Folsom Criterium - May, 2003 (Cat 5)

Race Website

Finish: ~20th

The weather was nice and warm for the race and the course is a two turn flat course with a slight bend down the back straightaway. I live near Folsom, so it only took about 15 minutes to get to the race site, which did not give me the normal 1.5-2.5 hours of mental preparation I was used to. I got to the race in plenty of time, I got to see the juniors and women 4 race. I have been feeling fine not warming up for the races, so I continued with that strategy and it seems to work (no injuries so far). The womens and juniors race was over so I headed out onto the course and road around a couple times. Looking at the course and trying to note and problem areas. I found two decen potholes that could be a problem, but that was it. I got up to the front of the start line and they announced there were 5 primes (quite a few for a cat 5 race). They set us off and I was sitting near the front of the field just going along. The course is 1km long and very fast with only having two 90 degree turns in it. After a few laps I did what people said I should not do, I went off the front. It just worked out that way that I was carrying so much more speed than the rest of the pack and I ended up rolling off the front. I stayed out there for about two laps with the pack chasing pretty hard. I had a gap of 10 seconds coming around the start/finish line until they rang the prime bell. I kept pushing hard and stayed off the front until the last corner were they caught me, but I still had enough power to stay in front to take the prime. After that I rolled into the middle of the field and just hang out for a bit. I noticed a lot of people that were very sketchy and did not like my position in the overall pack. I just moved back and to the outside to avoid these people. It turns out most of them had only done one or two races, if that, along with a group of five triathletes. There were two decent crashes and one that a UC Davis guy saved from falling, but ruined his front wheel. I just hung out in the pack watching people staying on the outside trying to live through this crazy race. People would get all crazy for the primes and ride more recklessly (if you could imagine that). The last three laps I started making my way up the field to get into position for the sprint. That was the advice of my friend Chris who said I should podium this race. I worked on moving up, but was getting boxed in by people and had problems just being afraid for my life. I made it up to about halfway through the field and that was as far as I was getting. The last lap the paced slowed a bit since no one was wanting to pull, so I just sat in and waiting for the last corner. We go around the corner and people are up out of there saddle going like crazy. I stay seated and push hard and go past a couple people and just protect my front wheel. Not a great placing, but I am just happy I am alive after this race. I am going back to my race tactics of staying up at the very front and off the front. I think my next crit I will just pull everyone the whole race and treat it like a hard trainging day. This race was just worse than any other race I had been in, but that will not stop me from racing.

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