directly quoted from the website. i'll just say that highly technical is an understatement. uber? i might say uber technical. and multi-turn? how about a kajillion turns? or, eleven to be exact. this was only criterium #2 for me - but my husband says 11 turns is a lot. and even the more experienced racers said the course was crazy hard and technical and slightly jacked.
my first crit was a horrible experience, and after seeing this course and hearing about all the crashes that had occured in previous races, i wasn't so sure this one would be much better. crits are all about the cornering & speed and i suck at cornering and speed. and this wasn't some sort of self-fufilling prophecy or anything, its just the truth. i need serious work here.
i started the race right where my husband told me to start - on the line. my goal was going to be to get out in front in an attempt to delay the point at which i would get shelled off the back. we get the little lecture from the official, he says go. so we go. and holy shit are you kidding me? i cannot clip in! the entire field just goes and i am rolling, yet still trying to clip in. never been off the back so fast in my life. never been so pissed off while on the bike in my life.
i spent the entire first lap chanting the most explicit expletives i could think of - and believe me, i thought of some doozies. i was furious. and this fury lasted the whole race. my legs felt crazy strong, i had energy to burn and just couldn't burn it all up because i didn't have the skills (or the guts) for the corners.
a crit is usually so fast with so many turns that catching the group is nearly impossible. my first crit scared the shit out of me; but this time i was too pissed off to be scared. i did catch one girl several times on the hill and we'd stay together as we both got lapped more than once by the kenyan and other cat 1 riders, but then i'd lose her on a wiggy 180 degree turn around some cones. the anger never really wore off. i got better and better on some corners and took them faster each time, and there were other corners that i never got right. as i came through one turn in particular and heard my husband yelling coachy things to me like "pedal!" i wanted someone to shoot him, as opposed to my last crit where i wanted someone to shoot me. i usually love having coacy htings yelled to me (in fact, when the kenyan lapped me, she yelled coachy things & i yelled thanks as she whizzed past).
as i berated myself for being dead fucking last once again in a crit, i suddenly remembered that i was the only cat 4 rider in the group; and i was out there, racing the type of race that scares the shit out of me. i was out there doing it and that had to count for something.
actually, it did count - i got points for the race and even though i was last, i placed in the money and won enough to pay the babysitter for the next day's road race! but still. i was pissed.
photo: shari parker