Monday, May 21, 2007

Florida State Criterium Championships (5/20/07)

(Thanks to Team19 for these pictures!)

Florida State Criterium Championships
(Masters 35-44, 30-34)
This race has been held the last several years in Lakeland, FL. The course is 4 corners, with a very fast downhill section into turn 3 followed by a long uphill drag to the finish out of turn 4.

Due to a host of issues, like Curtis having a sinus infection and on heavy antibiotics, Clint getting some sort of bacterial infection caused by food poisoning, and me only having one week of riding in the legs after 2 full weeks off the bike...we decided to try to win a Masters state championship as a first priority, with results in the Pro 1,2 secondary. "A bird in the bush, etc." get the picture.

The Masters 30-44 race was first, and it was stacked! Herbalife had the same idea we did, and had 6-7 strong riders. Also in the race were full squads from ASV, Team 19, and many other riders making up a very large field. Since there was a state championship for 30-34 and 35-44 in the same race (but scored seperately), we had two shots at a state title. For ABRT we had Jeff, Victor, and myself for 35-44...and Curtis for the 30-34 category.

I've won the age graded state time trial a couple times, and the age graded road race a couple times...but, never the criterium! I've been 2nd and 3rd many times...and was hoping for a change. Also, Curtis has won the age graded time trial, and has been either 2nd & 3rd each time he has done the we were both hoping for at least one of us to pull off a win!

The race was pretty fast with a lot of attacks. It seemed like there were constant attacks througout the entire race, but either Curtis or myself were in 90% of them. Victor wasn't feeling well, so after taking a couple premes he dropped out. Also, Jeff started having problems dragging his 210+ lb fame up the long hill on the front side of the he called it a race. With 3 laps to go Brian Lancaster from Team 19 attacked...I knew this was a good move, and Brian's a very strong rider. So, with 2 laps to go I saw Curtis at the front after being realed back in from another breakaway I jumped hard into the first turn and sprinted off in pursuit of Brian. I didn't catch him until turn 1 going into the last lap, he pulled through turn 2 and halfway down the back straight. I then pulled the rest of the way down the back straight and through turn 3 and turn 4. Coming out of turn 4 I jumped hard up the right hand side and he didn't respond, so I kept going hard all the way through the line for the win. Curtis sprinted in and placed second in the 30+ category...which is amazing considering how sick he was...I didn't even think he would make it too the race!
James being interviewed for Univision/Telemundo

Florida State Criterium Championships
(Pro 1,2)

Curtis and Victor opted to sit out the Pro 1,2 since they both weren't feeling too well. In the Pro 1,2 we had Jeff, Andy and myself. The race was fast, and also had a lot of attacks. During the last part of the race there was an eight man break up the road...and Andy was in it. This break should have been gone...there were 3 Peferred Alliance, 2 Cyclescience, 1 NERAC, and a couple others along with Andy. It turns out the Preferred Alliance guys didn't like the make up of the break and quit working. I guess they liked losing better, because even though they had 12 guys in the race...they didn't even get a podium placing. Anyhow the break got caught, and going into the last lap Andy brought me close to the front. I was cramping pretty bad in the sprint and ended up 13th...and they paid 12 places. Andy rode an awesome race, and if it hadn't been for the lack of knowledge on race tactics by others, he would have had a great shot at placing top 3.

But...we achieved our goal for the day, and that was a state championship jersey! We also had a silver medal with Curtis, so in all we can't complain too much.

P.S. Oh, and this was my birthday!