After 3+ months of time on the indoor trainer, I was anxious to get some time on the bike outside! The weather turned out fantastic for a mid-March criterium, 55 degrees and sunny. Teammate Rob was coming out to race Category 4, I had plans to do the same, and new team member Jon Reik decided to try out criterium racing for his first time in the Cat 5s. Teammate Bob Morris was also there lending moral support (and a jersey!) and documenting the proceedings.
The 4 race had a small field, which made it interesting. Not as much draft to hide out of the wind, and attacks were quick to get away from the small group. Rob and I ended up being able to work together through much of the race. Rob did a great job covering a flying attack about 15 minutes into the 35-minute race, and I brought the rest of the small field back up to Rob and the other leaders after a 1/2 lap. We settled back in, trading off work, and playing tactic games to try to prevent anyone from getting a jump on us. On the last lap, we ended up with 5 of us together through the final turn, and Rob towards the front. I chose to hang back a tad in the sprint, thinking I’d have a bit left in case the leaders’ sprint tapered a bit. It didn’t work out that way, but I was happy to see Rob take the win in the sprint, and I came up 4th, with 2 riders from another team right between us. Not a bad start to the road season!