Brentwood Grand Prix Criterium, August 9, 2009: This race was held on a boomerang shaped 1-mile course with a 180 degree turn at each end. There were about 55 or so racers, 1/3 of them in my 60+ age group. I didn’t feel at all comfortable with the U-turns, so I stayed at the back, only going forward when a gap developed. The problem with the back, of course, is that there’s more accordion effect the farther you are from the front; that is, more slowing as you approached turns and more acceleration required after the turns to stay with the field.
I tried the inside at the turns and found that it was more likely to require braking if other riders ahead of you slowed or had to touch their brakes. Also, there was some water near the inside apex of the south turn, which had caused a crash in an earlier race. Neither did the outside work very well for me, especially at the north end which was narrow at the exit. Between the slowing for the turns and the fast acceleration needed when coming out of the turns to stay with the group, I was using alot of energy and breathing pretty hard. Then on the last lap, I began developing some exercise-induced asthma. I managed to stay with the field to the end, but I was seriously wheezing by the time I crossed the finish line, 13th out of about 17 starters. Gotta remember that inhaler next time! I finished with the field, didn’t crash, so the day's got to be considered a success.
My daughter wanted to see the race, but didn't realize how far it was from Irvine, and didn't arrive until the race was over. We hung around the race a bit, met a few people, then went for a rec ride in Brentwood, up Bundy to the end and returned to the car. On the way home, we stopped at the Carson Velodrome and watched some track racing for awhile, including an 11 man scratch race. We both enjoyed watching the lead racer go up to bank after a pull, then dive back down to the back at the end of the turn to hook on the back of the paceline. The event was a qualifier for nationals. Being able to watch track racing was new for her, and recently new to me, and we both enjoyed it.
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1 year ago