Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Race Report: Table Mountain Crit by Kirk Groves (@LSVLKirk)

After the fiasco of missing the Tuesday evening crit last week with Indiana St closed I left my house with plenty of time this week. I arrived in Golden at 5 had some time to burn before the 6:10 start. I decided to get in a little climbing and rode up Lookout to the parking lot about halfway up. My legs were feeling crisp and fresh -- a good sign of things to come.

I drove over to the Colorado State Patrol track, got my race number and put in a couple laps. The course was clean of gravel, an issue the last time I raced there. The course is 1.4 miles and has a moderate amount of vertical. The corners are wide and not particularly sharp:  After a couple laps I was ready to mix it up. The course suits me well, not particularly technical and a bit of welcomed rest down the straight away.

I'd say roughly 40-50 men and women pinned on a number for the early race. The 4/5s were doing 13 laps for an estimated total of 40 minutes. There were sprints on the 3s, bell across the line at 10 to go, sprint at 9 to go, etc. The first couple laps I hung out towards the back for two reasons. First it seems to take me a bit to get comfortable with riding in the pack and second the sketchiest riders hadn't yet been dropped yet. It was a bit chaotic early but ultimately the level of sketchiness went down and I gained some confidence. With the wide corners I wasn't punished too much by hanging out at the back. I put forth a couple half-hearted efforts on the sprints but I don't think I was ever better than 8th.

With about 4 to go there was the inevitable crash, every SM 4/5 race has one. Just to my left a rider strayed from his line and his pedal went into the front wheel of another guy. Spokes were exploding, I felt one on my leg and then I heard the all too familiar sounds. About 6 guys total were involved and I heard one guy did a cartwheel. Fortunately none of the injuries seemed serious.

I continued to move forward as the race progressed and I was well positioned with 1 to go. At the top corner on the north-east I took the inside line and started to follow the wheels as moves were made. Following the fastest wheels I continued to move forward. Way sooner than I'd hoped I was all alone and in front. With nothing between me and the win I rode the longest 100 meters of my life. The finish line couldn't come soon enough for me. With about 10 meters to go a guy came around me on the right. He'd timed his sprint well and he was absolutely flying compared to me. Fortunately I held on to 2nd for the night.

This race has more surges than the Ideal Market crit on Thursdays as a result of the course. If you're looking for some mid-week intensity to add to your training I can wholeheartedly recommend this crit series. The price is reasonable at $19. The event is low-key so there wasn't a podium so I don't have a picture to share.

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