Livin' the Dream

Livin' the Dream

About Me

I am a sophomore at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, majoring in journalism. My passion is cycling. I am a category 4 bike racer and my absolute dream would be to turn pro one day. My more realistic goal is to become a journalist for the sport of cycling and eventually move on to become a broadcaster for the sport.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Race Report: MABRA Senior Criterium Champioships

            Yesterday I tackled the MABRA (Mid-Atlantic Bicycle Racing Association) Senior Criterium Championships. I competed in the category 4 race; my goal is to be category 3 by the end of this month, so I plan to race hard for every race I do. Criterium, or crit, racing is not quite my forte, though, as I am a small light climber and excel at hill climbs. I pack absolutely no sprint so the only chance I have to do well in a crit is to attack.

            This MABRA course was 4 corners with two slightly down-hill sections and two slightly uphill sections. Between corners two and four there was a tough headwind making a break difficult. I lined up for the race 10 minutes early, as is my habit for all races. That may seem crazy (too early), but because I don’t have a great burst of speed I always lose a couple of places at the start. By lining up on the front row I am still able to be in the top 10 places after the initial sprint off the line.

            The race started fast, but was well within my comfort zone. I prefer the multi-hour road races, so a 45-minute crit is a bit different. About 15 minutes into the race I attacked on the stretch between corners 3 and 4. I attacked Cancellara style, in the saddle. I hammered across the start/finish line and when I looked back one other guy had gone with me. We began taking half lap pulls with him taking the downhill part, which took advantage of his bulk, and me the uphill part, as I am a strong hill climber. Because there were still 22 laps to go, I had to be fully committed in order to try to make the break survive to the finish. After about 5 laps out front the Officials rang the bell for a preme. The rider I was with let me take the preme uncontested. We lasted about 5 more laps before being caught by the field with 12 laps to go.

            I have a similar riding style as Jens Voigt, I tend to rock my upper body when riding. I have worked over the years to try to limit this because that is power that I am keeping from my legs. Yet, when the announcer noticed this and started calling me Jens Voigt in the breakaway, it motivated me to just keep pounding away and try to survive.

            As the laps wound down I went in a couple of other moves, but nothing-lasted more than a half of a lap. With 5 laps to go the field slowed and a rider punched it hard up the right side of the road. It was a great move and he immediately got a gap. The peloton was hesitant and I went to the front with 3 laps to go and drilled the pace for half a lap, bringing the rider back. I peeled off and positioned myself perfectly inside the top 5 positions. At just over one lap to go I made my move, attacking with everything I had left. I attacked at the same spot I did before on the stretch between corners 3 and 4. I flew past the start/finish and dove into corner one. I took a glance over my shoulder and saw, to my amazement, that the field was on my wheel single file. It was as if someone had tasered me, my legs felt like jell-o.  The peloton flew by me and I rolled across the line behind them with nothing left.
             Overall, I was pretty happy with my performance. I did what I set out to do, attack and shake up the peleton, even though my legs felt awful. A feat, given that I had crashed the week before, had a terrible training week, and was greatly sleep deprived having woken up early to watch the Tour. This race has given me the confidence to look forward. Next week’s race is a hard hilly 50-mile road race. Absolutely perfect for me.


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