Tuesday, September 1, 2009

East Village Crit

The final crit race and Iowa Cup series event was held this past Sunday in the East Village of Des Moines, with the finish line located on top of the hill in front of the steps of the Capital building. Dave Delperdang, newly upgraded Cat 4 racer John Johnson, and I were all trying to determine what level of pain we were about to inflict upon ourselves. Standing at the finish, you looked back down a pretty long and step hill. Those that competed in the first Hy-Vee tri will understand this. The only difference was that we were about to ride up the hill just short of 30 times.

After we arrived at the race, the clouds rolled in, and the temperatures stayed on the cooler side. I did not take to heart any of John's recently learned lessons of always being prepared and did not bring any addition layers or gloves. I was thinking it was going to be "one of those days". With any crit race, it is very wise to wear a pair of gloves just in case you go down; you do not want your hands to be totally shredded. After I asked around, Pete Basso loaned me his nicely greased up gloves from the Cat 3 race that were two sizes too big, but I was grateful. Thanks, Pete!
The five corner race started out fast, like all the Cat 4 races have this year, and after the first corner was the downhill. One strong rider from Bike Tech blew or broke something on the manhole, and someone said a rider missed the second corner and went through the barricades. I had problems clicking in and went from the front row to the back of the peloton before the first corner. I knew this was not good and worked hard for the next two laps getting back into the top ten.

The pace slowed down after the first few times up, and I think everyone knew with this being a 45 minute race that we had plenty of time. A few flyers went off the front, and the group was able to pull everything back in less than two laps. I bombed the downhill a few times and had a nice gap (safe gap as well) going into the first uphill. All the times I was in the back on the downhill, I had to scrub speed . After first 8 laps, my legs were feeling pretty good, and I knew I had a chance for a top 5 placing.

About half way through the race, I saw John on the side of the hill working on his chain. John was staying just off the back and then dropped his chain twice. With his recent upgrade, John was hoping to be on the same lap as the finishers, and I know he would have if it weren’t for the ‘double shift’ chain drop. (Ask Evan, or don’t.)

With one lap to go, I was not in proper position to take advantage of my downhill speed and cornering capability. Had I gotten to the hill ahead of the main group, I may have gained a few positions – lesson learned. John finished 26th in his first Cat 4 crit. Dave was 18th in a very strong field of riders. I placed 6th, which gave me 3rd place in the Iowa Cup Series, Cat 4 Men. This had been a great group of Cat 4s with whom to race, and I know several will be upgrading to Cat 3 next year and hoping for more of the same next year!

More Photos

Was Curious if anyone got their cars or bikes washed at the car wash over at the Blazing Saddle? Would love to hear about how that went?

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