Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Tour of Bloomington Day 1: Criterium

Day 1: Criterium
Almost DNF to 6th Place

The course was a 0.7 mile, clockwise, 6 corner circuit with a gradual climb out of the final corner, reaching its steepest grade between corners one and two.  The start/finish was located near the intersections of Kirkwood and Lincoln Streets.
The entire course itself was riddled with all sorts of road hazards like potholes, uneven bricks, untapered sidewalks and incomplete pavement.  The most dangerous corner was the final corner.  The apex of the final corner had bricks about a half inch above the pavement which would cause the tire to bounce during hard cornering.  I was just glad that they remembered to at least sweep the corners to remove as much loose dirt as possible.

The 3/4 race I signed up for was 45 minutes long and had about 57 starters.

The First Half: Riding Through a Mechanical
I unfortunately started towards the back of the pack and only gained a few positions before the first corner.  Since someone had planned to attack right away and hold a very fast tempo, so it was almost impossible to move up in position for the first several laps.  As the initial laps progressed, gaps would frequently form.  As soon as the rider in front of me showed some weakness, I had to jump out of the draft and begin my bridge.  While I was still bridging gaps, I encountered a mechanical mishap that I've never experienced with before- my rear shifter seized up forcing me to ride on the 11 tooth ring!

At the moment the shifter seized, the group was still strung out in a single file.  I tried squeezing the brakes and shifting up/down to release the shifter, but it wouldn't budge.  Since I had already wasted time and lost positions, the thought of forfeiting started to go through my mind, especially since I was still in the process of catching the main group.  I ended up chasing for four laps stuck in my 11 tooth ring until I finally bridged every gap up to the main group.  While drafting and trying to catch my breath, I was able to take a closer look at my shifter where I noticed that the internal lever within the shifter had slipped out.  As soon as I fixed my rear shifter, I sat in the group to recover for a few laps- I was flat out exhausted.

The Last Lap: Moving Up
Based on what I noticed from chasing the main group, I learned that the two easiest places to pass were the straightaways located between corners #1-2 and #4-5.  It took everything I had to force myself to accelerate in these planned locations, but it paid off because I managed to move up about 20-25 positions before the final corner, but I still sat about 15 positions before the final corner.  I started my sprint as soon as I exited the corner which allowed me to pass several riders.  I unfortunately missed the "payout" position of fifth place by a tire and rim!  Although I wasn't able to pull off a podium, I was still happy with my result, especially after the mechanical mishap.
The finishing picture, the parallel green lines represent the finish line.
Almost had it!

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