Holy crap I finally had a good race!
Last Sunday was the 5th straight day where the only things I had did were, eat, work, shower, ride/race, work on my bike, drive and sleep. So even after sleeping 12 hours after the Church Creek ITT on Saturday I woke up pretty tired. Still I loaded my stuff up and headed to the Cargas Criterium for the Cat4/5 race on a beautiful sunny day.
I got there plenty early and despite my poor season thus far I was feeling confident as I warmed up on my trainer. My legs didn't seem to be feeling yesterday's ITT (I'm still not used to the idea that you can do multiple races in a row in cycling unlike in running). The course was around a business park, nice wide roads, only two 90 degree turns and 150m climb to the start/finish line.
I couldn't have designed a better course for me at the time. The race went great. We averaged just under 25 mph for the 20 mile race (20 X 1 mile loops) and I felt comfortable most of the race. I sent time up at the front and just felt like I knew what I was doing. My cornering was probably the best it's ever been. I went into the corners feeling like was seeing 180 degrees in front of me. I started watching the turn from the moment the first riders went through and by the time I got there I knew the lines that the people around me and I had to take. I still have more of a preference for the outside of turns then is unnecessary so that's on this to add to the 'to do' list to work on.
One of my highlights from the race, and from my cycling career in general is an attack I launched on a prime lap with about 11 laps to go. I was sitting half-way back on the right side of the pelaton which was on the left side of the street. I veered into the right gutter so no one was on me and just hammered from about 800m out from the start/finish. It was into the wind and way too early. I was caught at the base of the hill and ended up being the last one over the line. Actually, I had to take a few laps at the back to recover - BUT IT WAS SO MUCH FUN TO FINALLY ATTACK.
On the penultimate lap I also pushed a little to hard for position and ended up falling to the back so that I came around the last turn on the last lap in about 40th place. But the 150m were up hill so I managed to crank it HARD, dodging a nasty crash and taking 15th (72 started and 45 finished). My best finish in a 4/5 race and my best finish this year.
I think I can do this...