Saturday, August 22, 2009

MBRC Wompatuck Training Criterium

Raced at Wompatuck for the third and final time in 2009 with Trish Karter, JP and some others from Blue Hills Cycling Club. Wompy is great because the course is in the woods, inside a state park. This is always a fun race, and very low key (but there is always the rare exception who treats the race like a tryout for Astana).

Most riders are from the south shore and seem to know each other pretty well (which is probably why it is so low key). Although the race is called a criterium, it has more similarities to a circuit race. The course is long for a crit, approx. 1.2 miles, and there is a brief rise on the back of the course before a long straightaway. The rise is not significant enough to break up the field.

The finishing sprint is just after a sweeping left turn, just after which there is a short riser. The rise is just enough to cause a selection, and it can get tricky here because there can be large speed differentials between those riders who've timed the sprint well and are still accelerating and those ahead who went too early and are starting to fade. The fade can be pretty dramatic when it happens right on the riser. In my last race the guy whose wheel I was on faded quite suddenly and I ended up needing to pass him very closely on his left to avoid hitting the brakes. After this short sharp rise the road continues to tilt up, but much more gradually for the remainder of the sprint. This is good because it is just enough to slow down the field.

The last few times I have raced there, there was a lot of jockeying on the final two laps to get good positioning for the sprint. Lots of fun. This coming Tuesday and Wednesday are the last two races.

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