by Scott Cox
2016 NCNCA District Criterium Championship
September 4, 2016
Teammates - Steve Pelaez and Oliver Ryan.
Plan: Race attentive and look for a break as we knew Jeromy Cottell (Specialized) would be instigating things and is on a rampage this season like always. It was unlikely he would want this race to come to a sprint and has the horsepower to stay away. Specialized also had Espy, Dapice, and Henderson to help.
As with most masters championship races, teams were not very large due to the 5 year age cut offs, so the racing is a bit of a gamble and although the stronger riders usually end up on top, things do not always play out like one might expect - a break might get away without teams to chase or a wheelsucker just might get lucky as the stronger riders duke it out.
It is fun racing. The race consisted of many attacks and counters and it felt like one of the hardest races I have done this year. Gaps everywhere and drooling commenced. It may just be the end of the season though, but I suffered greatly at times. Oli was all over everything and Steve helped considerably as well by showing up every time we needed him.
With 7 laps to go everyone was pretty gassed and Cottell made his move. I recall Oli and I being there, but I know I could not react and neither did anyone else. Now we are chasing him down and many contenders were helping here and there while the Specialized boys sat in. Oli was doing the lions share as always and Steve made a move to bridge, but Jeromy was gone and earned the win.
1 to go and things were getting dicey as usual in a crit without a leadout. I found myself on the front to stay out of trouble and Steve came up to shelter me going through the 90 degree turn 2. I ended up on the front again shortly after turn 2 and held the inside line and went just hard enough to try and make it to turn 3 with something left. Thirsty Bear’s workhorse (do not know his name, but he worked his ass off) came by me with Scoby on his wheel and they entered turn 3 ahead of me. Scoby came off his teammates wheel and had a small gap. I came out of turn 4 in 2nd wheel and sprinted for the line closing in, but too little too late so ended up 3rd overall. Looking forward to some redemption at the Giro Di SF tomorrow!