My first and only Criterium win
I was wondering whether the Criterium at Sandown was going to be cancelled as it was 39 degrees. Who cares, and I showed up with a 50/50 expectation, and thankfully it was on. I did a couple of light laps. Given the heat, wasn’t feeling 100%, but felt strong. I had no expectations of doing well & started at the back of the field. It was a really dry heat, and wasn’t sure how my body would react to the heat. The other guys around me may have been feeling crap as well. A rider darted off from the front, and no one chased him down.
I was still new to the crits so wasn’t sure what the right course of action was. Maybe it would be nice to push out, catch up to him & work together as a breakaway. Would ahve been my first breakaway. I figured I would work my way to the front, and decide then. When I went to overtake the Peleton I absolutely flew past the entire them as easy as you like. Which I thought was too good to be true.
I pushed off and paced myself out to the other rider. It took me half a lap to catch him on the main straight. When I caught him, I’d figure I’d rest a little on his wheel. Then see about working with him. He suddenly cracked and died in the ass. I was suddenly wondering what to do. Looking over my shoulder, we had about 300 metres on the Peleton.
I could drop back, and feel like an ass, or I could go for it……
I went for it. Dropping the hammer and TT’d it, and after a lap caught the group in front of me. I had caught the B graders who were actually slowed than me at that stage. Frustratingly I couldn’t tailgate them or overtake them. So had to keep about 30 metres behind them for 3 laps. After lap 7, I fell away. I was riding in no man’s land on a 39 degree day and was fanging it. There was clear skies behind me. I had a feeling I could do it solo and win this day. After a few more laps I started hurting, and wasn’t slowing down.
But hurt more and more to keep up the same pace.
I had no idea how far ahead I was as could not see anyone behind me. With two laps to go, when I went through the main straight I made the sign begging the marshall to wave his bell with a grin on my face. I thought I had it, but was sure going to be glad when it was over.
Soon enough the bell rang and I was running on empty. At the top of the hill on the back straight, I looked over my shoulder and saw a group of half a dozen riders fighting away. Around 300 metres behind. I had no idea which grade they were in, and hoped they were in one of the higher grades. Keeping the intensity high just in case it was my group. All I had to do was keep a lead and I had it.
My first and only Criterium win
Coming into the main straight I looked over my shoulder and the group were a little over 50 metres behind me. Given my speed on the straight I knew I could hold them off. As I crossed the line cockily did the no hands. The Dumb & Dumber salute made famous by Robbie McCewan at the Tour de France and got yelled at by the Marshall in doing so. The group crossed the finish line just behind me & were my grade. We pulled over and most of them were almost purple in the faces, and I couldn’t believe how much they were huffing and puffing. One guy said “I couldn’t believe we couldn’t chase down that guy!”. I was on cloud 9.
I ride well in the heat, and knew that was a large factor. It wasn’t a windy day as well which helped me be able to ride solo. Was a nice ride though.