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Report2004-03-13

PSU Bellefonte Crit & State College Circuit Race

Date: 2004-03-13
By: Joe K

Travelling

  • The season began in earnest this week as all that on-time, leaving onschedule garbage was thrown out the window. It's a sad sad day whenI'm the first one to the meet-up.
  • For this weekend we stayed in the Bush House Bed & Breakfast, whichwas basically right on the crit course (same course as Eastern's twoyears ago). It was awesome to not have to travel in the morning, tobe able to wander back to get stuff/hang out before the race, etc.Huge rooms too. I hear there was a wide variety of shenanigans Fridaynight, but I (thankfully) slept through everything.

Racing

  • The Bellefonte crit course is awesome, but extremely hard. It's onlya kilometer long, but features some non-trivial sprint hills and tightcorners. I like it, but it's a killer. Steve dabbed again abouthalfway through the race. Probably a little bit of gravel but mostlytaking it too aggressively for his balance. Mike stayed in there,kept plugging away, and I think had a good time. Justin and Regplaced 5th and 6th I believe. They were up with the lead group thewhole race, modulus two UNH guys that just sped off on their own. Onething I think they have to try and do in the future is take turnscovering any get-away breaks like that.
  • My race went better than the previous week. I did get pulled about 15minutes into the 60 minute race, but I think all but 10 or 12 guys gotpulled. Final result was 32 out of 45 starters. Definitely the thingthat killed me here was not taking enough speed through the firstcorner, which comes off a downhill and goes onto a much narrowerstreet. Once you get through that, you essentially start on anotherdownhill, and I just couldn't keep closing the gap as the group spedoff down the hill. These guys can seriosly move on the least littledownhill, and it's real hard to close up out of the draft.
  • Sunday's circuit course was new (as far as I know). It was moretechnical than I had been hoping for, with a couple sharp corners ontonarrowish roads. As a result of the course and the local fuzz, theofficials were being real strict about pulling people once they fellout of contention. Mike was pulled pretty early but I think is slowlycoming around to why that might be happenning to him (I'm think a lotof it's from not realizing he's drifting back before it's too late).Steve looked good but was obviously having trouble with the short,sharp hill on the bottom side of the course (I considered it a lotlike the hill by the Mann center but with more speed going in if youswung the corner right, shorter, and without the twisty-ness). He gotpulled about halfway through. Justin and Reg hung in with the leadersto take 4th and 6th in the final sprint. Reg probably could havepicked up 5th if he'd jumped a little earlier or not pulled the groupso close to the end (up to/through the last corner?).
  • I wound up finishing 26th out of 39 starters. I was going to be pulledon the 10th lap (me and the guys ahead and behind me had been warned)when I got a flat trying to catch up to 22nd. That cost me a couple places,but I was mostly pleased. I think my big problem here was thatat the start I still didn't feel real confident entering the A race, soI lined up at the back and just kind of hung there for the first lap or two.Of course, you can't do that without getting yo-yo'd right out of there, whichis pretty much exactly what happenned. Somewhere along the line someonein the middle didn't close his part after a corner and the back half of thegroup shattered. I spent the rest of the race picking guys off here andthere.
  • Afterwards I felt a lot more confident about doing those races.Without the flat I would have finished pretty close to halfway up thefield. I was not nearly as impressed with the guys at the back halfof the group as I had been with the guys up front the week before.Perhaps the most entertaining (only because I'm pretty sure he wasfine), was when the one guy nailed the curb going through the onedownhill corner and just flew up and out into the grass. Fortunately,his bike didn't bounce back too far and just kind of went by along theside. There was a lot heavier braking than I expected in this raceand the day before, so I think I just need to get confident, line upcloser to the middle of the group, and sit there in the next coupleraces and see if I don't get dropped so easily. It's always harder tosit at the back.
  • The other thing that suprised me a lot was how difficult it was to getguys to organize. After a bit of chugging along by myself I held upfor a second to let some guys catch up, hoping we could work together.It just didn't happen. I kept saying we needed to go faster to avoidgetting pulled and they just kept looking at me like I was nuts.After a while of doing more than my share of the pulls and driving thepace, I just got pissed, attacked them on the hill, and kept to myselfbefore I got my flat (this is how I got up to 22nd then down to 26th).
  • Anyway, overall I think everyone had a mostly good weekend. I feltpretty good about my two races and thought they went well. (ofcourse, the best part was meeting a cute girl from one of the otherteams, but that's neither here nor there. it's awesome doing the Araces, as you have a lot more time to wander around and talk to peoplebefore your race)
  • So far it's shaping up to be a good season.
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