Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cutting teeth at the crit - does anyone have some anbesol

The tactic of showing up with the unshaved legs worked just fine at the crit on Saturday, took about two laps for the roadies to give me all the space I wanted and more - by spitting me out the back of the pack. The culprit was my cornering. The pace was fine, I tucked in behind Sam and Pat to try and get a feel for what to do, but every corner would cost me a few spots until eventually I found myself off the back - and brutally uncapable of latching back on. I've got some lessons to learn on the corners, I knew I was missing the accelerations out of the corners within the first few, but was unable get it figured out before I was out of the pack completely.

It makes for a long and lonley half an hour racing a crit, off the back, in some stiff wind. Pretty sure I was in the DFL spot for a lap or so, but managed to reel back others as they fell out of the shelter and speed of the pack.

Here's what I learned:
1 - I've got to get past the newby timidity in the corners and be more aggressive there. I don't mean aggressive in the sense of beligerent or wreckless, but I've got to pick my position and line - and then own it vs. giving it up for no reason other than courtesy. There's no room for courtesy in a race unless an injury is involved and someone needs help. Etiquette is fine and even required, courtesy is not, unless your soft, which I was.
2 - Aggression is critical coming out of the corners, where the accelerations were most dramatic and where I hemmoraged position every single time. Problem for me here was in part due to item 1, but more so being late in my own accelerations. I've got to hit it earlier in the exit than I was, it's dramatically harder to close a gap opened by being a second late than it is to just not be a second late and therefore not have a gap to deal with.
3 - Losing contact with the pack makes life hard, but it's more or less a death sentence when there's heavy wind. It was not a good day to find yourself alone, and I managed to get myself into exactly that situation.
4 - If you do get spit out the back, it's worth blowing yourself up trying to get back on right away. If you blow up your race is over, but if you don't get back on, your race is over. I won't make this mistake ever again.
5 - Racing in a pack was exciting, and I'm excited to try it again.
6 - Would like to have learned something about attacks, chasing down breakaways, etc... but that stuff happened on the other end of the pack. Maybe when I grow up and stop being a wuss.

Bike race fun factor ranking for me thus far:
1 - Cyclocross
2 - Mtn Bike XC
3 - Crits

Could be skewed due to me riding by myself in the wind at this week's crit - but don't think so. The crit was fun, but wouldn't put it in the same league as cross or xc.

Congrats to Sam and Pat who both had strong showings in their first crit race - 2nd for Sam and a top 10 for Pat.

I'll probably give it another try this week.

1 comment:

pat t cakes said...

dude, closing gaps and chasing down breaks isnt too much fun either