Men's D Criterium
I made it through the TTT and my legs hadn't exploded so I decided to go for the crit that some afternoon.
The height of my arrogance amazes me. I was 4 weeks out of surgery, I had been walking for 3 weeks and only training for 3 days. I had a vicious hacking cough and had never done a cycling race aside from triathlons and the TTT 6 hours ago.
Still, I wanted to win. I felt I could win. I wanted to score points for the team.
Despite being a newbie I knew that running tactics and cycling tactics were completely different. I talk to Eaon before the race to get an idea of what was about to happen. He did a great job of getting me ready, explaining the tactics and the scenarios to watch for. One thing he said really boiled down the situation:And I think that's very true. Unless you either catch a lucky break and have a good team to back you up or simply outclass your competition you aren't going to have the kind of winning margins you see in running. You certainly won't see the same spread.
The race itself is a blur in my memory. I know it was fast and close the whole way. I spent almost the whole race in the front. I never tried for a break but I made sure to push the pace back up whenever things started lagging.
I was totally focused on the race and missed all the prime laps. I got confused as to what lap we were on and I so I waited for the field to start sprinting before beginning my sprint. The problem with that is I have no fast-twitch muscles. I can't go as fast as most people but I can hold a slightly slower pace for much longer than most people - so my finish tends to start before everyone else's in an effort to start breaking people early. So, yeah - that didn't happen. I got something like 7th place out of 40.
It was sick fun though.
When I was done I went into a spastic coughing fit just as I did during the TTT. My arms were shaking and I could hardly speak. I would have a headache for the rest of the day.
Again, people asked me what I thought of my first crit,
"Easier than I expected"
That night we had a team meeting where everyone gets to share their experiences from the day's races. Sparky was talking about the D's crit and pointed to me and said,
"Alex, come on people, lets have a round of applause for Alex"
I couldn't have been prouder. I was grinning like an idiot. I would have
traded my medal in a minute for that moment.