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Orchard Beach Crit Cat 4/5

New York
Saturday May 09, 2015
by: Dominic Stobart

There is always a decisive moment in a race: a split second breakaway, a mechanical, a tricky turn, some kind of moment of truth. Get it right and glory is yours. Mess up and, well, you're history. In this case it was a really dumb move on my part and I ended up consigned to the latter category. I'll start out by saying that I did get a few things right and even though I messed up at the end I didnt crash or cause anyone else to. That said - I only have myself to blame. Here's how it went down. A friend of mine calls it riding behind the head of the snake. That spot in a pack where you are close enough to the front to cover a move, avoid the accordion effect and choose a clean line through the corners but at the same time still far enough back to get plenty of shelter and not ever have to take a turn on the front. It's not easy holding position in a crit. The constant jostling for wheels, the tight corners, relentless accelerations and decelerations are energy sapping and demand total concentration. Still, behind the head of the snake is where I managed to spend most of the race. With two laps to go I found myself nicely positioned in third wheel. But that's where it all fell apart. As we exited corner one I heard the sound of a crash behind me. The rider in second position shouted, 'Go! Go! Go!' The rider in first place took off and rider two followed. This was it. The decicive move and I was perfectly placed to take advantage of it. But I didn't. Instead I did some thing immensely stupid. I looked back. And that was it. In a split second I over cooked the turn and ran onto grass, lost momentum and with it any chance of a high finish. The field caught up, sat on my wheel for half a lap, and then pushed past. I tried a desparate move down the inside and nearly came a cropper again before settling for a mid pack finish. The two breakaway riders both made the podium. Lesson learned.