Ha. Climber’s physique my ass.
I’m a sucker for any good criterium, but I’ve always had a particularly soft spot in my heart for the old Corporate Criterium course in Santa Rosa. Vaguely L-shaped with sweeping corners, the course screams bunch sprint, but I’ve found it fairly conducive to breakaways nevertheless.
I had mixed feelings about today’s Apple Pie Crit — which was held on the aforementioned course — not because of the threatening rain, but because of the format: my scheduled race was a 90-minute-long, P/1/2/3 affair. Now, I was psyched for the 90-minute timeslot, as “real” criteriums of this length are becoming a scarcity in the district; it’s my firm belief that all P/1/2 criteriums should be 90 minutes long. However, it’s also my belief that P/1/2/3 races* are more dangerous** than necessary, and I wish promoters would stop running them as frequently as they do.
Before I discuss the race proper, I have a few grainy photographs of note. First, a Michael Hernandez spotting is in order.
I know, I know…you can’t see anything in that picture, but I can tell you that the black dot in the very center of the page is Mike, crouched in the hole between two haybales, uber-paparazzi style. What a creeper. Best of all, Hernandez entered the P/1/2/3 race, marking his return to racing instead of just yammering about bikes.
Next up, Aussie wonderboy Jono Coulter — who happens to run the biz at Fly V Australia, and is the source of my badass Fly V socks — showed off his classically styled euro mullet, meticulously executed with speed-lines buzzed into the sideburns.
There are about twelve people in the world who can pull off a look like that. Jono’s one of them.
OK. Bike racing time. This will be quick and self-deprecating, while the full-length (and equally self-deprecating) report will appear on the Race Reports Page in a day or two.
As is often the case in 90 minute criteriums, the real bike racing didn’t start until around minute thirty. The team traded off attacks and counterattacks, and everyone did a good job staying out of trouble in the sketchy field…nice job Billy, Justin, Joel and Rob. With 45 minutes remaining, I snuck into a five-man breakaway consisting of Kevin Klein (Yahoo?), Brian Bosch (Yahoo?), Jared Barrilleaux (Cal Giant), and Tim Farnham (Adageo). We rolled it pretty well, and everyone took strong pulls, affording a thirty second gap. I felt great, and my sprint hasn’t been awful lately, so I was optimistic.
Did I blow it? Yeah. What else is new.
Bosch, who had appeared to be fading throughout the day, attacked with one lap to go. While Barrilleaux and Farnham looked at each other, I tried to jump across to Bosch, who had earned himself a disturbingly large gap. I was reeled in on the second-to-last straightaway and was handily crushed in the four-man drag race for second place.
Fifth of five. Nice.
It was a good ride by Yahoo? to take the win. The rest of us just got beat, straight up. Better luck next time, I hope.
*We have categories and upgrade requirements for a reason. To avoid a massive uproar, I’ll leave it at that.
**To be fair, it sounds like at least one of the crashes in our race today was the fault of Cat 1/2 riders, so maybe this statement is partially unmerited.