So last weekend was the Tour of KC and my first crit's of 2012. I was super interested to see how I would feel since I've tackled no true intervals of intensity and have spent most of the spring on a mtb.
Ira joined me for the two days of racing and come to find out these where his first crits... ever! He was stoked as his fitness has been solid.
I had originally planned to race both days in the masters field, but since Ira was going off at 4:40pm on Saturday and the masters was at 11am I decided to switch up to the 4's to make a much better travel day. Either was fine with me as the whole weekend was a check of the system and had little to do with trying to obtain a top finish. I really like crit racing and typically will do 5 or 6 per year, but as I discussed with Ira I don't think it's my cup of tea to focus for a season (but thank goodness there are are a ton who do, which makes racing fun).
I love the Longview course was it's tighter than usual and with 8 turns and a couple slight risers it makes for a selection as the races develops. The temps were pretty warm, but not near as hot as it's been in the past. Quick warm up with Ira and the 'cross bikes (that's right, it's what we both ride year 'round) and it was time to toe the line.
***Elizabeth Rangle gets credit for the above photos***
Good group of front guys kept the pace decent and steady, but most of all clean (no nutty cutting on turns or pushing folks off wheels - nice). I made sure to keep in the top 5 or 6 and took a handful of turns up front; was able to maintain my place in the group without ever being under pressure. Few digs here and there by some folks, but the top 10 were keeping it all togehter. With three to go a group of six were moving away from 4 or 5 behind and then out of nowhere we had officials on the course neutralizing it all and stopping us at the start/finish line. Quick explanation was a wreck brough emergency vehicles on to render support. I was slightly disappointed to hear how many folks were complaining of the stoppage, but it's a hobby race and when someone is injured it takes 100% priority over pedaling a bike. After close to 10 minutes it was time to race for the remaining three laps, but an interesting this was how many folks reported to being 'with' the front group as there were close to 15 now on the line (while the others were being staged with time gaps). Not a huge biggie, but sort of funny to listen to guys justify their position to the officials. Kuddo's to the officials for doing their best.
Off we go and quickly it was pretty much the same folks driving the race. On the last lap up the final riser I was in the top 7 or 8 when a guy tried to cut the corner (instead of riding the same line as was taken every lap before) and BAM!!! straight into the curb right in front of me and another guy. It was spectactular as his bike shot up one way and somehow he shot up another - literally said 'Awesome' at the moment it happened. Luckily there was room to swerve inside for the both of us and kept rolling. Ended up 7th on the day and have no idea how that happened as I had no zip or pop for a sprint at the end.
Ira rode well and ended up not to far behind; more importantly he had a great time!
Stuck around for a bit to catch some of the Mercy-Kuat guys in action before heading off to meet up with teammates Crusty and Alyssa for a Sushi Feast.
Up early(ish) for a spin from host Crusty to the Lee's Summit downtown crit (8am start) with the Masters. Nice spin of 15 minutes from his house let me grab a handful of warmup laps prior to start. Fast, FAST course with 5 open/wide turns and all flat. Several big boys lined up in the masters field which made for a steadily fast pace with little 'let up' during the event. Surfed without being under pressure at anytime and with 1 to go drifted to the back to get out of the way of those wanting to win (no pop or zip = why even jack up those with). Even at 8am it was warm, but not near as hot as it would be for the rest of the races thru out the day.
Cleaned up back at Crusty's, got Ira up and going for his race at 1:40pm, and enjoyed watching him suffer (just kidding, he did great).
Packed up and headed home with a great check of the system which let me know my fitness feels ahead of where I was at this time last year and with two months of tuning/sharpening the engine 'cross is going to be a blast this year.
Originally planned to hit Tour of Lawrence, but with the temps forcasted and a positive 'systems check' at TofKC, I started a 10 day 'down period' 100% off the bike and any type of excersise. This will let me mentally and physically 'flip the switch' to full on 'cross prep. Fun things equipment/sponsor wise on the horizon for MWI and I don't remember looking forward to a 'cross season so much. Might be I am now 45 ('cross race age) which puts me in a new class or that I just love this sport and it's growth/appear more and more each year.
On a side note: Ian played up in another 7th grade shootout the other day and went off for 27pts (his team scored 36 total) going 7 for 11 from the 3 line - nuts (he's 11)!