Sunny King was my 4th crit. It was also the largest field I have raced on the road.
I did decent in all of them, I suppose. Grant Park being the worst since it has more of a climb.
Sunny King was a 0.7 mile loop with some horrid reflectors and a gate near turn 3 that threatened to take me out more than once during the event. I learned how to move over by sliding my elbow into someone else (not my style) to avoid a crash. I learned how to hang on when it went hard from the start. I learned I don’t really have a lot of controlling the field at all but more of a defensive “avoid that cyclist because she doesn’t hold her line” and “oh crap she almost took me out” to realizing I have some power behind the pedals, just need more skill and experience to put it all together. I can read all the books and watch all the you tube videos on crits and skill, but actually going out there and executing is a whole different thing. Stepping out in faith.
I also might add. I had another start line snafu happen. And, looks like the team coach caught a pic of it. Yep, that is me on the far right squatting down trying to put my stupid chain back on. I am hoping next weekend I have no issues like number pinned on wrong, etc… I felt my blood pressure rise, cortisol released in a massive stress reaction (ha), and this fight-or-flight sensation of, “Oh my gosh, I’m not going to be able to race!” Someone from another team helped me, and I think I know who she is and need to reach out and thank her profusely again (THANKS LAURA!). Talk about almost missing the race by a couple of minutes. It was close. Glad I have some proof here in picture. Also glad that I can still bend over and touch my toes at my age! Never again. Not sure how to prevent short of starting in the little chain ring,but I will continue to work on leg speed so that little chain ring won’t hurt me at the start. Maybe it’s a SRAM thing?
I did get really tired of the accelerating out of the turns and braking hard at the next turn to avoid crashing into the back wheel of another cyclist. So, next to the last lap I took off TT-style and went hard for about 2/3 of the lap and then the last lap a crash that missed me somehow and a 10th place finish. I wish it would have helped my teammates more or something. It was just a hard race. It was part of part of a plan and we didn’t get to execute much, but I sort of tried. I need more motor!
It was not as exciting as it may have been had a teammate not gone down in the crash. Next time I’d like to pull her out and have her sling-shot off my pull. How fun would that be? I don’t know the proper terminology of all that, but I see something fabulous in my head sometimes and it’s me going out like a mad woman and her drafting and then taking off just in time to land a heck of a lead into the finish. There is not a whole lot of glory at the end with a finish like that. You don’t walk away with any bragging rights or anything really but a lot of wishing it had ended differently for us as a team. I will take a 10th place in this field any day though likely would have resulted in more like a 14th without the crash. Who knows. I did get 1st place Cat 4, so I will smile a little bit. And this time I didn’t just have a certain rider on my wheel the whole time like at Grant Park last year. My teammate Sarah got 2nd in Cat 4 and Jodie 3rd in Cat 5. Just being able to race with the team was the best part of all though this one I hear may be the toughest crit we do all year.