Race Report :: May 28, 2002 :: Alameda Twilight Criterium Series

1st Place!
Date: May 28, 2002
Event: Alameda Twilight Criterium Series
Category: Senior 4/5
Time: 30 minutes
Place: 1st!
Field: ~30

The Berkeley Bicycle Club (BBC) has started up their Tuesday night Alameda Twilight Criterium Series. These are really fun short races that are great for training. The course location is also easily accessible from the Alameda/Oakland Ferry.

I raced in several last year. They helped improve my criterium skills and provided a fun workout in the process. I have been looking forward to them for this year. So, this past Tuesday I boarded the ferry and headed over to the event. It’s a quick hop on the ferry over to Alameda and then a two minute ride over to the course.

The BBC does a great job managing the event and keeps everything casual and relaxed. Well, where they have that control. Actions and attitudes change within the race.

I lined up with a group of 30 or so riders for the Senior 4/5 race. The whistle blew and we headed off. There were instantly a couple of riders interested in keeping the pace up. I hustled to the front and then settled in. The first corner always accordions the group and I didn’t want to be playing that game. Sticking near the front kept the corners smooth.

Around 12 minutes into the race two riders sprinted off the front. I watched for a second and then decided to chase. I quickly caught on and then, as we headed through the start/finish, the prime bell was wrung. The two ahead of me sparked up and the pace quickened. I sat in behind and let them pull around. As we came around the last corner I used my momentum and jumped out and sprinted towards the finish. They weren’t ready and I easily took the prime.

The group soon caught on and I dropped back into the pack but still near the front. The two riders that broke away earlier were back near the front. I could see them both working hard and fighting for the front.

Then lap cards were displayed. 5 to go. The pace again quickened. I started working myself up into a good position. With 4 laps to go I was sitting in the top 8 riders. As we came around to the start/finish I glanced at the lap cards, expecting to see a 3, but there was a 2! I figured I had spaced out and miscounted. No matter, I just adjusted for 2 laps. I knew it was important for that last lap to be up front. We quickly passed the start/finish again and were into the last lap.

The riders that broke away earlier were right up front again. Really pushing the pace. I dropped somewhere around 5th and watched for a break. As we headed towards the back stretch we encountered traffic from the dropped racers. They were stacking up the inside and we had to yell to give them a clue we were coming through!

Now we were heading for the final corner. Still, more traffic was stacking on the inside! Get them off the course! I jump hard and go for a wheel but I’m 10 feet back from the lead rider and a guy on his tail. I open it up and thread through those two and the mess on the right. The two in the lead can’t match my attack and I pull ahead and break free into the open. I’m clear and sail through the finish line!

First place! :’)

On the way home aboard the ferry, I thought ‘Not a bad weeknight workout’.

Cheers!

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