2010 Modesto Criterium
Weather: Hotter than Fabian Cancellara.
Teammates: Billy Crayon, Joelle Robertson, Justin Fraga (oh wait, no…he bailed and raced in Winters instead).
Placing: Worse than I’d hoped, but better than you’re assuming.
OK, I’ll be honest: I’m currently hopped up on a crazy, electric guitar-heavy techno song and a beer or two, and it’s put me in the mood to write yet another race report. Perhaps it’s a bad sign that I need a pump-up ritual in order to write these things, but given that I’ve stopped short of snorting cocaine — so far at least — I think it remains a healthy habit.
Billy and I rolled to Modesto last Saturday with an interesting agenda: race in the Central Valley, crush the drive back through the Bay Area, and race again in Scotts Valley that evening. Have I previously mentioned that I’m addicted to bike racing?
As you probably know, Modesto is a hilly locale, but somehow they managed to find a few flat roads to put together a nice L-shaped criterium course. Apparently they’re big fans of botts dots in Modesto, which can make for some interesting cornering from time to time.
Given that the NCNCA was privy to…I don’t know…six races on the same afternoon, the field at Modesto was small. As usual, Yahoo? sent about twelve riders to the race, which makes total sense when you’re an aspiring Pro team with an ungodly budget.
Fields of ~40 riders are perfect for breakaway riding. Any larger, and breaks are pulled back by the sheer momentum of a large field. Any smaller, however, and it seems like every rider in the race feels left out when an attack goes up the road. In spite of the best efforts of solo dudes like Chris Turner (LGBRC) and Elliot Jarramillo (RH Villa) — not to mention copious attacks from Billy Goat and the Joel Train — the early breaks were brought back by the collective angst of a bunch of depressed bike racers coping with the fact that they had spent their hard-earned money to drive to Modesto for a bike race.
With about 15 minutes remaining in the event, Yahoo? launched their miniature rider, Vince Owens, who dangled nearly twenty seconds off the front of the race like Lance’s sagging, solitary testicle. Was I worried? Yes. Vince is a powerful dude, and he was going to win the race solo without some concerted effort by the rest of us. He was aided by the fact that Yahoo? had three other riders in the race to demoralize any aspiring attackers from bridging across.
Given that I’m perpetually as demoralized as one can get, I wasn’t particularly miffed that Kevin Klein (Yahoo?) was sitting on my wheel as I bridged the gap with ~10 laps remaining in the event. I also wasn’t miffed when Brian Bosch (Yahoo?) came across to us with a Williams Cycling rider shortly thereafter.
I wasn’t even that bummed out when I realized that I was now sitting in a five-man breakaway with three Yahoo? riders; after all, chilling off the front with a bunch of Yahoo?s is my favorite thing to do these days.
Klein was sitting on the back of the break the entire time, so I took dummy pulls at about 70%.
Owens attacked with a half lap to go, nearly hurtling off-course courtesy of an errant botts dot. Not willing to let Yahoo dangle their testicle for the win, I brought him back in short order. Heading into the final corner, Bosch jumped with Klein on his wheel. Bosch won the race handily, and I barely pipped Klein for second.
Now, I’m not super good at ‘dem “Mathematics,” but I think 2/5 is better than 3/3, which was the result of my last adventure with the Yahoo?s. Sure, I wish I had won the race, but given that both Bosch and Klein fancy themselves “sprinters” — and I fancy myself a “fat, drunk midget” — I’ll take it.
Tactics: F (I let Billy wear the pink sunglasses. That was the biggest mistake of the day.)
Style: C (Sprinting isn’t a very stylish thing for a “breakaway whore” to do.)
Teamwork: A+ (Billy drove nearly 200 miles just so that I could race every criterium possible.)
Finish: A+ (I finished, instead of dropping out of the race as soon as I realized that Yahoo? comprised 1/4 of the race.)
Overall: Just quit bike racing. (Find a hobby that doesn’t require you to write snarky race reports, alone, on a Friday night, drinking beer and listening to techno.)