First race of the year is in the bag…with both good and weird results (watch the entire replay below!!).
The USA Crits season kicked off this past weekend in Del Ray Beach Flo-Rida. Del Ray is a super fancy bar district right on the Atlantic coast. I mean fancy as in “I’ve seen more Masaratti’s, Ferrari’s, Tesla’s, and Bentley’s in the past two days than in the rest of my life” fancy.
The Del Ray Crit itself was pretty much your standard 4 corner Crit with a very narrow alleyway between turns 3 and 4. The tricky part about this race would be the power vacuum left by UHC. Not only was it the first race of the year, but the dominating team from last year was absent due to a change in race calendars.
It was also a first real run for our Astellas Crit squad. We went into it with pretty open expectations, being the first time most of us had ridden together (except Me and Thomas). We had Hogan, Justin, Stephen, Michael, and Thomas there.
The race kicked off and from the gun Stephen was in a 3 man breakaway. Hogan, Stephen and Michael had first shift in covering moves so we were pretty happy we were represented. Stephen in particular had a nasty knee injury in the off season and said before the race he would only be useful in the first hour.
The break built up a half lap lead pretty quickly. Hogan and I went to the front and tried to slow things up. The break got REALLY close to lapping the field, Thomas even went to the back in anticipation of the eventual catch. However thanks to some poorly timed primes the gap fell back down to half a lap. Then Stephen got popped off the break after turning himself inside out to stick on. I was feeling probably a little too antsy and started rallying Hogan and Michael to start chasing. We brought back some time, then after some more primes the field started to split up a little bit. All this action brought the breakaway BACK to within 15 seconds…but we just never were able to close it down.
We kept trying to bring things back, but oddly enough the other big teams that weren’t represented (Champion System, Jamis and InCycle) didn’t really contribute to chasing (or riding in the field split for that matter), so the break went back up to 20 seconds and stayed away to the finish.
Thomas and Justin were riding for the sprint but had some miscommunication about shooting gaps and got separated.
Overall though I’d say it was a successful race. We raced as a team and did a great job controlling the race as much as we could. We had some obvious kinks that are fairly easily fixable. I know I was feeling pretty nervous about my form going into the race (especially after my shoulder surgery). I definitely rode too much and should’ve both saved some legs till later in the race, and attacked a lot more instead of drilling the front. However any doubts about my legs are pretty well buried after the weekend, so next weekend will be a different story.