Soldier Field Criterium #1 – June 17

After mentally and nutritionally getting prepared for the race all day, I still wasn’t registered when I left work around 5pm. I was nervous because my knee was bothering me for the last couple of weeks and I had to take a week off the bike, besides this was going to be my first race of the real season.

Once I got to the race area, the first thing Andrew asked me was if I was registered. ‘Of course, no’, then he said ‘they are already full’. Well, good news for me; I was really nervous, wasn’t sure if I was ready to race and didn’t know if I wanted to do this. I put my name on the waitlist and went to ride off the Lake Front with Big John. We got back and almost all of the team was there, so many people were registered getting ready for their races, this made me ‘wanna race!’, but I still had time to hear from that waitlist. So we went to warm-up at Northerly Island. It was less than fifteen minutes before the start, when they told me I was in and hand me out my bib-number. After a couple laps on the race course we were in line for the start.

I was in the second row just behind Dan at the start, after the start I was probably fifth or sixth wheel. However I lost ground so quick, after the first couple laps I was riding in the midpack, considering a pack of 75 riders that wasn’t really good. My weakness was the turns, I’m not quite sure if I was trying to take the wrong line on the turns or slowing down too much or what else? But I know ‘more the turns are, the worse the race is for me’. Halfway into the race I was at the back of the big bunch probably 30-40 riders in front of me. I was able to gain position on the beck stretch but then lost it in the last two turns before the finish. Once I was riding in the drops on the final stretch and couldn’t handle the bike quite well into the first turn and ended up taking it unnecessarily wide and lost a few seconds. Another poor cornering was happened in turn five somehow I exit the ~180 turn really wide, people behind me (people I passed on the back stretch) passed me on my left, where I should be riding, even worse; I was too fast and too inside for the last turn, so I slowed down more going into turn 6, let a couple riders pass me. All these bad cornering made me work harder on the straight portions of the race, I was strong enough to hold on to the main pack as every other team member was getting droped, but due to poor handling I couldn’t do better than the back of the main pack. I believe I finished somewhere around 20th.

All the people cheering up for me; that definitely helped, a lot. I felt lot stronger when I heard Vanessa, Bryan, Nate, Mike, Dean and those others I couldn’t remember now, yelling my name. Thanks a lot guys and it wouldn’t be such fun without you around.

Not racing for three and a half months, taking a week off the bike recently, skipping a lot of weekend training, I cannot complain about how I finished the race, also my first race of ‘09 as a Spidermonkey.

1 Comment

  1. Welcome back, Can!

    You'll be back in form once your knee heals up properly! Glad to know it didn't bother you too much.

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