The White Plains Crititerium 2015
White Plains, NY
Sunday June 14, 2015
by: Dominic Stobart
My race prep for the 2015 White Plains Criterium was less than ideal.
A big family event the day before the race that involved a lot of standing up and making small talk left me physically and mentally drained. My legs ached and my head hurt. Henceforth the day before a big race will be spent in silent and inept repose.
Last year I finished 7th in the Cat 4s. This time I readjusted my expectations: don’t crash and don’t get dropped.
The White Plains Crit is run on a fast course in downtown White Plains, NY. It features two short climbs, two fast descents, one sketchy corner and three sweeping turns.
The Cat 4 race was fast.
I tried to focus on holding position in the pack and conserving energy.
Surprisingly, I found that the best place to recover was on the short climbs. Provided I was reasonably near the front and if I hit the corners right and was able to power out of them, I found I could actually freewheel up the hills. As I crested I would shift into a big gear, accelerate on the downhill and sweep through the turns. In this way the momentum would carry me over the incline with a minimum expenditure of energy.
Some people don’t like the hustle and bustle of a crit. I don’t count myself among them. When the race was pinched where the road narrows after the start / finish line a rider on my right tried to muscle in on the wheel I was following. To yield would mean hitting the kerb. Instead, I leaned in and gave him a nudge on the shoulder. That set things straight.
On another occasion a loose water bottle came skidding out in front of the pack. This rogue bottle and my front wheel seemed destined to meet. And so they did but the union was as brief and uneventful as it was fortuitous. I hit it side on and being empty, the bottle elegantly squished down and the race continued. Clearly, a clever piece of product design - nice work Purist.
It’s one thing to know how to hold position and quite another to do it consistently. As the race wore on I slipped back, resisting the urge to battle for gaps that weren’t there or gamble by taking a perilous inside line. Sometimes it’s better to live like a donkey than die like a lion. I finished in the pack.