April 15, 2012 was the inaugural NODA Criterium held in NODA (North Davidson) in Charlotte, NC. Since I had raced the Dillworth Criterium the day before, I slept in and did somethings around the house before heading down to NODA.
I arrived about 45 minutes before my race, got dressed and found Mike Levine of Mills-Levine. We warmed up for about 20 minutes. MIke had raced the 4/5 race and was going to race the 3/4 race. This would be our first chance to race together. The course in NODA is super fun. It has 6 turns and is a fast course with a long uphill drag on the back of the course.
I ended up with a pretty bad start position. I was about 4 rows back from the front and we had 88 people in the race. Mike was on the first row. I knew that if I didn’t make it to the front pretty quickly, it would be tough going as the field was going to be strung out with all the turns on the course.
The race started and I started moving up. It’s always surprising how far you can move up on the start if you can clip in quickly. I settled in for the first lap and on the 2nd lap started moving up in the corners. The riders were ‘checking up’ going into the corners so I just let my bike roll through. I was picking up 6 or 7 spots in every corner. By lap three, I caught Mike who was riding in about 15th place. I moved in front of Mike thinking we’d ride together for the rest of the race.
The pace was pretty hot and i was hurting going up the backstretch. I looked back a few laps later to see if Mike was still there and didn’t see him. A few laps later, I saw him waving to me in ‘street clothes’. So much for racing together. His previous race killed his legs.
The race was fast and mostly safe. Not too much wheel crossing or guys causing problems. With about 5 laps to go, I went to the front and brought a small break back. It probably wasn’t a good move as I couldn’t recover. I ended up moving to the back of what was left of the group. I wanted to move up on the last lap, but was cooked. I set in and finished with the main group of 16. There was a break of 4 that got away so I finished 20th. This race hurt, but the first race weekend of every season always hurts.