the forecast was right, it rained about 5 minutes after I took this picture. the course in fremont was absolutely saturated with water while we were doing the clinic. today’s overall lesson was getting comfortable with moving through the pack during a race. the mentors in our group focused on rotating from the back to the front of the pack – riding in a box (though our shape was more like a long rectangle), smooth turns through riders to get to the front of the group, and pace-lining. and as soon as our lesson was over, the rain started coming down a bit harder. then as we lined up, it picked up even more. many of us had rain jackets on, covering the numbers on our jerseys. I planned on removing my shell before the race started but the weather was looking so grime that I decided to keep it on. no worries though, the race official said that since this race didn’t really count, it was okay to have our numbers covered – thank goodness, because I wasn’t about to remove 6 pins from my jersey to re-pin my number on my jacket. I don’t think anyone else wanted to either.
anyway, the race started, and steve took the front. his tactic seemed rather straight forward: ride fast to keep warm. I followed him up to the front, but knew that this wouldn’t be the break that’d split the peleton. of course, two laps later, the break formed – a huge chunk of 10 or 12 riders broke off through a turn. the group I was in was only 3 deep, zach was there chasing with us. a couple of stragglers came up from behind us and our group got a bit more help. we chased and chased, lap after lap, but the break was gone. we made the best of the situation and continued to ride hard with the riders we did have. one of the guys in our group made a small break on the bell lap, and we caught him just before the second turn. on the last sweeper he sprinted early, and hard – zach and I started our sprints early as well, in an attempt to shut him down and beat him to the line. he ended up finishing about a bike length ahead of us, and zach was next to me, about an inch behind my front wheel.
the wet weather wasn’t ideal, but I was glad there weren’t any accidents. my crit riding is getting a bit better, little by little, which is really nice. I’m definitely grateful for the early bird crits since they’re paired with clinics and mentors that point out the more technical points of racing. all of the clinics and races I’ve done have taught me a lot about riding, and about my own abilities. it’s also humbling being able to ride with riders with such talent. props to the guys that made it into that break – daniel, steve, marc, and tim – you guys rode strong. it’s more motivation for me to continue riding and training hard.
on a more random note, I’ve been reading jehovah’s witness zines at the laundromat. their topics fascinate me.