2012 I’on Village Criterium Charleston SC

Originally posted 4/21/2012

I headed down to Charleston, SC for the 2012 I’on Village Criterium and the SC State Championship Criterium the following day.  I’ve made this trip the last 3 years with Neal Boyd and several of the Clif-Bar Giordana Brica team members.  We went down Thursday night, woke up early Friday and went Kayak Fishing with Neal, Leah and Shirlene.  Good times.

It’s always a fun trip and the course at I’on Village is a lot of fun.  I wake up, help Neal set up the crit course and then hang out until my race.  I did the Cat 2/3 race and it didn’t start until 1:50.  So I went back to the house and did a 20 mile ride on the Isle of Palms and Sullivan island with Shirlene, Alison and Leah.  It was a perfect warm up for my race.

I left the house at around 12:50, got to the course, pinned my number, rode around for about 10 minutes and was ready to start the race.  I have to admit, I was thinking that a 2/3 race should be pretty safe.  As usual in bike racing, don’t expect anything to go as planned.  This was one of the sketchiest races I’ve done in a while.

The course is very fast with a couple tight corners and the straights aren’t straight.  As a racer, you have to be aware of the course and how it’s laid out.  We weren’t 5 laps into the race when two riders tangled in front of me because they didn’t pay attention to the curve of the road.  One guy went straight, the other guy was on the curb and couldn’t move.  Sure enough, 6 or 7 guys go down, including my friend Austin.  I was lucky and much like in the Dillworth Crit, was able to miss the guy crashing in front of me.  It seems like guys get so focused on the guy in front of them, they forget to pay attention to their surroundings.

There must have been a lot of crashes because it seemed like every 3rd or 4th lap, someone was exiting the free pit area which led to almost another crash.  We were coming around the course and I was in about 15th place.  The racer in front of me was a junior and his teammate was exiting the pit.  He came out kind of hard and the junior in front of me slammed on his brakes instead of just riding around his his teammate causing a huge gap.  I was pretty frustrated and probably said some things I shouldn’t have to the junior racer. 

Anyways, i ended up on the front and had to chase the group down.  I was hoping that I had created my own gap and we’d have a little breakaway.  Unfortunately, I brought the whole group back up.  Dang.  The rest of the race was just trying to stay safe.  I was shocked at how many riders were making hard moves in the group or not holding their lines entering the turns.  This is probably what caused several of the crashes and should not be happening in a 2/3 race.

I have to admit that I was frustrated in the race.  Guys were hitting their brakes way too much, even on sections that we should have been rolling through.  This makes racing much harder.

With about 5 to go I ended up on the back of the pack and had decided to just ride it in. Well, on the last lap, I felt good and moved up some spaces at the end of the front stretch.  Moved up some more on the back stretch.  And finally ended up 13th at the finish. 

I’m real happy with this race.  It’s the first race of the year where I felt good.  Was able to put some hard digs in and recover.  I’m looking forward to some more races to finally get into race shape.

I didn’t race on Sunday.  The weather in Charleston was horrible.  I did help Neal set up and went back to the house.  I went for another ride and found a great neighbor hood at Shem’s Creek.  There is so much Character in Charleston.  I spoke to Neal and he said it was a good thing I missed the 3 race.  It was run in a downpour and had a bunch of crashes.  So I made the right call.  Had a great ride, a great lunch at Taco Boy in Charleston and then headed home.  As always, a great weekend and already looking forward to next year.

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