My second criterium of 2006 (my first crit of the season was Nelson's Landing, see pics in a past post)is now under my belt…and I’m thankful that I finished it with the pack. This was the fastest race of my renewed career in bicycle racing. It was Sunday morning in the city of Brea. Brea is found in Orange County, California. Hundreds of racers gathered here for the Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium
I'm in Black (2nd from right) Wearing "Team Block" kit
I decided to enter the Masters’ 50+ category, knowing that I would be up against Cat 1, 2, and 3 riders. I’m still a Cat 5 but only have 1 more mass start race to upgrade to Cat 4. I thought about taking the easy way out and entering the Cat 5 race but decided a fast criterium is no place to be with a bunch of raw beginners, especially if you value your skin. Good thing too, as the over 30, Cat 5s had at least 3 crashes during their race.
It was a big field, 65 or 75 very fit riders 49 years old up to 54 years of age. I knew I was in trouble when the race announcer said, “there are riders in this race with more than 35 years of racing experience.” Darn, if I hadn’t stopped racing back in the mid 1980s…
The race started and a fast pace was set right at the beginning – common to crits, so I just ignored my heart rate monitor and waited for the pace to settle, and I waited. Lap after lap went by and the pace seemed to just get faster. I knew I was in for a tough crit. The course was mildly technical, with three 90 degree right turns, and two sweeping right turns. The road was wide though and handled the big field well. The tough part was the slight elevation gain at the back of the loop. My average speed at the end of the race was 26 mph and I only finished 32! My heart rate monitor showed an average HR of 165 for the race but I never saw a HR below 170 whenever I looked down at the display. You can take a look at the data via motionbased.com
I tried riding on the inside, I tried the middle of the field, and was happiest on the outside. The guys in this race handled their bikes well. There was much bumping of the handlebars but not a single accident occurred during this race. Finally, the race announcer called out 5 laps to go and the pace settled down…for about ¾ of a lap. I tried to move up through the draft and position myself within the top 20 riders but my bike handling skills are still not quite there and the raw speed to the group made it tough for me to change my position. Not to mention that I was beat and was glad to just to finish in the middle of the field. Check out the results at SoCalCycling.com
. Unfortunately, I’m listed as the unknown rider as I crossed the line on the outside, and inside riders blocked my number from the camera. You have 15 minutes to fix the results but I missed that time. The SCNCA has me listed though, and you can view those results at scnca.org
I've got one more mass start race and I can upgrade to Cat 4. My plans are to ride the Anger Management Crit
in Dominguez Hills (Los Angeles)this Sunday (Feb. 19,2006.) I'll be with the Masters 45+, Cat 4/5. See you there.
Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium Race Pics Below