2012 Dillworth Criterium

Originally Posted 4/14/2012

The 2012 Dillworth Criterium was my first road race of the year.   Dillworth isn’t one of my favorite courses.  I find it to be a challenging course with a long, steady climb on the front stretch, plus it’s usually the my first road race of the year so my body isn’t used to the effort required in a criterium.

My race started at 2.  I arrived a little early to catch the end of the Cat 4/5 race to see my friend Mike Levine finish up.  After that, I rode my bike around for about 20 minutes to get the legs going. 

I’m always amazed at the intensity of the riders before a criterium race.  While waiting for the start, I was talking to a friend and there was a space in front of me for a rider to get into.  But didn’t think much of it.  Of course someone just had to have the spot like it was going to matter in a 50 minute criterium.

The race started off and was fairly uneventful until the ‘big’ turn at the bottom of the course.  It’s a hard left hand turn that is more than 90 degrees so if you aren’t up front, you really have to slam on the brakes because so few riders are willing to roll the corner, not to mention there is a manhole cover right at the apex of the corner that you have to maneuver around.  This is where the race always gets hard because if you aren’t one of the top 5 or 6 guys, it becomes a major effort to stay with the main group.  It’s almost a sprint every time you exit the corner.

So we made it about 5 minutes into the race when I almost was taken out.  Going down the backstretch at about 25 mph, a guy tried to sprint to the front in the gutter.  I thought I was done when he clipped the handlebars of the guy in front of me and he went down.  Thankfully, I didn’t panic too much and our momentum (we were doing 25mph) kept the guy crashing in front of me moving forward and I was able to get around the crashing rider without loosing too much speed.  It kills me that guys are willing to take such risks, especially so early in a race.  I mean, we only had 45 minutes to go….

After that, I pretty much rode in the top 20 or so riders for the remainder of the criterium.  I made it through the corner most of the time in pretty good shape.  But I was working hard.  After 20 minutes, I felt my calves start cramping exiting the turn and starting the climb.  About 40 minutes into the race,  I had a major cramp in my right calf.  I managed to get to the flatter portion of the climb and was able to stretch my calf enough that I could keep riding.  I kind of thought my race might be over my calf cramped so bad.  But thankfully I was able to stretch it out over the course of the next two laps and finish the race.

I never made it to the front of the race, but rode with the main group to the finish.  We started with close to 60 riders and had about half that at the end of the race.  I finished 17th and was/am happy with my finish, especially considering it was my first crit of the year and I’m not a great fan of the Dillworth course.

Here are the ‘Particulars’:

Avg. Speed:  25.1mph

Avg. Heart Rade:  164bpm

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