Saturday, February 14, 2009

Change of plans leads to San Jose Crit

All week I was eagerly looking forward to the road trip down to the Fresno area for a weekend of road racing at Cantua Creek and Pine Flat with Paul and Scott.  But unfortunately, they both got that nasty cold/flu thing that's been going around and had to pull out on Friday afternoon.

So, I'm sitting at home on Friday, all bummed and jonesing for a bike race, trying to figure out what to do.  I really don't want to drive 400 miles round trip by myself and spend 2 nights alone in cheap motels in the central valley, and racing without teammates is always way less fun.  I consider doing the KOM down in San Jose, but the format is some odd kind of mass start individual time trial with a bunch of corporate CEO types all over the road and there's no masters division, and the only award for the P/1/2 is a trophy for the winner, and the entry fee is $52.  Still, I do love hill climbs, so I'm considering it.

The other option was the San Jose Classic Criterium built by Webcor.  Since there's no 2nd race discount and I don't have a spare $104 dollars right now I had to choose between the 35+ at 8:40 and the P/1/2 at 2:45.   Hutch and Dan are doing the 35+, so I decide to do that one.
The course is a little too flat for my liking, but it does have lots of turns, including a nice hairpin, and no real long straightaways for packs to build up high speeds, so it looks good for a breakaway.

Our race starts with 3 guys from Form Fitness blasting off from the gun, so fast I didn't even notice them go off the front.  One of them immediately flats on the first lap, but the other 2 get a nice gap, even though the guy in 2nd is too far behind his teammate to gain any draft benefit and he can't seem to close it.  I decide to chase them down since, well, that's what I always do and no one else is doing it.  So I take off and go right by guy #2, but it takes me most of a lap to get onto the leader's (Dennis Hopp) wheel.  After a short recovery I come around and take a pull and the 2 of us get into a nice rhythm of trading pulls every 1/3 of a lap, so we each get the same head wind sections every other lap.  Over several laps we build a nice little lead and because of the hairpin can keep a good eye on the field that is now about 20 seconds back.

Then I see Hutch bridging up with another guy, so I start pulling a little less hard until about 2 laps later Hutch drops the other guy and I let Hopp know that I'm can't pull until he catches us.  Once Hutch joins us, I go to the front and put on the gas to build our lead back a bit and discourage the 2 guys trying to bridge (Wire was 1 of them I think), then the 3 of us work it and as our lead continues to grow Hutch whispers to me to wait for him to attack first.  

Just after the hairpin with under 6 laps to go Hutch attacks after Hopp's pull, but Hopp is able to cover it with me on his wheel.  As soon as Hutch sits up I swing to the other side of the road and go, get a gap and TT in the last 5 laps for the win!  Hutch (thanks!) came in 3rd  and Dan who had been jumping on any bridge attempts ended up 3rd in the 45+

Since I don't get to win too many crits, I'm very glad I decided to do this instead of Cantua!

I even won enough cash to pay the entry for the P/1/2 race, so I decide to enter it since it looks like the dry conditions are going to last and no interval workout is as good as chasing down a bunch of berries.  Having so much time in between events I'm also able to enjoy watching all the women's races.

The P/1/2 race was....harder.  It's not quite so easy to get away in that race.  I did get off the front once for a lap early on and even won a prime.  
5 pounds of Ironman Coffee!  I hope it's good because I'm going to be drinking it for a while.

But, most of the race I was near the back, just moving up near the front a few times for fun.  The winning break of Stewart, England, Hernando and Moore got away with around 10 laps to go.  After that there was no way I was getting off the front again and I don't participate in pack sprints, so I just faded to the back and finished.  I think we had delValle in the money though and maybe Hutch too.

I'd still like to do Pine Flat tomorrow, I just don't want to drive down there and back.
I think the 2 races today will hold me over until Snelling.


Pete aka Taxi777 said...

Dude! great racing! wish I had been able to go just to watch...see you Tues. if the weathers good.

knottycarl said...

Good going Chris, your the man.

Clark said...

Nice work, Chris! Very inspiring to other hilly road race types that look to also do well in crits someday...