The 10th annual Tour de Gaslight took place this past Sunday August 22, 2010. It was a beautiful day and the crowd turnout was excellent! This was no ordinary criterium race day as East Grand Rapids was host to the Michigan Criterium State Championships! I decided, why not? There always seems to be a need for an ambulance with 50 people going 25mph around a 90 degree corner every 1/4 mile but I was going to make sure that I wasn’t going to be in it! Seeing as this was my second points series road race and my first criterium I felt the pre-race jitters a bit more than I have in the past but they say nervousness heightens your senses so, bring on the nerves!
The cat 5 race started about 20 minutes late but once the word ‘go’ was issued we were off and the rest is a bit of a blur, though I do remember a lot of this: hammer, hammer hammer, break, coast, “HOLD YOUR LINE!!”, coast, hammer, hammer, hammer, hammer. The race was supposed to be 30 minutes plus 2 laps but because we started late, the officials cut the race short by about 2 or three laps. One definitely has to keep their ears sharp to hear these updates because if you don’t catch them as you go past the officials at the finish line, the mass sprint finish will definitely take you by surprise and leave you playing catch-up with 100 yards to go. And so it goes! I ended up chasing the sprinters with about 100 yards to go and ended up near the back of the pack of the first group to finish, about 20 out of 50. Not bad for a learning experience!
I found that criterium racing is a special beast that takes specific training and experience. I’m not sure it is the kind of training that I want to spend my time on, but I will definitely continue to do some crits as it seems to be a great handling and experience builder and let’s face it, who doesn’t like to redline for 30-40 minutes and then go get some lunch!
Joshua Hogeterp | Redux Books
1349 Lake Drive SE Grand Rapids, MI 49506