Race Report :: Oakland Criterium
Date: July 14, 2002
Event: Oakland Criterium
Category: Senior 4/5
Distance: 20 laps
Place: 2nd and first prime
This event was a transition point in my road racing career. It was to be my last Cat 4 race. The bean counter, well Casey Kerrigan that is, has been totaling points and red-marked me for an upgrade. A top ten finish in this race was the breaking point. And I broke it. And I included a prime to add some icing. I wish I could say that I finished first. That would have been a nice finish to my Cat 4 career. Instead, I captured 2nd place. A nice finish, and along with the prime, a good way to go out.
Category: Masters 35+ open
Disatance: 20 laps
As luck would have it, the masters championships were going on this weekend. Therefore, the field in the master’s race wasn’t full and didn’t include all the big guns. Still, that didn’t stop the pack from flying. Add to that several primes and we were motoring. My legs and motivation was a bit worn and I rode showing it. A couple of primes came and went and I just let them go.
But then a nice juicy $50 cash prime was announced. My motivation factor clicked up a few notches. I moved towards the front. A dangerous pinch on one of the corners blocked me and I dropped back off the front. That was ok. The finish was coming soon and I was now feeling better.
At 5 laps to go I started my move back to the front. The pack’s pace, jitters, and bad cornering increased as the lap count decreased. At 2 laps to go I was moving myself towards the very front. I knew the back choke point corner was going to be dangerous. It was better to be at the front. The pack could sense the danger of this corner and everyone behaved. But coming out of it and around for the last lap, the rules changed. Corner pinching, swerving were ok now. At least up to the choke point corner. Then calm and fairly clean cornering through that turn.
And then go! Out of the corner and start hammering for the last corners and the start/finish. Down the back side and around the corner and sprinting for the last corner. With 4 to 5 riders across and speeds picking up to 26, 28, 30 miles per hour. Hard into the last corner and up the hill to the finish. Standing and pedaling hard and fast towards the finish.
Riders all around. Many dropping past me. But lots still ahead. And a team mate (Kevin) just up to my left and I’m gaining on him. The finish line is just ahead. I keep up the sprint and cross the line. I finished. Squeeked out a 12th. Had fun and felt like a got a good workout in for the day.
It was time to head home and get myself a burger! 🙂