Sunday, May 29, 2011

Finbar`s Racing - 2011 Halifax Criterium Race Report

Today the 2011 Halifax Crit will be held around the Commons as part of the HRM Bike Week inititaive of the city to increase bicycle awareness and facilitate further cycling friendly infrastructure in the city's long term development planning.

Weather Forecast

Since the "modern" day crits were ressurrected by Bicycles Plus Cycling Club we have almost always been plagued with wet, cool weather. It has amost become part of the planning process.As of this writing the pavement is dry but it is overcast and foggy. Hopefully it will burn off shortly but the forecast is predicting afternoon showers. With half the crit course repaved last week with table top flat conditions it will be a fast race so here's hoping the rain holds off till this afternoon.

Race Meal

If you read my(future) race reports this will become rather routine. My pre race meal today was home smoked nitrate free bacon I sourced at the Seaport Farmers Market yesterday along with three free range eggs and a side of broccoli slaw(fried in the remnants of the bacon fat).Broccoli slaw is one of my favs. You do not need to slather it in crappy salad dressings but stirfry it up alone or together with ground meats and veggies. Not only is it fast and tasty but it is an easy way to incorporate some broccoli, cabbage and carrot into you diet. The usual coffee with coconut milk and a glass of lemon water. Since my race is only 50 minutes plus two laps I will not have food beforehand with the exception of some fresh coconut meat I will chunk up and throw in a baggie and snack on while I watch the Cat C's race.

Cat B was not a typo. Since the Halifax Crit is held on a flat course some of us(hill challenged) Finbar racers have opted to race up a Cat.Last year the basic difference between Cat C and Cat B was the latter all climb the big hills faster. Otherwise some of the top C riders are capable of racing in the B pack if the course is without steeper ascents.Today is one of those days but I'll need to change some plans. I was preparing to race C on my Devinci for a couple reasons; it is a crit and it could be wet and I prefer the handling of my Silverstone. The Giant is lighter and faster but is more "twitchy" especially on the corners.That said since I am racing B speed will be the deciding factor so the Giant gets the nod from the bullpen.

Race Update

The advantage of having a race within the city is I was able to cycle to the venue. A great way to stretch out the legs it meant I was ready to roll come the start after some warm up laps of the Halifax Citadel.The temps were muggy and overcast but the sun did make an appearance later in the day and the course was bone dry. I positioned myself in the last third of riders at the startline as my gameplan was simple - sit in the pack for the first several laps to get a feel for the course and scope out the other riders. Crit racing is all about finding steady wheels to follow and avoiding the twitchy fellas who deviate from their lines.I'm in the brown and cream Finbar kit standing near the back of the pack.
By lap four I was settling in quite well until my fellow Finbar team mate EW launched an attack up the inside lane and, being the first acceleration of the day, awoke everyone from their slumbers. The pace immediately picked up and the race was on! It became your typical crit with frequent accelerations and flyers off the front. The wind kept things together...on the back and home stretch we had head and cross winds which would make it difficult to stay away so the pack generally stayed together.

Feeling good by mid race I began to move to the front and began mixing it up. It's good to do some work but on the same token it is best not to do too much.At one point I found myself leading the group through the start finish as seen here in the video clip.
As time ticked down(we were doing 50 minutes+ two laps)  you could see how everyone was marking each other as we awaited the end of time and the start of the final two laps. It was at that point that EW once again jumped and attempted a flyer off the front. With time at a premium the response was immediate and the group surged forward. On the final lap I found myself mid pack heading into the fourth(and most technical) corner knowing that the final sprint would begin as soon as you cleared the turn.

 The leaders accelerated as expected and I chased but was too far back in the pack.I managed to pass several guys for what seems like 12th place.

 That would be a good result for me and my best ever finish at the crit.(Note - there was a crash on the final corner and some riders got caught out of the final sprint which helped my placing).
Many thanks to A Adler who took my camera and caught the video footage of my race and the pictures compliments of J Fougere. Much appreciated! Finbar's was well represented today with EW, MW and I in the Cat B race. We also fielded two riders in Cat D and two in Cat C.

Sadly it was a crash on the last lap on the dreaded fourth corner and TQ was injured.The usual suspect was a touched wheel. Sure hope he is OK.Cat A racer JN also went down at that corner on the final lap. Other than road rash he seemed OK and able to ride his bike across the line. He was having an awesome race so the crash was an unfortunate way to end his day. It was a good race for me despite a couple guys who were twitchy and lost their lines in front of me but that is crit racing.Nature of the beast.

(Update - TQ is OK. Helmets do prevent serious injury. Special mention to BPCCer CS who also crashed in the Cat C race, got his free lap switching out to a new wheel, returned to the fray and placed 2nd in the final sprint.)

I neglected to shut off my computer at the finish but after a slow warm down lap I still registered a 37.7 KPH average.Nice! Home to celebrate keeping the rubber side down and having fun with a beer and a steak.Priceless!



Wayne Pedranti said...

Good luck on the race

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