Sunday was the final event of the three day Collegiate Cycling National Championships. A new crit course this year of .90 miles in the University of Madison Research Park. Although the winds were fairly strong, the course was not selective enough to make a factor in the race. I awoke fairly early, for the 10:30am start. Had breakfast and coffee, watched part of the Giro stage, and thought about the race. I didn't start the TTT on Saturday, but my legs were still fairly cashed from the road race. The good thing is Josiah's place was only 2 miles from the course, so I kitted up and rolled off on the bike.
I got to the course and watched a bit of the D1 Women's criterium. Finished my warmup, and the legs started feeling better. I was able to get a spot in the third row thanks to school callups. Race started off very fast from the gun, with many breakaway attempts from the large schools: Mesa State, Mars Hill, Western Washington. It is amazing that these are all Men's A riders (Cat 1-2), but so many of them are not comfortable in a pack at high speeds. A crash happened behind me about half-way through which sounded bad. I was able to stay in the top 20ish riders for most of the race. A break of 3 got up the road with about 20 minutes to go, and it looked promising. It wasn't until 2 to go that somehow we caught them. The pace slowed for a split second, and my great top 10 position for the sprint, was lost as the renowned swarm occurred on both sides. I spent the next lap trying to reposition myself, but it wasn't going to happen and I was only able to muster a 25th position. There were still 80 riders in the field, so I was still up in the top 1/4 of the field...but I wanted better.
So that finished my first national championships. Some really great sensations came out of the race, but a few coulda woulda shoulda's as well. I have no regrets in the RR except for maybe being a little more aggressive in the finally. As for the crit, I still have some work to do in the pro/1/2 fields in order to get some good results.
My biggest factor I think limiting my ability as a rider is to just take a chance, believe in myself and make a big attack or follow that breakaway with 30miles to go in a RR. I have the endurance, and the high speed work is coming around well, just gotta focus on the mental aspect now and gain some personal confidence. When I won Snake Alley 2 times, I didn't think, I just went for an all out attack on the climb and ended up gaping everyone. While it will be harder to do this in a pro field, I have to find the courage to just do it.
Next up for me is work work work. Gotta start making some money if I wanna continue traveling to bike races. I will also be competing in the Pigman Triathlon in June, so I will be complimenting my cycling with swim/run workouts as well. I also start coaching my Z3 athletes and really looking forward to that!!!