I rode in my first crit ever yesterday. I was a little scared from the horror stories of CAT5 races at seward park that I have been hearing and reading about. But I went anyhow.
I rode from work downtown hoping to make it in time for the "My first crit" class at 5pm but I was late. I made it just in time to pay, pin my number on my jersey and take a phone call from my son Jaden about bingo night at this school. I told him I had forgotten and I was about to be in Deathcrit 2009.
I went to go line up for the start and then PSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSTTTTTTTTTTT!!! I got a flat. I ran back over to my bag and performed the world's fastest patch job. I was mildly disconcerted that I could see the patch through the ~inch long hole in my tire. I started pumping away with my tiny saddle-bag-sized pump, two minutes later and I got up to about 15psi. The guy in charge of taking the money took pity on me and told me there was a real pump in the back of his van. 30 seconds later - 100psi. I rolled up to the back of the line just in time for the start of the race.
I reset my heart rate and speed monitor and it was go time. Within sixty seconds I was doing 33 miles an hour, I only took note of the speed one other time. We went around the course clockwise which means that the finish and mid-race sprints are uphill, which I was doing at 16.7mph and my heart rate was 176. I never noticed the speed or heart rate after that first lap. I didn't realize that the bell ringing was to signify the mid-race sprints until I came in around third on the 8th lap sprint and people started disappearing backwards after the line.
I barely remember the last two laps except for a few things, the two guys in front of me seemed to be waiting for people to pass them, which I didn't do. The other thing I remember was that there was something in my throat but I couldn't think to spit it out. I got passed by about 15 people on the last lap going down the hill but made up at least 5-6 places going up the finish hill before crossing the line.
I finished in about top 10, didn't get dropped, and most importantly, I didn't crash.
I'm hooked, see you on most Thursdays at seward park.