Monday, July 02, 2007

Fitchburg Longsjo Classic
Day Four –The Crit

“Round and round
What comes around goes around
I'll tell you why”


“I don’t like crits, crits are boring, crits scare me, they’re dangerous, blah, blah, blah…what was I talking about? I like cheese, Swiss cheese is my favorite cheese, that’s some good cheese…oh look, a squirrel, squirrels are an incredibly underrated animal, they’re gifted acrobats, like monkeys but we take them for granted…squirrels, amazing little guys…cheese”.

-Thom P.

I was dreading this thing, this crit thing, the field was down to under 100 guys after the road race but still, that’s a whole lot of guys, a lot of guys to take you out and put you on the ground with a broken collarbone or wrist. I’m a sally, a cupcake, maybe I should take up golf or knitting, or both, I could knit myself a golf bag, a silly hat, and a pair of goofy pants, they would probably all be made out of wool, not good for summer golfing, I’d have to winter golf exclusively or my legs would get way too hot.
I got to Fitchburg center, found the IBC posse, we talked strategy. C Todd and Mike would try to animate the race while Andrew sat back to baby sit me, he had to make sure I didn’t eat the crayons or try to stick a fork in a light socket. We lined up, I actually got a call up, so I’m up there with the other top ten guys, at the front of 100 dudes, it would have been funny to time my migration to the back of the pack, it happened before we even hit the second corner, spit out like an anchovy that a two year old kid got tricked into eating. I really didn’t know what the hell I was doing, diving into the inside line because it was open, powering out, wasting tons of energy, then going to the outside on the slight grade through the start finish and trying to move up in the open, into the headwind. I was pinned for the first few laps, mouth agape, like a ‘cross race, only I wasn’t getting anywhere.
I’d think I was doing alright then I’d turn around to find I was “tail-gunning” once again. Then I’d see Andrew and he’d help me get back on and move up some. The speed of the race increased exponentially as it went on, eventually I found myself on John Laupheimer’s wheel. I’d been experimenting with different lines and positions in the pack to no avail, all I had to do was follow john for a couple laps to get it, he was smooth and efficient, I realized that I’d just been throwing energy away on every other lap. Coming up the finishing straight on the final lap, John stood up and hammered away, I was so cooked I couldn’t even hold his wheel, I just followed him to the line because it seemed like a safe way to get home.
I saw one crash, heard another but nothing too nutty and about halfway through I really started to enjoy myself. The feeling of vertigo I got, this head-swimming feeling as I cornered elbow to elbow with all these riders at 20+ mph was pretty cool. I might actually like crits, who knew?
Big thanks to all the IBC 4’s for looking out for me and teaching me quite a few things, it was a great experience, something I may have to try again next year.

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