So this was my first crit. It was a good learning experience, and I left the race wanting to do it again A.S.A.P, even though I ended up not even finishing the race. I spent most of the day very frustrated, but I realized what I could do differently for the next time I race a crit. For those of you that have never raced a crit, here's what I learned today...
1. NEVER start the race in the back row. Get to the front of the starting line the best you can. I decided to do a couple of practice runs, which is very important to do, but I did 2 of them. I think 1 is all you need, because the second lap cost me a good start position. From the get go I was constantly fighting my way up the group. Since I was in the back of the pack the majority of the time, I experienced the "surge" of the field the most. Every corner I had to crank it up and use a lot of energy to stay with the pack.
2. Try and stay on the outside of the pack on sharp turns. This is what cost me the race. There were four 90 degree turns, with one 'S' curve. As it turns out, the lap in which I worked my way up to the middle of the pack and was feeling confident enough to attack, I got sucked into the inside of a sharp turn. A train of riders got to my left and held their line. At no fault of their own, I was forced off the pavement and on to the side walk...and then on to the grass. It was at this point that I lost my position and had to once again grit my teeth and try and catch up with the pack. By the time I caught them, the 'surge' took it's toll and I had nothing left. I looked at my heart rate monitor and it was at 95% max. Not good. It was at this point I blew up.
3. I can't really think of anything else other than just do loads of intervals during training in the weeks leading up to the race.
4. Listen to Def Leppard before you race.
Overall it was a good experience. I felt confident going into the race, and that really helped calm my nerves down.
'Till next time.