Ronde van Brisbeen Criterium
Elite Cat 5, 8:00AM
Team Mates: Dexter, Dean, Martin, Brandon, John, Peter, Dan, Charlie
I was reasonably prepared for my first real (USCF sanctioned, non Early Bird, and non twilight) criterum at Sierra Point/Brisbane. Last weekend, I rode out to preview the course. Even though I previewed the left turn after the hairpin incorrectly, I had an idea of the flow and bumps of the course, and I knew I would struggle from the hairpin and the two corners following it.
The Men’s E5 race started at 8:00AM, which, luckily for us, meant that we would just miss the rain. I staged close to the front of the start line near the other 8 PV members. Even though the field had a full 50 racers, it seemed small compared to the Sierra Point cross race field of 150 a few months back. The first lap was a rolling, mentor paced lap, and apparently the second lap was the first race lap. I was caught off guard by the acceleration and fell back slightly during the first race lap.
I was very uncomfortable during the first race lap. There were lots of accelerations followed immediately by decelerations, especially leading up to the hairpin and the following left turn. During the first few laps, I was passed every time I came out of the hairpin. I also felt uncomfortable going through the narrow left-right section after the hairpin. Eventually, I was spit out the back, and I joined a ~5 man group. Shortly after officials pulled us off the course to (rejoin) restart with the pack.
I was not thrilled about the first restart. The officials did not give us the “go” to rejoin the pack until nearly the entire pack was past us. During the Early Birds, we were up to speed well before the pack reached us. The group of us struggled to accelerate enough to catch and stay with the group. Eventually, I was pulled to restart again, and this time I saw teammates Martin and Dan pulled aside as well.
The second restart, they started us before the leaders reached us. This was much better, except I had some trouble getting integrated back into the fast moving group. Although, I got better at hairpin turns toward the end of the race, I was still much slower than most people going into and out of it. I finished the remainder of my laps working together with a Folsom Bike rider.
Overall, I thought the course was technical, but fun. I felt I could have pushed (a lot?) harder, but I felt unconfident making the tight hairpin turn and riding more than 2 abreast through the narrow left-right section. I think I gained a lot of experience for next year’s Brisbane race.
Race mapped on garmin
More pictures on flickr