I know. It’s been a while. But this afternoon, I raced in the East Atlanta Village crit (officially known as the Litespeed BMW Twilight Criterium) and it was fun.
I’m still in lousy shape, and I’ve had a lot of other things on my mind in the past few weeks, but I got lucky: the course was super short– something like 0.6 miles– and the pavement– especially at the turns– had some significant cracks. This meant that no one could accelerate too quickly, or for too long, without having to slow down shortly thereafter. And for me personally, since I’m a much better technical rider than I am– how do you say– in shape, it meant that I could make up most of the time that I’d lost on whatever short accelerations had taken place just by moving efficiently through the next turn.
It was a combined 3/4 race, and while there was a 3-person breakaway in one of the first few laps that managed to hold off the rest of the group through the finish, I stuck with the main group for nearly 2/3rds of the race. I got unlucky while following the wrong person up the (very short) uphill segment one time, and lost contact with the main group, but had that not happened, I feel like I could have stuck with the pack maybe to the end.
After I got dropped, I pedaled hard for a while, still hoping to catch up to the group. I was leading a group of about six riders, and no one else seemed to want to work. So when I reminded myself that I was racing for overall placement, not time, I slowed down so that I could think about how to position myself for what would likely be a mini-sprint for the finish.
I’m not a sprinter on a good day, and it’s the first thing to go when I haven’t been training, so I decided that the only move I could make was on the final descent, and around the last corner. The final lap came, I shifted into my top gear, and I was able to pull away from the group I was in. One person from the group hung onto my wheel, and sprinted around me at the finish. But I still ended up protecting my position to the extent of my abilities, so I was pretty pleased.
Racing again tomorrow. Will try to update.