by Jimmy Davis
This year during our team meeting to set up our race schedule I selected 26 races to compete in...obviously that is way too many races for a year. I knew there would be some races that I would not be able to compete in but I wanted to make sure I had them on my radar. The Sun Devil criterium was one of those races that I really wanted to do but did not know if I will be able to squeeze it in.
During our team photos and after being assured that Ken would race (not) I decided to go ahead and sign up. I just bought a new bicycle (Propel Advanced SL2) and I was eager to try it out in a race. Eric and Buzz also had planned on doing the race so I looked forward to racing with them.
Masters 35+ Cat 4/5
During the first race we had a very simple plan; I would simply stay on Buzz's wheel for the entire race, for the most part that's exactly what I did. Buzz and I lined up on the outside because the first turn is a right-handed turn and pretty sketchy and bumpy. Eric lined up on the inside but we were all pretty much on the front row. As the race began we made it around the first corner and soon we were up to speed. I had decided that I would use the first few laps to see how I felt in the corners and whether or not I would be able to stay on Buzz' wheel. This plan worked out really well for me as I was able to gain confidence on the course.
When we came around for the final lap I felt great and sprinted to hold my place. I did make some tactical mistakes in that I was in the wrong gear to sprint but every race you learn a little something.
Photo by Nick Wilson
The second race we did was the cat 4/5 race. Buzz and I lined up in the second row on the outside so that we would be in position for the first right hand turn. Right after the first lap or so I noticed that the pack was beginning to split up. While there were 56 people in our race I believe there were 72 people at the start line and I knew with such a big group they would have to start pulling riders out of the race fairly early. At some point, I saw the pack was beginning to break apart and I made an effort to get back on with the lead group.
Throughout this race there were many times when the pack broke apart. Each time I would work with other riders to reconnect with the lead group. During one of the laps there was a crash in the first corner, there were many crashes in that corner throughout the day. This crash broke up the pack again and it caused me and several other riders to have to work really hard and long to reconnect with the lead group.
Photo by Nick Wilson
With about 7 laps to go we reconnected and I knew that it was important to move up. It was very encouraging to hear my teammates yelling, "Jimmy, move up!" I knew that I needed to move up but after doing all the work to reconnect I was nervous about putting out any more energy. Also, I was not willing to risk anything to gain a few positions although I wish I would have been a little more aggressive during that time. Finally, with two laps to go I realized that I felt pretty good but I didn't take any risks in the corners and on the final lap I sprinted and only gained two more positions. I finished 24/56 (72).