Today was the first Rubber City Meltdown, which included a criterium held in downtown Akron. Along with the Crit there were rides along the towpath and other offerings. So any biker of any level could partake, and if the urban mountain bike challenges happens next year it will be truly an all encompassing event. This race is definitly on my calendar for next year.
I arrived early and got my number and as I was returning to the car I saw a familar vehicle. I should have known this but fellow teammate Nancy Desmond was there repping for CAMBA along with myself. I soon met up with Frank from Solon racing and new I was in for a good ride. Soon enough my good friend Sarah pulls up and now I have four "allys" in the race.
The course started on top of a hill slightly down the road from Luigis restuarant, took us down furnace hill into a blazing fast and wide open turn. A long slightly uphill straight leads into a hairpin up a sharp grade to a s turn under a bridge, followed by a short stretch of 2% grade to the flat finish line. It was a challenging course with the climbs but I felt a safe course as the fast turns were wide and you could really rail your bike around them without fear of crashing.
The four of us warmed up together and wait around to ride the course once before our race. The race starts out faster than a lot of us anticipated, two riders in baggie shorts and t-shirts took off. I made my way towards the front and jump into the slipstream. We took the hairpin turn up a steep grade and five riders, including myself broke away. I was shocked to make it into the lead group truthfully. The next lap starts and one of the riders in the t-shirts explodes and is soon off the back. This left us with two under 40 riders and two over forties. At this point I'm pretty certain that I can atleast clinch second in my age group and hoping the same fate will fall on the other t-shirted rider. I take a short pull on the front, which would be my only pull of the day. I wasn't planning to pull much and my dimiutive size doesn't help the other riders so I never went to the front again. Coming to 3 laps to go my legs gave out finally, and I slowley watched the three riders pull away. I take my losses and use the downhill to really recover and started pushing again. I didn't want to lose my place and most importantly I wanted to be in position if the other rider lost touch with the lead riders. So I transitioned to the drops, where I should have been the majority of the time, since I cornered better, and started to solo timetrail. Coming down the hill a lapped rider took a hard fall at the bottom of the hill, laying his bike down and sliding on his butt to the side of the road. I didn't see it happen but came across him just as he had stopped sliding. A real trooper who finished the race even after siding on his butt doing 30 mph. Two laps to go I see Sarah in the distance and race up to her. As I got close I yelled, "You got anything else?" Hoping see had a little bit of energy to help me bridge the gap. She didn't hear me and I soon came rushing past her.
The last lap I saw a rider in the distance who I think was the other rider in my age group and catch up to him right before the end. Unfourtanitly it wasn't the same rider and I ended up taking 2nd in my age group and 4th overall. Nancy ended up 3rd overall in the her age class. Another strong showing for CAMBA on some skinny tires!
Thanks to CAMBA, Bike Authority, Kenda, CrankBrothers and Ritchey products for helping me race.