I rode the HOP ride yesterday morning and it was a smaller group so the speed was a little bit slower. Because of this, we shared the work a bit more and did some pace line work at times on the ride. On highland road, there was a motorcycle crash that occurred while 2 motorcycles were trying to pass the HOP medium ride. One of my teammates saw the whole thing happen and we ended up riding by the ambulance as it was picking up one of the crashers. On the second half of the HOP ride I took a few pulls at the front of the field up the main grinding climb which I would pay for later on in the ride. After the climb up collier canyon (which I barely hung on to the group) we started up Camino Tassajara and the wind really began to blow. Our small group was echeloned across the road and I was stuck riding in the wind and eventually I was blown off the back. It felt good to have a few hard pulls at the front and then to hang on to the field afterwards. I can tell I am getting stronger just need to keep up the hard riding (and smart recovery) and I will be in a good place for the end of a race.
On Sunday I raced the red kite crit in Livermore with a few teammates. It is a flat, 4 corner, 1 mile crit and our field was 97 deep with a mix of cat. 3 and cat. 4 riders. Our race was scheduled for 40 minutes and these type of races can be very nervous with such a large field and very few ways for people to separate themselves from the rest of the field (like hills or a technical course). The result is that people take risks to move up in the field and this can have an affect on the riders around them (like tapping your brakes in traffic, it has a domino affect on the 10 cars behind you). But first, here is a video of how the race started. This really did happen and it was kind of a microcosm for how our race went (far too excitable and ending in a crash).
The first few laps were pretty fast and I sat in the field comfortably. I moved up for a few of the middle laps as I started to feel out the spots on the course where the wind wasn't as bad and the field was slowing. With 5 laps to go I was shuffled to the back as I was caught in the middle of the field with no way to move up. On the 3rd to last lap there was a massive crash in front of me that took down at least 6 riders. I narrowly missed getting taken down as the wreckage exploded outwards from the original fallers. I had slowed down pretty significantly and as I was already at the back of the field there was a gap of about 100 meters to the main field. I quickly started the chase back to the field and after 1 lap of hard work, I had finally caught back up to the back of the pack. We passed the wreckage of the crash and 1 rider was still down and being attended to (he was very bloody and had to be taken away in an ambulance eventually). The last lap was very fast and after my effort to catch back on, I was unable to move up and I cruised across the finish line. Officially I finished 77th, not very good but I must admit that I don't think I will be doing a whole lot more flat crits this year. I don't think that they play to my strengths and the chances of crashing are much higher.
I am traveling to Denver, Spokane, and Boise this week so I will be on the stair machine to keep up the cardio. Bariani road race next Sunday.
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