je ne sais quoi

Friday, May 01, 2009

Mark It, Dude

Hey Hey.

Took a little road trip down to south county this weekend. OC county. On the way down, I said "if there are no catastrophic crashes or mechanical mishaps, I should finish in the top 20." 20, you see, is the magic number for non-pro local scenesters like myself in NRC criteriums. Finishing inside 20th place gets you a piece of that NRC-mandated massive prize list. Finish outside it, and you've wasted a $50 entry for nothing...and on that note, I can't believe the time I broke my frame with 200m to go and still finished 17th at Manhattan Beach '05.

Check me out! Blue links and everything. This blog is going places, looks like. So. Dana Point. I did it last year and had a blast. It was the first race where I found some good legs and got the bike dialed in. This year's been very different. Every time I've pinned a number, the legs have been great. I didn't feel too well in the first race of the year, but squeezed out a top 20 just following wheels. Then the car smashed me up, and I think I actually lost weight during that 3 week vaccance. Got destroyed and demotivated by Lance that one day out, and now the good legs are back. Fun stuff.

Dana Point:

Big Purse, Big Field. And not the typical "2nd race for $10 extra" masters pack fill big field, either. Kelly Benefits came out. Bahati had a couple teammates. Floyd Landis and a couple of his guys (who aren't really crit riders), and the Colavita guys in force as well. The "team from the west side with a bottomless budget" fielded a ton of guys, perhaps 10? I was happy to find out that Waylon from my team is a cat 1. Swelllll. Cat 1 and pro-class mtb downhiller. Quite the combo. I sneaked up to the second line behind the call ups. It was a pretty quick start. No anthems, no sponsor speeches. Nice and concise. "Riders start at the whistle..."


A dull race, really. My only objective was to get in that top 20. No fireworks, no rosebowl-style attacks up the back side, no prime slanging, nothing. Just sit in the vacuum for 90 minutes, and take the good legs to the leadout trains once 5 to go sounds, and then follow the really fast and narrow vacuum to a $ spot. That's what happened. I finished 17th. Woo. Not really that stoked on it, but it obviously could have been much worse. The jockeying started before lap cards were even out! Madness. Lots of people were clipping the barrier, clipping out after going into a turn too hot, skidding, chopping, everything. Crit racing at its finest. I love this course for it. Floyd Landis actually opened up the sketch riding proceedings on about the 3rd lap when he took turn 2 too hot. Fun stuff. Anyhow, 5 to go, I took a long swig of what was left of my bottle, and started to strategize. Found that Paul Che was doing the same thing, and just rode near him 'till we were near Bahati and co. A futile break was off. Got caught with 3 to go. Into the bell lap, a Bissel rider smashed into the barrier with me on his wheel. He didn't go down, but...full brakes, followed by full gas (and a couple matches...[nice pun!]), and I was back in position. Tony Cruz chopped me pretty good into turn 5. "Ok, tony, go." No thanks was given, of course. Then I sprinted hard between 5 and 6 to try to get a nice spot into the final sprint. Got the nice spot, but there was no sprint. I sprinted around only a couple guys with dead legs for the finish. Maybe it's a good thing I don't have an SRM right now? Woulda been some hideous sprint data...but I am $400 closer now.



No photos of the race, but here's one of Wilson from yesterday's ride.


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