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Golden State Race Series Crit and Circuit 30+ 4/5

Body Concepts Bicycle Race Team – Race Report: by Chris Grove

Race: Golden State Race Series Day 1 (Crit race) and Day 2 (Circuit race)
Date: May 21st and 22nd, 2011
Category/Field Size: 30+ 4/5. 54 racers for the Crit race and 66 racers for the Circuit race.
Team Mates: Chris Grove (report writer) and Patrick Peters

Weather/Course Description: Sunny. Probably the high 60s to low 70s. The course is very flat and very fast. There are several turns but all of them can be taken at full speed.

Race Plan: Have Patrick stay in the pack to setup for a sprint finish while I looked for break opportunities.

Golden State Race Start - Body Concepts Bicycle Race Team

Chilling at the starting line

Crit Race:

As the race got going I looked around but didn’t see Patrick anywhere even though I saw and talked to him while getting ready for the race. After the race I found out that Patrick didn’t get back from his warm-ups in time for the start of the race, which happens to be one of my worst fears.

As the race got going I was trying to stay in the top ¼ but was having a hard time doing that. With no challenges to separate riders, riders behind the leaders would keep swarming ahead the instant the leaders slowed down. Several break attempts were made by other racers but the pack was too big and motivated. About half way through I was getting tired trying to maintain a position towards the front so I drifted to the back to catch a draft and recover. BTW – The draft behind 54 racers is huge! Anyway… With one lap to go I saw my golden opportunity. A strong looking rider in a Davis kit started surging his way up the pack. I grabbed his wheel and we were easily making progress to be in the top 5 going around the final turn. And then, inexplicably, another racer does a hard swerve to his left, almost crashing into the Davis guy. I have to hit my breaks to avoid rear-ending them and now I am stuck with the two riders in front of me trying to recover their momentum while the peloton speeds by on my right. I recover as best I could and manage to get 19th.

Circuit Race:

For this race I decided to take a different approach. I decided to stick to the back and take it easy until the race is about ½ done, then start being more aggressive about being in the front. Yes, this puts me at risk of missing a break, but with 66 racers on a simple course, I am betting on a pack finish.

Everything was going as planned until we were two or three laps out. For some reason that I cannot figure out, a racer charges up behind me on my right. We are working our way through some turns and at that time, there was plenty of space on my right and plenty of space in front of me but as he goes by he clips my right arm, my handle bars, and proceeds to cut in front of me, almost taking out my front wheel. Keeping in mind that my nerves are already a little frayed when it comes to crits and I am riding with a still-healing left shoulder, I lost what nerves I had left and started playing things safe which got me to the back of the pack pretty quickly. Still, I find some safe openings and recover to about mid-pack. At this point, I see an opportunity in a straight stretch of road on the backside of the course. I can easily move up to the front of the pack but without much time left I start wondering if I am going to burn too many matches to get to the front and have a strong finish (I have been too aggressive in the past causing me to run out of gas on the final 200m). In that moment of hesitation, the race was lost. A swarm of riders came around me, blocking me out of any opportunity to advance and I find myself out the back of the peloton in no time. I work my way up as best I can in the turns before the finish but it was a lost cause. I finished 45th.

Results:

  • Crit – 19th
  • Circuit – 45th

Lessons:

  1. Better to take a risk and finish 45th than to sit in and finish 45th.
  2. Don’t miss the start of the race.
  3. It is good to be social with the other riders and make some friends. At one point during the race, Morgan (from BP), was watching me work my way back towards the front and yelled over (as friendly advice, he had to yell for me to hear) to get out of the wind. Cool guy.

Sponsors Note: I think I need to talk to Nike Vision to see if they can change the lenses so that I can see a few moments into the future. The crisp vision is great however I need some time travel for the glasses to be optimal.

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