Some thoughts about the race:
– I hate staging for a crit.
– I hate finishing a warm-up to stand around for 30 minutes.
– I hate people backing into staging at a crit.
– I hate when four whole rows back into staging in front of me.
– I hate it when I don’t think to back into staging at a crit.
– I hate it when I start in one the the last rows in the fastest crit of the year.
– I love it when the whistle finally blows and the anxiety of waiting is forced out of the forefront of the mind to let the legs seek resolution.
Such is the way of things, sometimes, and as a result I set myself up for a nice little lesson in positioning and matchbook maintenance for the entirety of Bike the Bricks. It made the race hard, but it reminded me what it was like to be on the ropes during a race. The pace was unrelenting on what felt, to me at least, a pretty technical course. Five right hand turns followed by one left hander immediately before the finish line. Different road surfaces with brick and concrete; expansion joints and material transitions thrown in to keep things interesting. In the back of the pack (the sperm-tail of people threatened to be dropped every lap), the surging of brake-sprint, brake-sprint; turn after turn took it’s toll. But eventually the body found a rhythm and began to settle in and the legs became accustomed to going hard, but it wasn’t enough time to wear down the hammers that had been driving the pace for the 50 minutes of the race. It was a positioning game, and I simply did not have the handling confidence to move up and maintain positioning lap-after-lap coming into the finish.
Racing a night crit for the first time was a lesson in concentration. 90 Cat 2’s and 3’s, going balls-out through islands of washed-out floodlights separated by vast expanses of impenetrable darkness. Eyes adjusting to the darkness to be blasted by light. Green, yellow, red; the stoplights adding visual stimulation to an already overly stimulated brain. Spectators…oh God why are so many people watching us race our bikes in circles for 50 minutes, in the dark? It was wild. People zooming backwards in the corners of ill adjusted fields of vision. Flashing lights and screaming in the periphery fought to steal attention away from more pressing issues: holding onto while not crashing into the wheel in front. And the lightning was the worst, at least I remember thinking it was lightning mid-race. Perhaps it was just a camera flash going off in my face in the middle of turn four as my wheels were fighting to maintain traction over the bricks as I railed the corners WAY harder than I felt comfortable doing, just to hold onto the race.
In the end, CREDO did respectably against very fast crit racers from Dallas. Mike and Zak represented in the three-four race and then stuck around to cheer on Brandon, Adrian and I as we raced in the dark with the two-threes. Both Mike and Adrian did extremely well, racing up a category and showing that they will very soon be joining the Cat 3’s and the Cat 2’s respectively. I was just happy to have finished intact after a very close call on the 3rd to last lap, and we’re all relieved that Brandon is recovering from his dance with the hay bail 2 turns later on that very same lap. The biggest winner of the night was the Town of McKinney, as they put on an extremely successful race that is sure to be back even bigger next year. Bike the Bricks has the potential to turn into one of the biggest races in the region; we are definitely doing this one again next year.