Sunday afternoon I competed in a local bike race here in Hawaii. It was a criterium put on by Momentum Multisport (great triathlon bike shop) at the Kaneohe Marine Core Base. I wanted to race just because I havenâ€™t been in a pack for a while, and the crit format of short loops is pretty similar to most ITU races. The race was an hour plus one lap (they start the timer at an hour, when it gets to zero they call â€œbell lapâ€ and then the race is over), and it took me a big chunk of that time to really get into the race. We werenâ€™t going that fast, but the accelerations out of the corners were killing me for the first 20 minutes. And then I attacked.
I got away with my friend Ray from Boca Hawaii. As soon as we were far enough ahead to really call it a â€œ2 man breakâ€ my legs began to scream at me for choosing to attack so early. I silently prayed for us to be caught quickly and a little less than three laps later we were.
I went to the back and talked to my old roommate Tai for a bit, then we threw a short attack together. It didnâ€™t work. I countered from the front of the group. Obviously, that didnâ€™t work either. The thing is, when they caught me, the other riders would just sit on my wheel and slow down, rather than anyone countering or just letting me get sucked up into the pack.
So I threw a counter to my counter attack, which actually worked better than the first two (but still failed). After that we only had about 10 minutes left, so I sat back to see if someone else would work. The group slowed way down as the Tradewind Cycling Team guys tried to force this guy Tony to pull. Tony would swing wide and try to fall back into the group, but the Tradewind guys would sit on his wheel and keep him in front. We slowed to turtle speed.
Thatâ€™s when I got bored, and irritated with such a stupid tactic (anything I find boring qualifies as a â€˜stupidâ€™ tactic). With 6 or 7 minutes I saw that the Tradewind guys gave Tony about a bike length gap. I threw down some watts and got right in front of Tony as he sprinted and grabbed my wheel. Somehow we managed a huge gap within the first straight away, and we continued to work together and extend that gap until about a third of a lap to go.
The last stretch to the finish was a long straight downwind stretch, so, rather than a sprint, Tony and I had a drag race to the finish. I nosed him out for the win! It was exciting, I had no intentions of vying for a win. It was really fun!