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A 2006 Race Report

This could end up being my most abbreviate race report, especially since there was a slightly bigger race concluding today than the LA Wings Criterium.  Apparently, there was also some French race concluding today.

As noted, today was the LA Wings Criterium, sanctioned through CBR on the Long Beach course, which circles what feels like the last piece of untouched land in the area.  Indeed, Rick Schulze commented that raced on the same course twenty years ago.  I told Rick that if I had the money, I would buy the property just so I could have my own criterium course.  If I could do that, I’d more likely get a course here because I think I would much rather ride in circles here than in Long Beach, even though Snoop Dogg ain’t from Encinitas.

On the way up through Pendleton, I got sprinkled on a little bit.  I wasn’t quite sure what to think about that, other than to hope that it wasn’t raining in Long Beach.  I arrived to overcast conditions for the 30+ 3/4 race.  It was actually cooler there than here and indeed quite a respite from the weather we’ve had here, which could properly be described as yucky and even more so since some people think you don’t need air conditioning in Encinitas. 

Rick and I were the sole Swami’s for the 30+ 3/4 race.  In addition to it being relatively cool and overcast, there seemed to be almost no wind at all.  It seemed relatively easy as these things go, even though the average speed was right around 26.  At around five to go, it was on so to speak.  In the end, I got stuck on the other side of the pack from the Vegas Velo train and alas, could not get into a decent sprinting position in the last lap. 

Not terribly long after the 3/4 race finished, it started raining, albeit lightly.  I think everyone was in a bit of shock since you really don’t expect to get rained on in Los Angles in July.  Fortunately, it was a relatively light and warm rain.  I was just hoping it would stop before my next race because I didn’t bring booties and more important, don’t like riding in the rain.  Racing in the rain is actually better than riding in the rain.  I’m not sure why but it just is.

Luckily, the rain stopped, the clouds lifted somewhat and the road dried before the 30+ 1/2/3 race.  It did not start well.  A Taylor Made guy, known as Turtle, attacked from the start line and that really, really hurt, especially since the wind had picked up.  Indeed, the weather had changed a lot since the earlier race.  Now it was hot and windy.  The early part of the race was really hard with lots of attacks.  A break with Jose eventually got away.  Since there really wasn’t much I could do to block, I just tried to sit relatively near the front, but far enough back that I could sit on somebody else’s wheel, even during an acceleration.  For a while after Jose’s break got away, things were fairly decent in the pack except for the fact that guys were weaving all over the road when they moved up so that no one could draft them in the cross wind. 

After the break got fairly well established, Thurlow (who won the time trial and road race at nationals and finished second behind his teammate in the criterium) decided it was time to chase.  He attacked in the gutter approaching a corner, which wasn’t particularly safe.  The guys really didn’t want him to get away.  I thought that I might get dropped in the chase.  Not surprisingly, Thurlow got away.  Even after Thurlow got away, it wasn’t easy because it was like an interval session in the pack except for the fact that the hard parts were irregular and you couldn’t just stop when it got too hard unless you didn’t mind getting dropped..

I did some riding at the front, including closing down some gaps at speeds over 30mph as it appeared the field would split.  It reinforced my need to be careful in these hard races, because it’s so hard to get back one after going hard.

Towards the end, we got lapped by the break even though we still averaged around 26mph or so.  That set in motion a somewhat crazy final few laps as a lot of guys jumped on the break.  In the end, I was just glad to finish, having completely emptied two bottles during the 60-minute race.

Not being completely battered, I decided that since I was already there and wanted to be tired enough to not feel like I was missing out on too much by not being able to ride tomorrow, I would also do the 3s race.  Fortunately, there was not too much time in between the races to reconsider even though I was thinking more about a nap than racing. 

The 3s race seemed quite easy in comparison to the previous race.  I just sat in the back and discovered that I felt a lot better than I thought I did.  Although it got fast at times, it wasn’t crazy fast or for really extended periods of time.  Unfortunately, I discovered that I had no kick at all towards the end and could do nothing towards the end.  The funny thing was that it also averaged 26.

At the end of the day, I had right around 150 minutes at 26mph plus time spent on warm up laps, recovery laps and cruising around.  I think I did 77 miles today.  If only there had been a 1/2/3 race instead of a Pro/1/2, then I could have done another 90 minutes if I could have finished.

I apologize for the brevity of this report, however I am tired and struggling to stay awake.  I’ve heard that some people sleep late and rest on weekends.  I don’t quite understand.

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