Between work dominating my training time the previous week then working for the Wente Road Race on Saturday and then the Criterium on Sunday I really had ZERO expectations to survive even a single lap.
But I had a good warmup on the trainer (thanks Jim and Zaf!) and took the line with a large group. Not sure what the numbers were but it was 50+ (turns out it was 75, no wonder it was so crowded) I think. Then we were off. Lap one seemed easy. Move up move up move up move up. By that gigantic wide open last turn that leads to the "finish straight" I was at the front. I'm not sure what was going on but the front two guys (teammates - not mine) were really dragging anchor going into the turn. Without trying to be crazy or accelerate, I carried my momentum underneath and into the gutter. I gave a "Comin' up inside. Gutter!" and the two guys started both screaming at me.
Done many crit races guys?
If you are at the front of a large field in a criterium and it's a wide open turn you ARE going to get swarmed like mad if you're going to slow down that much. And if YOU overreact and go wide and get yourself yelled at? Yeah, that's your fault too. With the adrenaline of that idiocy I went off the front briefly but it was very short lived (flier 1!).
Back in the pack I got tired of the hargy bargy in the middle and ended up tailgunning for about ten more minutes before getting bored and going off the front for half a lap through the back sections (flier 2!). But that one didn't work either and the pack was just happy to roll along without any of the teams sending anyone off the front. I'm going to call out Taleo here. You guys have, like, TEN GUYS in the pack and you don't send anyone off the front???
After that I resumed tailgunning. I was really happy to find good legs and it was really easy just sitting in like that.
But it was boring and there was NO way I was going to get involved in that field sprint. So I decided I was just going to do one more full on attack across the start/finish area and try to get my named screamed out by Michael Hernandez on the PA. Flier #3 came after the "last turn". I scooted over to the extreme left side of the road and just accelerated away. Unfortunately, everyone saw the move yet no one was willing to join. WTF!!!! Why the heck won't people go off the front? So between being on the extreme opposite side of the road and wanting to get a good gap, I came up to the start finish off the front and heard, "muffle muffle, ATTACK OFF THE FRONT, muffle, muffle, IS IT?, muffle ROY JOHNSON, muffle muffle" So I don't know what was said but, mission accomplished, my name broadcast. I know that's stupid but it was worth it. The gap held for another 3/4 of a lap and it was fun hearing a few "Go Roy!"'s shouted out while I felt my heart pounding to the absolute max and knew I wasn't going to last long. "She ain't revved til the rods are thrown" When the pack finally came I didn't even try to jump back on. My day was done.
So yes, a good result would have absolutely rocked but I'm no field sprinter and nothing was going off the front at all so it was what it was and I'm happy with going out in a big ball of flames rather than rolling in with the pack. In hindsight, however, I should have burned that last match with two laps to go instead of four. That would have made it more realistic and less suicidal.
So that was the race... Funny thing is that it was only a small part of a very busy week and weekend. But there it is. I just like to brag about the action hero parts of my life, I guess. Trust me, there are some major things I screwed up last week (like being so flippin' busy I forgot my Mom's birthday...) so I'm no action hero.