Had a great time wrecking myself in today’s “Friday Criterium Series” (TFCS) race, the first race of a 6-race series organized by Rob Bolt. While this is the first “official” race of the series, we’ve had a couple test races leading up to this, as Rob is a very detail-oriented guy who wants to get everything right and keep it professional and organized.
Of the various races I’ve tried, the Friday Criterium races have been my favorite because they are run so well and only C and D riders are allowed. We’ve had is a very large turnout oThere are over 100 C/D riders registered, which is many more than the 20-30 C riders at a typical ZTR race. What this means is you get to ride in group more often… if you can keep up!
My TFCS Race 1 Experience
Going into the race my plan was to stay with the front group and attempt to break away on the second lap when we hit Libby Hill. I’m used to riding the ZTR race in Richmond which is 3 laps long, so I figured on a 2-lap race I could push pretty hard the whole time.
The race started with a “standing start” (no neutral) at exactly 11am PST. A lead group of C+ riders jumped out quickly and gapped me–I had to burn a few matches just to catch them. (Next race I’ll hit the pedals really hard really quick to stick with that front group.) I finally caught the front group of ~10 riders a couple miles into the flat section and caught my breath as much as I could before hitting the first sprint hard. (I mistakenly thought the first sprint was being used for extra points in TFCS–it’s actually the second sprint).
I was able to hang with this front group for the first lap, but got gapped when we reached the top of the last climb and hit the straightaway to the lap banner. I looked around and found one TFCS rider nearby (M. Rothe) coming up behind me so we rode together for most of the second lap, working together and taking pulls as much as we could to keep our speed and stamina up. We eventually caught up to G. Twiss who had dropped from the lead group, and picked up some non-race riders who hung with us a bit as well.
I did my best to break away when I hit Libby on the second lap, and in doing so left the small group I had been riding with. I pushed as hard I could from this point on. When I finished I felt like throwing up–I knew I hadn’t taken 1st, but I knew only a handful of riders were ahead of me. I also knew I had broken away and held off the group I had ridden with for that second lap, so I was happy about that!
Preliminary results show that I got 5th place overall–and I’m quite happy with that. Again, a great race thanks to Rob Bolt and his team.
UPDATE: final results (see table below) gave me a 4th place finish, and tied for 2nd overall in the points standings.