As I mentioned at the tail end of my last recap, Tuesday brought my first criterium. It consisted of ten laps of a flat-as-a-pancake 2.2 KM course around an industrial park in Burnaby. The field was 34 strong, all ostensibly Cat 4s.
I’m simplifying a bit, but the race was essentially half an hour of sprint, corner, repeat.
If you think that sounds like my worst nightmare, I’ve never told you about the recurring dream I have where I’m back in high school and I forget to go to French class for an entire year and then it’s the day of the final and I literally don’t know a single French word. Not even one. Not even “Monsieur” or “forte”.
What were we talking about? Right, criteriums do not play to my strengths. But this course featured wide, 90-degree-plus corners, so it was about as safe and non-technical as a criterium can get.
The result? Well, there’s good news and bad.
The bad: I didn’t win.
The good: I didn’t crash or flat!
That marks the first time I’ve done none of the above.
The other good news: I was only one second behind the winner. The other bad news: 12 other people managed to cross the line in that second (a.k.a. I came 14th).
My strategy, as usual, left something to be desired. The average pace for the race, in toto, was 41.92 KM/H, which kept the pack pretty strung out. No one made any serious attempts to breakaway over the first nine laps, but, in almost every corner, I was reminded of how much faster a lot of those guys can sprint than me.
So on the final lap I tried to go long. I was off the front for maybe 15 or 20 seconds, but was reeled back in pretty effortlessly (I think). I went into the last corner about tenth and was predictably passed by a few more people in the final straightaway. My sprint might have been a little better if I hadn’t tried to go long; but, realistically, it probably wouldn’t have made that much of a difference. Monsieur’s top speed just isn’t that high … yet. 😉
I’ll either have to get faster or change my name from “Monsieur Forte” to “Sir Bottomly Topspeed”.
Next Tuesday’s crit (there’s one every week until September as long as the weather is dry) is out at UBC and features a hill! That might work out a little better.
I’ll leave you with a link to the full results from this week.