|The Rookie Diaries: State Fair Affair 6/15/10|
|Written by Craig Anderson|
A month off from racing and a very poor month of training makes for an interesting criterium.
I need to start this by making a confession. I have been slacking and slacking hard core. I had detailed plans laid out for January, February, March, April and then suddenly I got to May and it all just fell apart. I didn't know what racing and training would look like so I didn't write much of a plan at all. Bad mistake. I followed my regimen faithfully for the first 4 months of the year and reaped the benefits of a well structured training plan. Suddenly two months later I almost feel like I'm back where I started. The good news is there is still some life in my legs and my heart is still beating, so I have hope that I can still make a comeback and salvage the last few weeks before I finish racing for the summer and move to Milwaukee for medical school.
After a little venting, here is my race report. The State Fair Affair presented by Category 6 Racing Team offers a pretty unique venue for some great high paced bike racing. How often do you get a couple blocks of city like streets entirely to yourself to cruise around on? I didn't exactly know what to expect before I got there, but the course last night was a lot of fun...and apparently it changes every week (which I think is great). The course last night was completely flat with good wide roads. The main challenges are the turns and the other racers. The long home stretch isn't in the best shape, so that makes for an interesting aspect as well. More on that later.
I arrived about an hour before my race started to register and warm up. The Cat 1/2/3 field was flying through the turns and it was fun to watch the group as flyers went off the front and were chased back down just like in "real" bike racing. After registering I warmed up a bit and came back to watch the finish of the 1/2/3 race. I had my first experience with "ninja primes" a Category 6 Racing Team specialty where no primes are announced until the lap finishes and the rider who happened to finish the lap first earns the prime. As the 1/2/3's got close to finishing a lead group of 5 or 6 made a clean break and stayed away to the end, so there wasn't much of a group sprint for the finish.
I had noticed after stopping to watch the race that my saddle seemed a little loose. I have been trying to find the right seat and put my old one back on after returning a demo saddle. Bah, I thought, It'll be fine and I can take care of it later.
I rode the course for a couple laps between the race before mine and my race to get a feel for it and lined up to start feeling a little nervous about a month's time away from group riding. Then we were off. For some reason I can't seem to start and stay in the front when the field gets going right off the bat. Unfortunately with all the right angle turns (there were 8 in the 'B'shaped course that we rode last night) it was hard to make forward progress in the group without an all out sprint up the outside of the peloton. So I spent the first 10 minutes of our 30 minute race slowly chewing my way towards the front.
Then it happened. One bump too many and my saddle went from the nice level position that it had started in to a 30 degree angle pointing up into my crotch. Bummer. It distracted me enough that I drifted back a little ways in the pack only to find myself close to the rear again and needing to restart the progress that I had carefully made thus far. I decided there wasn't much I could do about it and just tried to make the best of the situation.
With about 6 laps to go I had the funny sensation that I should try and make a break. You know, that little voice in your head that says "go for it. Why not? What's the worst that could happen?" So turning into the homestretch I made a jump up the outside only to realize that someone was already about 50 yards off the front. I kicked as hard as I could hoping that I could overtake him at the line in case it was a prime lap. Just as I started to close on his back wheel he crossed the
line a bike length ahead of me and the electric guitar rang out in anthem fashion telling me that the rider in front of me had just taken the ninja prime by a bike length. Bummer #2.
I then looked at him hoping he'd be up for a breakaway attempt and said "all right, let's go!" He proceeded to look back at me with a face that said "are you speaking Mongolian? I'm done working here and I think I'm going to drop back to the pack." Bummer #3. All alone and too far from the finish I dropped back to the pack with him after sitting out front all alone for a turn or two.
With that, my noteworthy events ended for the night and I made it through safely with the pack finishing 22 out of 39 finishers.
I stuck around to cheer on Joel, who did a great job of fighting strong to hang with the 3/4 field. Also had some time to chat with one of the Birchwood riders after the race and show off our sweet new IC3 kit.
Overall, it was a really fun night despite the lack of results and I am looking forward to racing there again in two weeks. Hopefully more of you will make it out.
Beth Anne Leasure
We Proceeded On...exploring on two wheels.
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