Concord Criterium

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swawersik
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Concord Criterium

Post by swawersik » Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:07 pm

Course: 45ish degree right turn about 100m after the start finish leads into a long (for a crit) 3-4% climb. After another 45 degree turn halfway up, there's a serious narrowing of the course into a tight 90 degree right hander, which leads into a straight section with a couple of minor rollers. This feeds into a downhill 180 degree turn, followed in short order by a 90 left, and even shorter order by a 90 degree right. Because those last three turns are FAST and come in quick succession, I'd been thinking all week about whether a good tactic might be attacking near the top of the course, trying to hold the gap through the turns, and hanging on until the end. When I got to the race, though, I questioned this a bit, as the distance from the final turn to the start finish is pretty long (500m). Watching the masters 35+ sprint, there was clearly some room to make up positions as long as you came out of the last turn in the top 5-7 wheels.

Lined up with two MRC teammates: Nolan Garon, in his first cat4 race (tough one to start with, man) and Patrick Bauer-Blank. Both are less than half my age, and though I felt like a grizzled veteran, I was happy for the company. The race started FAST, with two CF Racing kids (Chris Gougen & PJ Renquin) lighting it up. Then a Fitwerx guy went off the front for several laps. Both of these moves had me wondering whether a 15-20 person lead group might shake out, so I stayed near the front (and even on the front for a short time to block when Patrick made a bridge attempt to the FitWerx guy).

I kept thinking "this pace is HARD, but it'll calm down." It took a long time to do so, though, and much of the race was consequently a blur. Only a couple of things registered: "Patrick's still in the mix, so I'll look for him at the end," and "I keep passing people going up the hill, but then getting swamped again when people sit up near the top - gotta figure out how to deal with that."

On 3 and 2 to go, I followed wheels I knew were good to move up. I lost some ground with the swamping at the top, but sat in about 10-12th wheel going through the final turn sequence into the bell lap. A couple of guys died on the hill, and I was in about 8th wheel through the tight turn and to the top of the hill. YES! Then the guys on the front sat up a bit. NOOOOOO! Unwilling to get swamped, I decided to take a chance and test my theory about attacking into the final turn sequence. After my first jump, I looked back under my arm and could see a decent gap, with one guy chasing a bike length or two back. GO! I was going so fast into the downhill turn, I had to fight every instinct I had to scrub some speed, then gunned it into the last two turns. By this point I was in agony, and I fully expected to be caught 50 feet from the line. But it didn't happen!!! "Holy crap, I won!" I thought...

...But. It turns out during the fog of the last 7 laps, I missed the fact that one guy went off the front at 6 to go. Honestly, I was a little disappointed, but then I realized that I still finished 2nd. First podium in a LONG time, and first upgrade points ever.

And when I got home, I had to clean the out the rocks my son left in his shorts pockets that were now blocking the washer's drain line. DOESN'T MY FAMILY KNOW I'M A BIG-TIME BIKE RACER NOW?!?!?! I bet Marcel Kittel doesn't have to deal with this crap... ;)
Last edited by swawersik on Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Jacob
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Re: Concord Criterium

Post by Jacob » Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:41 pm

Marcel Kittel has kids?

Congrats man, great result!

Len_E
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Re: Concord Criterium

Post by Len_E » Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:42 pm

Great recount of the race, as usual. Nice racing and terrific mid-race adjustment. Hell of a job to get on the podium. Congrats.

Len_E
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Re: Concord Criterium

Post by Len_E » Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:45 pm

And Marcel Kittel should be so lucky when he gets home from a podium finish.

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Smudger
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Re: Concord Criterium

Post by Smudger » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:55 pm

Superb Stefan. You deserve this (the podium that is not the domestic duties)

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pace21
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Re: Concord Criterium

Post by pace21 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 11:17 pm

Awesome job Stefan! I knew it was coming....

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Robd2
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Re: Concord Criterium

Post by Robd2 » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:35 am

Very nice result! The longer it takes the sweeter it is.

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rusto
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Re: Concord Criterium

Post by rusto » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:54 am

Excellent work, Stefan!
- Russ, MRC webmaster

#DONTRIDETHATRUSS

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jraguin
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Re: Concord Criterium

Post by jraguin » Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:22 am

Awesome Stefan! Just awesome. "I love it when a plan comes together." - was that Mr.T or Hannibal?

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taudep
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Re: Concord Criterium

Post by taudep » Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:58 am

Congrats Stefan. Exciting write up!
I'm 20PoundSkull at cyclowhat.com.

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JeremyC
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Re: Concord Criterium

Post by JeremyC » Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:19 am

Stefan, great work! It takes balls to attack at the end when your tired but sometimes is actually works! Congrats.

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treeswayers
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Re: Concord Criterium

Post by treeswayers » Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:26 pm

congrats!

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michaelcole
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Re: Concord Criterium

Post by michaelcole » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:13 pm

Dude,
Nice work. That race always used to be the New England crit championships...
Are you now just a "heartbeat away" from the defending champion of NE crit racing?

When I got my upgrade to 3, I did concord for one more race as a 4, thinking I could sandbag the Championship.

My plan didn't come together as well and I got fourth.

BTW John, it was Hannibal.

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PJ McQuade
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Re: Concord Criterium

Post by PJ McQuade » Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:14 pm

Awesome Stefan! I knew it was only a matter of time to read a race report from you like this.
To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.
-Shakespeare

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argus
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Re: Concord Criterium

Post by argus » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:12 pm

Mega-wicked-awesome result - congratulations!

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