April 3/05 3:15 am - Andrew Randell Reports from S. Carolina
Posted by Editoress on 04/3/05
Racing in SC: where's the heat?
by Andrew Randell Jet Fuel, Jet Fuel ~ connected by Sympatico
Continental Criterium - Saturday, April 2nd
On Friday Joe and I headed south for a weekend of racing in Rockhill, South Carolina. The idea was that we would get some heat in our legs, but we're still waiting. Today's criterium was raced in ice cold rain, not at all what we were hoping for. The day started out beautifully, but just before our race the black clouds rolled in, the temperature dropped and everyone at the race let out a collective groan.
Starting a race in the rain is always mentally tough, and having the temperature drop so dramatically was no help. The rain that started to fall was like ice and soon the hands and feet were going numb. About half the race was like this but soon we could see a beak in the clouds approaching, our salvation. If the sun hadn't come back I don't know how many riders would have finished, as no one was dressed for such rough weather.
Overall the race was agressive with constant attacks and a crosswind section that was in the gutter each lap. With 19 laps, each being 0.9 miles, to go I countered a move and went up the road with two other guys. We didn't get much of a gap, 3 or 4 seconds, but held off the field, who were chasing hard, for 5 laps or so.
Coming towards the finish Joe was policing the front like an old-timer, while I struggled in the field. At 3 to go there was a break up the road and little impetus in the field to bring it back, time for the two man Jet Fuel team to spring into action. Getting to the front I chased hard in the crosswind to try and narrow the gap to the break. It wasn't anything impressive but I got it close enough that the guys started racing again.
Joe had a great position, but it was a technical sprint with a blasting headwind. Go too soon and you would blow, so the timing had to be just right. The locals set up a good leadout, but started their sprint too early; the headwind was cracking their legs while Joe waited in the wings. As the riders in front slowed they boxed Joe in, he waited for a hole and then said "its time!!". Launching the sprint he had to come back on a couple of riders that had started on the other side of the road. It was a close fought finish and Joe ended up third. Not a bad day for the first race of the year for the two old-timers.
Joe and I would also like to wish Bjorn Hansen a happy birthday, this one's a milestone.
Note: the Continental Criterium is part of the Rock Hill Bike Club's 3 day Omnium. Sunday is the Patriot's Trail Road Race.