Monday, March 17, 2008

Land Park Criterium 2008

Originally uploaded by rodneycox68
On Saturday I raced in the Land Park Criterium in Sacramento. I entered in the Elite 5 category, same as last year. Criteriums are not really my thing, but this course it one of the safer ones around and I wanted to redeem myself from last year. It's a big wide 1 mile loop around the Land Park Golf Course on closed roads. There is a tricky S-type chicane turn section and a couple of other higher speed corners. My goal was to just stay up near the front, top 15 or so though most of the course, then move up to the top 5 through the corners. This race was 35 minutes. It started out with a neutral lap just to we could see what it was like to ride the course with 50 other riders. Elite 5 is the beginner category so there's obviusly some nervous and squirrely riding going on. As the first real lap kicked in the speed was fairly mellow in the low 20s. Into the frist set of turns some yo yo clipped his pedal into one of the corners. Not sure if it was the same guy, but I heard the pedal clipping again, and again and again. You think he would have learned maybe the first or second tome to not pedal thought that sharp corner? There was some bumping and sudden braking, someone skidded up on my rear wheel, and I had to do a couple of quick evasive maneuvers throughout the race. The group would always seem to come back together on the straight sections, then get broken up in the corners. The key was to stay as close to the front as possible so after the corners you didn't have to do too much work to get back to the front. I was hanging in there pretty comfortably and in the final lap somehow drifted back to about mid pack going into the corners. Someone went down on my left (perhaps the guy who kept clipping his pedals), then someone plowed into him and went over the bars. I saw it out the corner of my eye so it freaked my out a bit. When I looked ahead I had lost about 10 bike lengths to the main pack. So I cranked it up and gave it everything I had. I finally caught on to the tail end of the main group passing a few on the run into the line and finished 22nd out of 50. I think I would have finished a bit higher were it not for that crash. I'm just stoked to have finished the race this year as last year I got dropped and pulled off the course with about 2 laps to go.

This was the best photo I could find of myself in the race. Thanks to rodneycox68 on Flickr! That's me in the blue, orange and white Rio Strada kit.
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