Yesterday was the 2nd day or do-over race here in Dallas at the Matrix Challenge. It was the exact same course run at the exact same time, just a day later. The day was different though. It was 15 degrees warmer, mid to upper 80’s, and more windy. That made a huge difference to a lot of the riders in the race.
The wind made the course much harder. And the heat, even though it wasn’t scorching, increased the attrition rate dramatically. All around, it was a pretty hard day, especially for me.
It doesn’t matter what you do for training, there is no way you can replicate the efforts put out in the first criteriums of the season. Or any criterium for that matter. It is impossible. I know some of you might think that is wrong, but let me tell you, it isn’t. We probably rode 50-60 laps of this course. The were always two corners you had to jump out of at nearly 100%. And at least 2 more out of the 8 that you usually had to jump out of pretty hard. So that is a minimum of 200 full out efforts in 90 minutes. And it could be as many as 250 +. Can you imagine saying you going to go out and do a speed workout and do some jumps and think, I should do around 200? I think not. You might do 10-20, but no way 200.
Anyway, the race was hard. At least for me. I felt better most of the race than the day before, but not good enough to participate really. I just rode around mildly gassed the whole day. I had some good moments, but mainly I was hurt. I don’t know how many riders out of the 80 finished, but it was pretty small compared to the day before.
They had some pretty good primes both days. Heath Blackgrove won $400 for a small points series over 3 laps in the middle of the race. There were lots of $100 and $150 primes. I didn’t contest one.
It looked like it was going to come down to a field sprint when they switched from time to laps. There were 5 laps to go, which meant less than 8 minutes the speed we were going, but finally a Mexican guy and a Elbowz guy rolled off the front. Elbowz had at least 3 more riders at the front and it was done. The last couple laps, they tried to let more guys go, but it was pretty much all together on the last lap, other than the 2 that were away.
I was in pretty good position with 1/2 a lap to go. I got into a little bit of an intimidation spate with Jason Waddell with 2/3 a lap to go. I came up on Jason’s inside before a corner and he was going to loose the Elbowz leadout, so he decided to push me on my hip from behind. I’m not sure if Jason realizes that isn’t a good position to be in. The guy ahead has way more ability to control the situation than the rider behind. It wasn’t a big deal, but I am absolutely against riders touching each other on purpose for any reason in a bike race, so I threw an elbow his way and just kept going.
The next long stretch, I had got up to maybe 5 or 6 guys back, but was in the wind. I somehow got into the middle of the Elbowz leadout, bumping Tyler Jewel off Heath I think. Tyler told me to move and give them a little respect. It is amazing to me that a guy might think that with 300 meters to go in a criterium, with 4 tight corners before the finish, that there might be some form of bike racing etiquette to allow a rider to have a team mates wheel. Maybe he was just nervous or something, but it is a free-for-all at that point and there isn’t anything close to that etiquette there. But, I was out in the wind too much the last 200 meters and could barely get to the line after blowing a couple corners. I came in 8th in the field sprint, which was 10th in the race.
I was pretty happy to be finished with the weekend. I hope I got some kind of form out of the races. I don’t know. I can’t be too displeased because I wasn’t really concentrating on the races as much as some other things, but it is painful racing that way. I’m heading back up to Kansas for a day before heading back South to Joe Martin. It is going to be a busy week I think.