Lots of good racing, just not very good finishing

Not much space on these narrow lanes

Not much space on these narrow lanes

I didn’t expect much going in to Saturday and Sunday’s races – I don’t have a good feel for crits, and sprinting has been my bane since forever. I like to keep a fast tempo and split people off from behind. This course, however, with its’ 8 turns, and short straights, was just not going to play to my strengths. I decided to make it as much about the team as possible. I would lead out and try to get as many Mirage guys up to the finish as possible. I think it worked. Sorta.

On Saturday, Jason and Andy handled things really well up front in the first 1/3rd of the race, taking or challenging for a lot of primes, but I wasn’t able to contribute until about the last quarter or so. I ended up leading the last two laps completely, just going as absolutely hard as I could, and trying to avoid getting passed. But in the end, right before the last hairpin, I got swarmed, and ended up no better than like 26th or so. Andy took 3rd, however, and we also had a 7th and maybe 10th.

On Sunday, we had a much smaller race, and my confidence on the course was a lot higher. I challenged for a bunch of primes, actually taking one, and once again, I ended up on the front for the last 4 laps or so. Again, it was a sucker’s position. I tried everything I could to escape in the last lap, but my acceleration wasn’t strong enough, and I ended up getting swarmed again, finishing in the 30’s. One rider finished 7th, which was okay.

You do NOT want to enter a turn with the inside leg down. This was in prep for a right hand sweeper.

You do NOT want to enter a turn with the inside leg down. This was in prep for a right hand sweeper.

I think the important thing was that we still communicated as a team, helped each other out, attacked, blocked, chased, and kind of made the race interesting. The younger, less experienced guys are learning quickly, and I’m having fun with it. I’m also happy that I’m actually THERE at the end, instead of getting spit out the back like in previous years. I’ll train my brains out in May and see if that leads to some better results at the end of the month, as well as in to June.

Props to Andy, Jason, Chase, Shawn, and the other guys who pushed like hell for the 60 minutes we were out there both days. I gained a lot of confidence in my bike handling capabilities, and pushed myself a lot harder than I would have if I’d been the only one on the course in a Mirage jersey.

Chapeau to Murff and David, who went 1,2 on BOTH days. I’m calling Murff the “Blue Blur” from here on out. He was blazingly fast when he needed to be. And 3 wins in 2 weekends is pretty darned impressive. David will be his teammate soon – they may be pretty hard to challenge.


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