Hey Chickens -
A week ago Saturday Bill McBride, Paul Wren and I raced in the Livermore Crit. This report is a bit late because I left on vacation immediately upon returning from the race. We flew “Air McBride” and landed at the airport 8 miles from the race site. Riding to the race would be a nice little warm-up, and it was, until my only reservation about riding city streets with race wheels was realized as I got a front flat 2 miles from the course. There was about 50 minutes til the start, all I had to do was ride a flat 6 miles into a headwind back to the airport and change the wheel then haul ass to the race. Good thing I brought an extra wheelset! Bill and I brought extra wheels just in case of such a mishap.
I made it to the airport with about 5 psi in my tire. Nice thing about tubulars, you can ride them flat if you have to – just don’t turn. There was a crowd gathered there to watch some WWII fighter planes take off. They were a bit confused when I rode past them out onto the tarmac to the only jet parked out there, changed the wheel, then rode away. The tailwind helped my time trial to the race course, but I was still a bit nervous. Bill tried to check me in and get my number, but they wouldn’t let him. No worries, with the numerous crashes in the race before ours, our start was quite delayed.
A decent sized field rolled out on the 1 mile course and I spent the first 15 minutes trying to figure out the good lines in the corners and also trying to understand how there was a headwind on every side of the loop. 2 guys tangled up on the front stretch on about the 5th lap. They were literally tangled up on the ground with one guy’s legs through the other’s frame. One of them got back in and raced with his bare ass hanging out of his shorts.
Half way through, Paul “Bunyan” Wren went straight to the front and did one of his trademark 700 watt pulls for a lap. We all dodged another pile-up late in the race and started to set up for the final laps. I had been eying the field for who I thought were the strong guys. Sure enough, with 3 to go, they were all at the front. Things were getting nervous as everyone jockeyed for positions, then Bill came to the rescue and went to the front with two laps remaining. In high winds, he drove it fast enough to keep the usual Cat 4 swarm from happening. He brought us through the start/finish at the bell and then stayed up there through turns 1 and 2 before pulling off. The charge was on down the back stretch, and I got through turn 3 in 7th and on some good wheels.
Turn 4 is a big double sweeper with the wind blowing hard from the right/front. I swung out to the left and moved up to the wheel of a big guy that was charging hard. We passed the others, then when he looked back, I jumped around him with only 100 meters to the line. There was a rider way to my right, I caught and passed him with the headwind hitting me hard. Just 20 meters to the line I saw a wheel come up on my left and we came down to a bike throw on the line. The guy patted me on the back and said that I got it. I told him that I wasn’t so sure. Video review showed him winning by about 2 friggin inches.
The photo below doesn’t show the guy that got me from my left side (good race photographer). You can see the big guy that lead me out and the third place finisher near the curb. I was a bit disappointed, but I know that I didn’t leave anything out on the track. Are 47 year olds supposed to still hit 200 bpm?
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