24 August, 2011

Summer wrap-up part 1: Detroit and Windsor Crits

While certainly not timely nor regular, my posts on here have at least settled into a good rhythm and without full race reports for each event I am not constantly behind. Due to the amount of material I am going to split this into three posts over the coming days.

Since the last post I did indeed race two more crits and TT provincials, both of which were pretty huge failures for very different reasons. I also did the Hamilton Cycling Club Binbrook 40k TT, a social but nonetheless pretty epic mtb ride and an 8h mtb relay in between. All of those things went surprisingly well.

Criterium Detroit City

The Ciociaro Club Criterium, the 6th race on the O-Cup circuit for 2011 was held on a closed track in Windsor. The day before a criterium was run in downtown Detroit, so a few of us headed over to race that as a warm up. It turned out to be a very well run event for a first time race, and the course was moderately technical but fairly open through the streets of downtown Detroit. The race went pretty well for me, really, though the heat was not making it easy. I closed down a few gaps and tried a couple attacks, once bridging up to a fairly strong but not so organized break. In the end I was positioned fairly poorly for the bunch sprint, and there was a crash in the final corner. I avoided it by going wide up on to the sidewalk and back on to the road under the tape, rolling in for 30-something-th.

Ciociaro Club O-Cup

The Ciociaro O-Cup itself was a bit of a priority for me, one of my last chances to earn some needed upgrade points on the Ontario circuit. The race was not very interesting to start, and I found myself away with one other strong cat 3 who I had raced with before. we quickly gained a lot of time on the group, maybe 20 seconds in a matter of a couple laps, but with only the two of us it quickly was brought back as soon as they recognized the danger of letting us get any further ahead. While recovering from that effort, the big break of the day checked out, and it was full of strong riders. Four in total got clear and at least two of them were guys I knew could win this race.

Sticking to my plan, I intended to bridge to this move while it was still in sight but after the gap was established. Other strong riders left in the pack had the same thought as me, but decided this was going to happen about half a lap sooner than I'd have liked. I was too far back, and was playing catch up with the bridging group from the beginning. Six of us tried, got clear, but only four made it across. I was not one of those four. Now the break was 8 riders, with 15 remaining in the bunch. Normally this wouldn't be a terrible situation, but the break contained all but three of the stronger cat 3s and it also contained no Juniors. That last point proved to be fatal as more than 50% of the remaining 15 were Juniors with no reason to chase the break at all. As such there was a lot of dead weight and only a couple of us making any effort to chase. Add to that SRS and CHCH blocking for their riders in the break, and there was pretty much nothing we could do.

The organizer Dylan was giving us good updates over the PA each lap, but unfortunately I think the updates the break was receiving were even more useful as they knew when the chase was gaining ground and were able to pick up their pace accordingly. I would take a pull of one or two full laps on the front and bring back 10 seconds on the break. Then someone else would hit the front and let the gap go out 20, so we were constantly losing ground despite the efforts of a few of us. Had there been another two or three taking pulls like mine, we would have had the break back in less than 6 laps but most of the guys capable of doing this were either in the break or Juniors, so it did not happen.

In the end, the Juniors picked things up in the last 5 laps and raced their race. For the rest of us it was over long before and I simply cruised in at the back of the bunch, disappointed.

Next: Binbrook 40k TT and lots of MTB

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