Hey all! As many of you know, last week was the 4thof July. In the greater Sacramento area, that means the Davis 4th of July criterium. Traditionally, the course is fast and dangerous, with brutal carnage. The first time I attended, I saw at least a crash per race, once having to go on course and help a woman who knocked herself unconscious on impact, another time I saw a bike pinwheel over a barricade into the crowd.
However, this year was very different. They ran the course in reverse, and I didn’t see one single crash the whole time I was there, from about 7 till 12:30ish.
I raced Jr 15-18, which races as one group but is scored separately for 15-16 and 17-18. There were around 20 starters for the early race, the 2ndrace of the day. About half of those were in 17-18.
The race started fast and stayed that way, attacks were almost regular. The front pack was quickly whittled down to the 10 or so strongest riders, and still the attacks continued. I would always respond to any attacks by the other 17-18s, afraid that they would get away and stay away on the fast race. I knew if I was stranded with some 15-16s they wouldn’t help me at all, I had made that mistake in the past. The frustrating part was when some of the other 17-18s would respond to 15-16 attacks, thus pulling me along.
When the prime lap came along I was in great position, and took the sprint, winning a big prime.
On the last lap, the pack was on fire. On the middle of the lap, a guy jumped off the front. I struggled to fight through the pack in the corners to catch him. On the final straight I was so close, catching him fast. But it wasn’t enough. I only caught onto his back wheel as we flew through the line. I was happy with second, but bummed that I couldn’t take the victory.
Later on I found out that the guy was a 15-16 who had lurked in the back of the pack the whole race. Since he was in the younger age group, I still took the 17-18 win! I was stoked.
So I had won the prime, and my division. And a rad winners jersey to boot. Quite the successful day for me. Hope you all had equally fun 4ths. I’ll keep you posted.
Photo cred: Julie Barton