My First Crit in Portland

Monday I headed up to PIR after work to get my first race in for the season (I have raced crits 2 or 3 times before, maybe 6 years ago back in Salt Lake at the DMV, but really not too much)…I’m a little behind there as the series has been going since June, but better late than never! I hit it right and without knowing it got into the first race of the August points series, so it should be interesting to see how I do. So far so good with a 6/17 finish in the Men’s Novice category. Not bad, but I definitely think I can do better. And in case your wondering, the OBRA guys put on a great race, the tarmac is very smooth, and overall it’s a very cool experience with a lot of riders out to see what they’ve got.

A few notes on the race:

  1. Pace is slow in this group. Very few of the racers are willing to get out in front and lead the pack. I was a bit too ambitious with this and cranked up the speed a couple of times, but then got stuck on the front and was a bit blown out by the final sprint.
  2. There are some guys that are willing to work…need to be more outgoing & talkative during the race to get a few folks to work together and up the pace. I see this as an advantage to me – I’m a decent sprinter, but not the most explosive, so whatever I can do to tire those explosive guys out – without doing too much damage to myself – before the finish is a good thing.
  3. Pavement is very good and smooth at PIR and the corners are not very tight. The track is wide, so if errors are made on the inside, it’s easy to drift out. This is good practice for taking these corners as tight as possible and really learning to maintain speed through the corners (and putting the hurt on the people that have to slow down more).
  4. Some of the riders in this group are not so good at holding their lines in the corners and as the inside rider, will drift out…need to watch out for this and stay near the front of the pack to stay out of danger!

And my goals for the series (last race is August 25th):

  1. Get used to the criterium format,  riding in an unorganized group, and bumping/contact during the sprint.
  2. Figure out some tactics and the right balance for me for pulling & upping the pace versus sitting in and waiting to be strong at the sprints.
  3. Try some break-aways and see what happens…From what I understand, this will be tough in the Novice category because all breakaways tend to get chased down rather quickly, so it’s really hard to put any distance on the pack.
  4. Get stronger by chasing down breaks, attacking when I feel good, and finishing with a strong sprint. The race is short (~30 min), so that let’s me be very aggressive with pushing the pace, yet being able to recover quickly and have something left for the sprints and chases.
  5. [Edit]: Sit in more, but stay near the front and out of the crashes/fracas. Someone went down hard this week a few riders behind me and got pretty scraped up and some equipment broken. Want to stay out of that!

Next race is Monday, can’t wait to get out there again!

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~ by orangematt on August 1, 2008.

One Response to “My First Crit in Portland”

  1. Hey Matt…it’s fun to read about your learning curve. Plus, the PIR is pretty cool, didn’t know that these kind of raceways were out there. Have fun! mom

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