Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cat's Hill Criterium, Men's 3's

The morning started out with light rain that continued right up to our 11:10 start. It would be a first for me to do Cat's Hill in the rain-no big, but this course has enough danger when it is dry. Uneven pavement, transitions, potholes; "don't-bring-your-nice-wheels" kind of stuff. After working my way under a friend's team's tent and using their trainer for a warm-up. I slotted right on the front for the 93-man start. Despite the wet conditions, I only saw a few fish-tails here and there and a few peel-outs on the steep uphill. Being that we are just mere mortals and part-time racers, I thought for sure we would be in for some more laughs, but the race was pretty clean. About midway thru, I did hear something behind that sounded like a "mishap," but that is pretty much par for the course in criteriums. Anyway, after placing myself well with two laps to go, and then misplacing myself for the last lap, I managed 14th. Forgot my Cipollini legs again-dammit, they were in the car-but a good ride for me. Didn't help that that guy moving up from 40th to the front in one corner nearly clipped my wheel, just as I stood up to hit warp speed for the last hill. I always try to avoid him, but you can't always tell who it is going to be. Definitely a 9/10 on the fun scale... Hoping that the Team Astana scouts would have seen my stellar bike-handling skills, but I am still waiting for their call.

You just gotta race Cat's Hill, but if you don't, you have to go for the experience. The course is set just behind the main drag in LG, thru the neighborhoods. People have lawn parties, BBQ's, and all-day affairs for the race. Whole families come out-there are many people who don't know anything about bike racing at all who come out. Seems like the community for the most part embraces the whole thing, unlike some races, where the locals just seem p'd off about the whole thing. Where else can you go to see a lead moto wipe it because he was hanging it out, too (that happened last year). Day long racing culminates with the M/W pro races, which never disappoint.

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