Beanpot Criterium Report

Apr 6 2007

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? I am (or was, as I am writing his like a week later) monstrously out of shape. Not just like bad legs out of shape but all like round in the middle and gross out of shape. Any number of reasons for this, mostly because I ate out every night for a week leading up to the race and because it’s cold and crappy and I spend all day sitting down doing things I don’t enjoy and a whole lot of other excuses. Whatever.

Anyway, Beanpot is a sweet race, with a reputation for carnage, but the race start was 4pm which was just unacceptably late. I tried to sleep in until noon or so to compensate, but that was a futile pursuit, so I took the Bruiser (that’s my Crack ‘n Fail commuter bike) and pretended I was in college again. Then I went home and changed and came back for my race.

Warm up was better than it usually is, with a trainer and everything. There were teammates, but not much discussion of strategery or anything like that (it’s a 3/4 race, and some of my teammates are contending in the Wells Ave A race – I feel like by association I will only slow them down). The course was in good shape, smooth pavement for all but the tail end of corner 5 and some pavé crosswalks.

In case you’ve never done this race, it’s six pi/2 radian corners on a sweet side hill. Kinda goes like: Start, Left, Down, Left, Up, Left, Up, Right, Down, Left, Up, Left, Start. Add some A’s and B’s in there and you’ll start with 30 lives and all the guns. Seriously, though, there’s a map in this oversized PDF somewhere.

Obvs, the starting position on the line is critical, so I was ready to go as the Collegiate Men’s A finished up. I got right out onto the line, but when the start went, I found myself getting wailed on between some other dude and Josef (teammate). Like, bars to bars on both sides. I was worried for a second about taking out Josef, but no one crashed. I did lose some spots because I am whimpy.

First corner, I’m like way back, but in the second corner someone crashed and that made my day much easier. For you see, if you crash, you get a free lap. I cannot recall if I actually crashed (like Ollie North/Ronald Reagan style), but I must have because I got a free lap after I rolled into the pit. Amy gave me a sweet push start out, and I was back at the front.

Pace was good but not crazy. I was losing lots of space by braking in the second corner. Well, not lots, but enough that it would become a problem if I did it for 20 or so laps. I hung out for a while, and then this prime bell rang, and I was near the front, with a teammate on my wheel, so I was like “eff it” and pulled all through the lap.

I was surprised that no one came around me because I corner so girly and go so slow (even at 183 BPM), but finally around the last corner like 5 dudes that were not my teammate came by. Lame. Plus I was tired, so I dropped back to like the end of the field. Then my chain bounced off my big ring.

See, my parts are really old, and I had ordered new ones like two weeks before the Beanpot, but the people who sent them to me effed up (wrong size cassette, no shifter/brake levers), I was stuck on these 4 year old beat to Hades Ultegra 9 bits. I fiddled with all sorts of cables, but when the shifter’s lost a click and the front derailleur is stripped, there’s just not much you can do. So I did the rest of the race in the small ring (pwned!)

I eventually sank back into a “chase” group of 4, with some guy who had a wildly awful pedal stroke and another guy who thought we could chase up. I took a few turns but never even attempted to organize (you try this race limited to 39/12). I kept waiting to get lapped, which we eventually did, but no one pulled us. Sweet. I was out of sight of the lead finishers (somehow – I don’t ever remember being lapped by the winners) but the INTERNATIONAL BICYCLE CENTERS (my team – all caps) team went 1-2. Yes!

I “sprinted” behind some Harvard guy (sat down and spun really fast and didn’t pass anyone) for 13th. But the people I ordered the parts from say they’ve realized their mistake, and that I should be getting the rest of my stuff any day now (still waiting). But once I get it, I will have one less excuse to make. Which probably still won’t get me racing fast.

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