Yesterday was the kick off of crit season and the second race with riders under the Rodeo banner. (The first was the Carter Lake road race done by Patrick Charles).
The course for the crit was almost as brutal as can be created for crit racing. A short and intense wall led into the start-finish area, followed by a mean climb in to a headwind, followed by a fast s-turn descent through some tight 90 degree corners… followed by that first brutal hill again. The effort profile for the course actually looked like perfectly spaced interval efforts. Sometimes only a few hundred watts and some coasting were required, but a few times per lap the wattage spiked to 500-800 watts for extended periods during the tough bits. The net effect was that the races all but shattered shortly after starting and often became loosely spaced TT efforts for dropped racers. There was nowhere to hide from the course, nowhere to sit in and rest, each racer just had to go go go until the bell.
The good thing about a race this hard is that once you’ve done it, the rest of the season looks a bit tame. Sure, other crits will be difficult, but at least they have spots to rest and hide in the group. Oredigger will always be one of the tougher crits on the calendar, and it’s a great way to blow out the cobwebbs, test the nerves, and get that first big one out of the way.
In the 5s race Jon Magistro held tough for a solid finish besides being ran into a curb on a turn and leaving some flesh behind. He didn’t let a wreck stop him though, and he hopped back on the bike, dug deep, and notched his first result of the season.
In the 3/4 race Matt Sahannon, Peder Horner, and Stephen Fitzgerald lined up, let fly some nervous jokes about having kids and being slow, then sucked it up and sprinted their brains out. Our efforts were rewarded with a crash, a strong pack finish, and a 5th place on the day. Not bad for our first outing! More important than the results though (in my opinion), was simply overcoming the intimidation of the course and getting out there in the first place.
Here is a Rodeo cutdown of the 3/4 race. It shows how the race started fast but quickly dwindled to just a half dozen racers near the front. Good times!