Last weekend I made my return to criterium racing. My last race was in 1991.
The Edwardsville Rotary Club has done an excellent job in turning this into a premier event. The course is a flat, but technical course going through downtown Edwardsville. The 0.7 mile course featured 7 turns, meaning that you were never going in a straight line for very long.
|A fast course with a lot of tight corners.|
These races are short and fast. Races are run for a set time, plus 5 laps. There were several races throughout the day starting at 10:00 am for the Junior’s and Women’s 4-5. There were also races for Masters, Women Open, Men 3, Men 4, Men 5, and Men 5 40+. Since it had been many years since I had raced, I opted for the Men’s 5 40+.
I borrowed a Team Godzilla/Metro Tri Club jersey from my friend Doug. Our club was the sponsor of our race, so I wanted to make a reasonable showing. I got off to a good start for the first few laps.
|Here I am leading the pack around the first lap of the criterium. Unfortunately, this was short-lived.|
Unfortunately, my high speeds were only maintained for about 5 of the 14 laps. I couldn’t hold the pace at the front (23-25 mph) and ended up dropping back. I think I ended up in around 15th of 23 riders (although the scoring was messed up and I'm not really sure what place I was in). However, I met my goal of a good showing and not crashing. There was one crash almost directly in front of me where one rider did not have the best line coming through the tightest corner. He slid his rear wheel and hit the pavement. Fortunately, I was in a position not to run over him.
If you get a chance, come out and watch this next year or watch another where you live. The criterium is a fast, fun race to watch.