Monday, June 6, 2016

2016 Ballard Criterium - Crashed with 2 to go

Well I am sure you can guess from the title that my race this weekend did not go as planned.  I ended up hugging a tree, just as I bridged and with 2 laps to go.

Crashing, sucks period.  Yes I was frustrated and unhappy, no it was not intentional, the guy apologized and yes it could have been a lot worse, for which I am truly grateful.  I got off lightly with scrapes and bruised ribs.  My rear wheel was not so fortunate, did I mention it was an expensive weekend, but here again it could have been worse.

Video Links - Crash (my camera) - Full race (my camera) - Scott Stout posted this view (crash at 34:45)

That's the summary, here is the full account.

The plan was to rack up 75 minutes of racing by competing in both the Cat 4 men immediately followed by the masters 1,2,3,4 35+, talk about a deep field.  The races were back to back, not ideal but doable.  With my chances of a good finish most likely in the first race the game plan was to race hard in the first race and ride in the pack in the second race.

The sun was shining as we parked the car and broke out the trainer.  As it was my first criterium of the year I used my Cyclocross warmup then jumped on the course for a couple of orientation laps.
It was a four corner short lap circuit with a slight uphill grade into the finish then slightly down hill for the rest of the course.

The race started fast with lots of attacks right out the gate.  I found myself having to mark and chase down attacks which was not ideal for conserving energy.  I had two attempts at breaking away both of which failed and although I had expended a lot of energy I was feeling confident.  I could not believe it when I saw with 7 laps to go the pack had allowed another rider to get free and I found myself digging deep to help real him in.  It is worth pointing out, that on reflection my lack of recent racing experience led me to work harder than needed, with a little more patience I would not have had to do so much chasing.  On the upside it was a good training effort.

As I bridged the final few meters to the break I eased off the gas as I did not want to find myself on the front with 1 lap to go, I was tired but I felt confident that I could put in a strong finish.  I needed to rolled back into 4th or 5th to recover for a final big push.  I was in 2nd and everything was going to plan when I was surpised by a rider on my right who then cut across me as a rider hit my left side and drove me into a tree going down with me.  Fortunately I was not going at full speed and was able to hit the brakes.  The impact rattled my cage good and after my emotions had exploded out of me verbally, you know something like "goodness gracious that hurt, how unfortunate you dro
ve me into a tree" all condensed into one word ending in "K",  I was helped to my feet. My thoughts turned to my bike and the next race.  Sure I was bruised and scraped but I was up and I wanted to make the start line.

Sarah handed me the keys to the car and I started to head back to get wheels when I was directed to the FSA neutral support.  The guys switched out both wheels, straightened my bars and brake.  The officials delayed the race by 5 minutes and I made the start line.

From there everything went south, I failed to clip in and had to scrabble to find a wheel, I was able to move up but then found myself going backwards rapidly,  I just could not meet the accelerations to hold a wheel and by lap 2 I was out the back and by lap 4 pulled of the course.  I simply had nothing left in the tank and was more than a little disappointed with myself.  I took consolation in riding an aggressive first race and taking one preme.  The second race highlighted the work I need to do in the coming months.

On the way home we were excited to see on Facebook our friend Dawn had successfully completed the flying wheels century and was looking good.  We thought they might still be at the finish so we called and instead received a surprise invite for dinner, which was awesome, even more so as they are now paleo and we did not have to explain what we can and can't eat.  Great company always makes a day better.  When you max life out it does not always go to plan but it is always epic.

Hope you had a great weekend keeping it Rubber Side a Down and MaxLifeOut.

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