I'm kinda at a loss to make something exciting out of something quite ordinary. The Quicksilver was a tough-ish effort and nothing more thrilling than a chance to avoid falling down.
I've not succeeded much with the crit thing and wasn't expecting much more this time around. At least the day was pleasant, with sunshine galore, and I didn't need to rise at 5AM to get to the race start. As much as I prefer early mornings for getting a jump on the day, I don't tend to excel at the early morning racing.
Arriving early at the race allowed for some solid pre-race socializing. Pete Custer (racing with the 4s for some mind-boggling reason) was manning the DJ booth and keeping the tunes fresh. Had a pleasant chat with Steven Grant and got caught up on his whirlwind European tour. Drooled over Dave Crouse's carbon hoops (which, unfortunately, didn't serve him so well down the road). And laughed a bit at how mellow Linus, Eric Welp's greyhound, keeps it. Apparently, he used all his energy out on the race track (Linus, not Eric). Also touched base with William Stiles, the fellow whose badly injured finger at Poolesville left me looking like a real warrior. See the long overdue bloodbath shots.
It was nice to warm it up out on the course and, believe it or not, the few loops seemed adequate and a nice change from time wearing down the rubber on the trainer.
We started with 100 guys and I actually landed a second row starting position. In the past, good starting positions usually yielded messy pedal entry and lost momentum and position for me. For once, the start went fluidly and I wasn't out the back before the first turn. TnT was pretty well represented and I had some mid-race communication with David Kemp. We tried a few tandem moves, but I think the tactics still need some brushing up. In due time.
The long and short of it is...I didn't get dropped, lapped, or catapulted towards the pavement. Heck, I think (as it all runs together after going round and round and round and round) I even covered two attacks and vaguely initiated two. One time, I even tried to bridge to Kemp and thought we might power along together. No luck there. Another time, I was glad to see Pete Custer bridge up. If the past was any indicator, I thought we might gun it and actually stay away. No dice there either.
Needless to say, this crit was another chance for some hot heads to scream and shout and curse and more or less get violent in the closing few laps. As others noted, there were even some fists flying on the last lap or two. I just don't get that. Seems like, once the crashes start, the tempers flare even hotter.
Speaking of crashes, I came really, really, really close to getting taken down. The first crash of the race happen two wheels ahead of me. There were the typical jumps and jives to avoid the fallen men. I ended up leaning heavily on rider 490 (dunno know his name...just his number). He/we did, in my opinion, an excellent job of counter-balancing and righting ourselves. Freaky shit, but we made it through.
For me, the finish was fair to middling. I came into the last turn far enough up in the field to avoid the requisite crash that effed up a bunch of guys farther back in the pack. I didn't, however, come in far enough forward to really contest the sprint. And the course was really well suited to my finishing ability...a punchy little uphill for the last 150m. Much like at Carl Dolan, I was far enough back to survey the front twenty guys losing all sorts of steam. Of course, I felt like my cylinders were ready to fire it up. Alas, I just didn't have the killer instinct to wind it up to fight for that top five or ten. I get pretty nervous that the fellers fading up front aren't gonna hold a steady course as they approach the line. Picking, bobbing, and weaving through the ten guys ahead of me just struck me as too risky. And so I settled for 17th.
Considering my past weak showings at crits, I'm relatively satisfied with how things panned out at The Quicksilver.
There are actually a few road races on the calendar in the not too distant future. Hopefully JB can help me train up for some good results at the discipline that better suits my abilities.