Monday, September 13, 2010

Turkey Day - Race report Cat 4 men

As no one has pre-registered for the Cat 3 women race, I spontaneously decided to finish the road season with a Cat 4 men crit. I knew at least one racer in that field, which made me feel a little more comfortable.

I had no clue if I could keep up with the pace so I decided to set my goal to complete 2 laps without getting pulled. It had been raining the entire day and when our race started at 3:35pm it was still slightly raining on us. 28 racers or so signed up. We were four NCVC guys. The course was flat and basically a circle, no real corners.

At the starting line, I positioned myself at the front, 3rd row. The whistle was blown and the race started – slow though, which was unexpected. I was very concentrated on staying on a wheel, not getting thrown around and watching out for the potholes so I didn’t really see what happened in the front.

Apparently nothing much because all attempted breakaways were caught. While people in the front were arguing about who is setting the pace and who is chasing down whom, I had to get used to the closeness to other riders, especially since there was a lot of lateral movement going on.

For some reason, I got boxed in a lot and lost the battle most times so I had to slow down to get out of the sandwich. I tried to stay on the outside but that was not always possible.

Nothing much was going on during the race. Maybe there was but I was definitely not part of it so the bell for the last lap rang and I tried to position myself in the front. The pace in the first half was extremely slow (if I remember correctly) and we sped up at the second part. I worked myself more towards the front. 200m were left and I sprinted seated and finished 8th.

It was an interesting experience. Men’s racing demands a lot more concentration than women’s racing and everyone’s personal space is drastically limited. Sweat, odor, and handlebars are treated as public commodity.

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