Race Report :: June 4, 2002 :: Alameda Twilight Criterium Series

2nd Place!
Date: June 4, 2002
Event: Alameda Twilight Criterium Series
Category: Senior 4/5
Time: 30 minutes
Place: 2nd! Both primes!
Field: ~30

Another fun evening of racing at the Berkeley Bicycle Club’s (BBC) Tuesday night Alameda Twilight Criterium Series. The weather was cool but nice. Good size group again assembled for the race. My previous week’s finish gave me a lot of confidence coming into this one.

After a nice warm-up from circling around the outer roads it was time to start the race. I rolled up to the starting line, the whistle blew, and off we headed. I stuck with my earlier race plan and made sure to ride near the front.

The pace was quick but no real attacks to string it out. Within a short time the prime bell rung and the pace picked up. I stuck hard to the front. If the pace slowed, someone would jump out to the front. I would jump over to the new leaders. On the final corner I was sitting about 5 back and had to swing wide to the outside. I used my speed around the corner to begin my sprint. I began flying up the outside line and quickly passed everyone and starting leading out the pack. Riding on the left edge allowed me to keep an eye on riders only on my right side. I could see nobody was accelerating so I throttled back and just kept an eye on the chasers. I knew nobody was going to take it from me so I kept it on cruise and took the prime.

After the prime lap the pack normally backs off some speed but this time a couple of riders attacked. This strung the pack out and put some pain into a few riders legs. I felt good and jumped right up with the front and stayed there. This continued for several more laps. Every 2 or 3 laps another riders would attack and string out the pack. Then he would be caught and the pace would settle down.
Another prime bell ignited another attack and I jumped right up front to contend. I was sitting 3rd as we came around the back and to the last corner. The lead rider soon fried himself and the 2nd rider started to jump. I did several standing rotations just behind him and then jumped out around him. There was nobody on my tail and I sailed though home free for the second prime.

I was feeling good. The engine was running well. Now I just had to concentrate on the finish. Being only a 30 minute race, the 5 lap cards were soon out. The countdown had begun and the pack showed it. Riders were attacking the corners. The pace was quickening.
On the last lap, the two Solano Cyclery riders jumped out to the front. I managed to jump on their little train and followed them around the back side. As hit the last corner, the lead rider swung wide and the second rider jumped up the middle. I was on his tail, just where I wanted to be. I timed my jump and then popped out and gunned it. I started flying up on his left side.

Then he swerved left and almost into me. I swerved to avoid, stopping pedaling for a split second, and then jumped back on it. That little bobble gave him a bike length and now it was a drag race to the finish. I dug in hard and cranked up the pedal rotation. I was gaining on him fast but the finish line was also approaching fast. I was half a bike back. A wheel back. The finish line was right there. I shot across and could see a blur of the line and both our wheels edge to edge. It was a photo finish!

And this time the photo gave it to him… by a hair.

I finished 2nd.

And I learned my lesson. When breaking out to do the sprint. Try to get clear of other riders. Lesson learned. Which, of course, is one of the reasons for attending the Twilight Series.

Cheers!

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