolina took control of the race about 15 minutes in and started sending riders off the front. The main group would real in the attack and the next POA team member took off. It was fun. We never seemed to slow down and were constantly surging.
I was feeling good again today. I stayed near the front, did my best to not hit the brakes in the corners and stay out of trouble. With about 5 laps to go, a group of 6 riders managed to get off the front. I kind of figured this group would get away so I decided to see if I could catch them. I accelerated off the front after turn one and managed to catch the break. Unfortunately, as soon as I did, guys started blowing up. I weaved between two guys and asked everyone to take short pulls. I think we could have stayed away if we worked together. The guys in the break started looking at each other and we ended up getting caught by the main group.
There were still two guys off the front. I got back in the group to recover and with two to go, I made another move to at least string it out and keep it safe (ie on the front). I made it about halfway down the backstretch and pulled over but no one came through. So I kept going. I made it around to the front stretch before pulling off the front with one lap to go. I jumped into the main group and suffered all the way around. I finished 27th, but had a great time. Once again, I wasn’t just pack fodder and stuck my nose in the wind and raced a little.
I do wonder if I could have raced smarter and just sat in the group, I could have a good or better result. But, for me, finishing 10th is the same as finishing 27th and I don’t have to get mixed up in the crazy sprints. But I will give it a try at some point this season, just sit in and see if I can be in the top 10 at the finish and give a sprint a shot.
We averaged 26.5 mph for 50 minutes, exactly the same as last year. At least this year felt much easier.
I took the ferry to Fort Sumter, walked around for an hour. If you get a chance to go, I recommend it. Fort Sumter took 30 years to build and we (I say we because Americans) knocked it down to rubble during the Civil War. Spend some time in the Museum because it’s full of interesting historical information about the Civil War. After that, I walked around downtown. Then met Neal and Leah for dinner, had some drinks and pizza. Played some Eucker and then called it a day. I woke up early AGAIN and headed home. I was at work by 11:30 and felt like I had been gone for a week!
Another Great Weekend of fun criterium bike racing!