Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lindsey Wilson


I was a mix of excited and terrified on the way to the crit on Sunday. On one hand I had heard from everyone how much fun crits were. On the other hand John provided the insight of ,"...everyone in Ds will most likely crash and suffer horrific injuries."

John is happy.
   While there was some joking involved there, the message still went through that this could be potentially dangerous. My nerves settled a bit as we took our warm up laps and rolled up to the line to get our talking to from the race officials. After listening to their mini-lecture we were off and racing. It didn't take long for some of the D riders to lose control as one guy went off the course in the very first turn. We settled into our groove quickly though.

Jane in the ladies B/C crit.
   After 3-4 laps we started lapping some of the dropped riders that would get pulled from the race. Everything was going well until a Notre Dame rider lost concentration for a few seconds and ended up slamming off the pavement and off into the grass. I still don't know how he managed to crash in the middle of the pack and not take out anyone with him, but we definitely got lucky there. As the 1 lap to go sign came up I was feeling good and sitting in 3rd right on the wheel of the guy in front of me. Everything was going well until we hit the backstretch into the slight headwind and the guy in front got tired and sat up.

John in the B crit, also getting boxed in.
   In hindsight I should have reacted better and much quicker, but I didn't and quickly had riders passing me on both sides. I couldn't find a way to get out and ended up losing a bunch of spots. I eventually was able to grab a new wheel, but it was too late and I was too far back. As we made the final turn and headed towards the finish line I tried to sprint back up towards the front, but it was too much too late and I crossed the line in 13th out of around 60.
Clay starting the TTT.
  I was happy with the finish considering it was my 2nd race and first crit and learned a good lesson in final lap strategy in the process. It definitely left me hungry to train harder and get some more race experience.
Don't ride at the back.

  The Lindsey Wilson (LW) road race marked my first ever Collegiate C race with the University of Michigan.    The C race was a total of 25 miles, constituting 1 lap of the LW course, which included a very steep climb at the end of each lap about 1000 meters from the finish.  At race start, the weather was absolutely perfect with a brisk headwind but nothing too troubling.  
The TTT weather was a little troubling.
  There were a three additional riders from the University of Michigan racing in the C group with me (Zach, Danny, Kevin), which gave me some confidence going in that we might be able to send a group of riders off of the front.  However, by the beginning of the first climb, Danny got jammed in the peloton and broke three spokes on the rim of his front wheel, and another rider slipped off the back due to the fast pace of the lead group.  With only two riders remaining, myself and Zach thought it best just to sit in with the lead group and save our legs for the three remaining climbs in the race.  
Marian girls racing with neon booties and saddle bags.
  The remainder of the race ended up being uneventful except for a few minor shoulder bumps from accelerations out of the turns.  Zach and I were able to hold our place in the lead group approaching the final climb, where we both knew the field would start to splinter, giving us a chance to accelerate up the climb for a shot at a possible podium. 
Filming from the top of the truck.
 About half way up the climb, my legs felt pretty fresh so I felt like I could at least finish in the top ten if not better, however, shortly after this, my chain began to separate at one of the links, causing my bike to miss every other pedal stroke due to gear skipping on the cassette.  This really took the wind out of my sails and made the climb really challenging towards the final 100 meters, but somehow I was able to hold my position and finished in 10th.
It's nice to finish that climb.