By John Painter, Burris Logistic – Fit Werx Team Member
Claude, Matt, Eric, and I made the trip to CT for the Nutmeg State Games Criterium in New Britain. I was pretty certain the weather conditions would be better than last year, but as Matt drove through the pouring rain in MA, flashbacks of last year’s deluge dampened my spirits.
Matt and I arrived at Walnut Park with time to catch Claude in the 45+ race, see the rain come to an end, and warm up with Eric before our races. Claude looked strong and aggressive, and made a go at the $100 prime. I am guessing that the wedding he was attending that afternoon had an open bar, otherwise he would have walked away with the money. We caught up with Claude minutes after his race to find him already decked out in a suit and tie. We think he had that on under his skin suit. Nice plan.
Matt, Eric, and I then lined up for the 35+ race, which was about 40 strong. I was using this as the warm-up for the next two races and had the plan to just sit in unless my legs felt superhuman. They didn’t. Two guys went balls-to-the-wall right off the whistle, which made for a pretty aggressive start. Matt made it into a break that had a gap for a bit, but didn’t stick. Eric went for one of the primes, but placed out of the prizes by the slightest of margins. Things got a bit twitchy in the last two corners of the race, and Eric was bumped off the course on the final corner. Matt finished strong at 14th, and I followed at 17th.
After a quick spin around the course, Eric and I lined up for the 30+ race. Having warm legs, we both felt the race had a pretty mellow start, but that didn’t last long. Eric and I didn’t see much of each other during the race, and I am not sure how his race unfolded. I had talked about several scenarios with Matt during our warm-up, but I didn’t have a clear strategy in mind for this race as my head was still spinning from the previous race. I did make it into the winning break and finished 10th overall.
I spun around the course again and barely made it back to the start/finish for the cat 3 start with Matt (thanks for cutting off my numbers both times). Matt and I had no time to talk strategy for this race, but that didn’t seem to hold him back.
Matt was strong during the entire race and finished near the front of a very large group. I was a bit tired at this point, and had several things go wrong. After what I thought was about 5 or 6 laps, I glanced at the lap cards hoping to see a 14. I was off by a bit. 21. Apparently the cat 3 race was a 25 miler, unlike the previous two 20 milers. Not really a big deal, but certainly a kick in the teeth when enduring oxygen debt. I kept Matt just in front of me, and when what I thought was the final lap came around, I laid it all out there moving up to about 6th wheel. As we rounded the final corner, I felt like I might finish in the money for this one. As I began to wind up my sprint, I wondered what everyone else was waiting for. As I looked down the road, I realized that they were waiting for the bell. The lap cards read 2. Damn. Apparently I’m not that good with numbers.
Having almost nothing left in the tank, I did what I could to stay near the front of the group when two or three guys to my front left tangled and quickly found the blacktop moments before the final corner. I’m not sure where I finished in the group, but I am happy to say that I finished with all the skin I started with.
All in all, it was a great day of racing. I have some ideas about how I can better race three crits in one day and I am looking forward to hitting Fitchburg with a large BL-FW contingent and tearing those races apart.
Speaking of Fit Werx, I cannot say enough about my recent bike fit. It was a hard day in the saddle on Saturday, but I have never felt more comfortable (and powerful) sitting on my bike. Glad to be part of a great team and race with great teammates. JP
For more information of the Burris Logistics – Fit Werx team visit www.impulsecyclesport.com