With temps below freezing, a bit of wind, and moderate snow for half the day, the weather probably kept many people at home on the couch or trainer. But I am glad I (and Mike and Matt) braved the conditions for the first spring crit. It was well worth it to get the first race under the belt.
The 30-39 field went off at 11:00. Like most of the races it was a relatively small bunch, and the pace was pretty pedestrian for a couple of laps. One ride, the eventual winner I think, took advantage and stayed away for nearly 35 minutes on his own.
I remained in the group until impatience got the best of some guys and pace surged. It see-sawed for a lap or two with a couple of potential breaks. I brought one back, sat in for a lap, and then picked it up halfway around the course. It was not an explosion of power, but I created a gap. I kept it steady for a bit to check of the chase was on. . .and one rider was trying to bridge. I waited for him and we worked it well to increase the gap.
Up the hill after turn three the bunch was closing in. I was just about to sit up and admit defeat, but when I checked over my shoulder again everyone had sat up! The break was on again, and I turned up the heat. Seems that one guy pulled everyone back, but when he moved over no one continued to work, and the result was that we slipped away again.
One additional rider bridged. We dropped my first co-breaker, and went on to claim third and fourth easily.
Take home message: Check the number of teammates in the group. There was maybe two teams with two guys, and the rest were solo riders. This creates a favourable situation for a break to work as it will likely be hard for the chase to organize itself. Therefore I should have countered one of the earlier attacks as we could have stayed away.
But it was great fun and once you were hammering it the cold was the last thing on your mind. A great way to start the season!