RACE REPORT #13 Tour of Utah – Stage 2 CAT 4
The second stage of the day was an afternoon criterium, held on a course through the parking lots at Thanksgiving Point.
A Criterium by definition is a multi-lap race on a closed course typically with a lap less than one mile. This style of racing has bred a unique athlete, which stresses speed and bike handling. Action is never more than a minute or two away, as riders cover lap after lap.
I had spent the time between races eating 3 bagels, drinking gallons of water, and laying in the shade. Also getting more than a bit nervous to race the ‘crit’. Some guys thrive on this type of race. Not me. Sure, they can be alot of fun, but can be carnage-filled as well. Especially in the category I was racing in. High on fitness, short on handling and self-preservation instincts…
I was more afraid of crashing and not being able to continue the race (tomorrow and then next day) than I was about actually crashing. I really wanted to see this thing through to the end. Sure enough, on lap two, a kid threw his chain pedaling out of a corner and slid sideways missing me by an inch. I was so mentally checked out it wasn’t even funny. I tried to surf the back for a while, but that is no place to be in a crit. The inevitable gap formed and just like that I was off the back with a few others. I wasn’t too upset, but used the time to actually ride faster through the corners and practice my lines in a little bit of a smaller group. We worked it for a while, but ended up getting pulled out of the race (due to the main group almost lapping us) with about 5 to go. That was a bummer, but considering the fact that I hadn’t ridden one of these races since 1994 that was ok. I accomplished my main goal and lived to fight another day. There was a pretty good crash about halfway through that took out 4 guys, but I think they were all able to continue on – just a little worse for wear.