For the second year in a row I travelled over to the in-laws for the weekend and raced the River City Bicycle Classic. Last year was the event’s inaugural running and with first year events, you’re never quite sure how they will turn out. Well, it was a proper criterium with a great atmosphere. The whole family had a good time, and though it was a hot day, I won the field sprint for last money spot – not too shabby.
This year the promoter jacked up the purse to $7k for the day so with the good start they had last year, I knew it was an event I had to attend this year. All the things they did well last year were carried forward but this year they added more money, a beer garden, live music, and more spectators. The kids did the children’s “race” and my boy made the local news. Plus, the weather was 15-20 deg cooler so it was much more pleasant for spectating. The grandparents walked the kids around the lake (looking for bears according to my son!) and had fun chasing ducks and bugs.
The 1/2/3 race had a larger and deeper field this year, most notably including hometown fast man Jonathan Jacob (ABG-Bissell-Giant). The Louisville teams showed up Wayne/Clarksville Schwinn/others and of course TX Roadhouse brought a very fast contingent of masters. Fortunately the pro development guys were at Tulsa. Whew.
JJ attacked at the gun and we were off and running. I admit I took a small pull at the front in pursuit of my friend but only to maintain position looking to bridge as I thought it was the move of the day. Maurice (Korte/Bike Surgeon) told me to calm down and not crap myself because I was quite eager to join JJ. (Thanks Mo!) After 15-20 minutes the field reeled in JJ and little attacks and counters ensued. I was involved in a fair number but once a little gap would open nobody wanted to do the work of pulling through to establish a real break. This went on for the next 35 minutes.
JJ went to the front for the last 4 laps to keep the pace up. It seemed the teams with 4-6 guys were unwilling to do the work of keeping the race organized at the front. Perhaps it was inexperience, perhaps lack of fitness. Anyway, TXRH and Clarksville set up leadout trains. I inserted myself into the Clarksville train, which was a mistake. It didn’t really go anywhere. They didn’t put the effort in to get up the road, so I surfed for a bit and sprinted from too far back to take 7th. TXRH took the top 3 spots. It’s kind of a slap in the face.
Oh, and there were at least 4 crashes in the 1 corner that required driving your bike. Turns out some of the guys in our field were unable to manage this one turn at speed without grabbing brake, striking pedals, or otherwise looking like cat 5’s in their first race. It was pretty lame to have to chase back up to a lead group a few times but shame on me for being behind the Team Squirrel p/b Sketchers riders.
This season hasn’t gone too well for me and I wasn’t sure how Saturday would turn out. I’ve eschewed the “rest week” concept this year since my volume has been so low. Well, last week was a forced rest week with my business trip to Dallas for 4 days. Turns out it’s what I needed as I had pretty good legs. Unfortunately, I didn’t play my cards properly, since I would expect a podium with those legs. C’est la vie.
Well, I’ve got one or maybe two more weekends of racing before calling it a year. I think the last time I shut it down this early was my first cat 4 season (yes, I had 2) when I only raced like 6 times! But the baby is coming soon and traveling all over on the weekends for bikes doesn’t really make sense. This fall looks pretty busy on the work front (like crazy crazy busy), so between a new baby and work I doubt I will race CX much but we’ll see. Next up: O’Fallon RR + Crit (State Championship RR)!