After spending all morning working with my guys (and gals) at WVU promoting the race and racing the collegiate C race, I decided I still had enough “get up and go” left in me to pull on my DPT kit and go try my hand at the ¾ crit. As we all lined up, 6 wide and 6 deep, I looked around and realized how much pain I was about to suffer. The field was not the normal group of guys I was use to racing with but rather a mixture of some locals with a large portion of collegiate A and B racers. Being a C level crit racer, I already knew from the gun that I was going to have to work my ass off just to keep from getting spit out the back.
As the whistle blew, we rolled off the line and began to hammer away. Things really were not too crushing for the first two laps as it seemed like everyone was still trying to feel each other out to see who the strong ones were (and weed out the weak). Around lap number 4 or 5 however things began to pick up. With attacks going up the sides out of what seemed like every turn and down every straight away, I knew I was in for one hell of a day.
It didn’t take long for the attacks and accelerations to get to me and, before I knew it, I was getting popped off the back. For about 4 laps, I worked just to keep the field in sight, as my goal at this point was to not get lapped and maybe try to get back on before the finish. Unfortunately, my legs did not agree with me. After a lap or two of chasing, I felt a tinge followed by a twitch in my calf followed by an “ Ohh no..” out of my mouth. I didn’t think the lack of sleep the night before or the lack of food that day would affect me but it was definitely doing so. As I began to get repeated mini cramps in my left calf, I found myself two entire turns behind the pack.
Around the last 12 or so laps, I got lapped by the field along with James and Robbie who I had lapped earlier but then fell back and worked due to the fact that I was dying on my own out there. As the field came blowing by, I noticed JR was on the back of it. Turned out that, as they were lapping him, he was able to dig deep and get on the back of the field to get a tow around the field. As the field finally passed, JR came off the back to work with our little DPT groupetto. The four of us, Robbie, James, JR, and myself, motored around the course with a pretty nice paceline going for the rest of the race. At that point, we were just avoiding the double lap and getting pulled.
Working with my team for the last 12 laps, I was able to stay alive and come away with 20th place. Not super great but, given my great prerace prep, I’ll take it. Overall, I really did enjoy the day as well as getting a chance to practice some good pacelining with my teammates. See Ya’ll South of Connellsville!
- Todd Latocha