Monday, March 21, 2011

Richond International Raceway Crit: March 20, 2011

I was very pleased to see this race return this year.  I registered for the CAT 3/4 race which had 93 racers in it.  We managed this year to go crash free.  I heard a few people say that they wish the organizers had broken up the fields into separate CAT 4 and 3 races.  For me, part of the draw is the huge field.  We don't get many opportunities to race in fields this size and I think it is good practice for moving through the field.  Ideally I would like it to have been a 100 racer field with all CAT 3's, but that is just not realistic.
(Here are a few pictures I found on Kevin Horvath's Facebook site)
Large field spread out.

Before the race trying to locate my spare wheels placed in the pit by my wife.

An attempt at a break.  Bridged up to a group of 4 and only 1 was willing to continue.  We got caught pretty quickly.

I started on the front and stayed at the front of the race for most of the time.  There were occasions, when a surge would happen on the opposite side that I would move back and then work my way back up.  I was the only one from Virginia Beach Wheelmen racing on this day so my plan was to stay attentive and maybe try to go with a break.  With average speeds around 26.5 mph, I knew it would be tough for a break to succeed, but you got to try anyway.

My second plan was going to be to simply try and make a move to the outside on the final lap.  I really didn't want to get mixed up to much with a field sprint, but I also didn't want to not try.  I thought I may have a really good chance at a high place if I made a move to lead things out on the final lap.  I was in good position, top 20 racers when we came to the bell lap.  I made a move going around the first bend, but the pack speed was already too fast.  Then a faster move come from the inside, which surprised me a little because of how tight it was to the inside of the track.  Those of us that attempted to use the outside of the track pretty much got overtaken by the move on the inside because they were more protected from the wind.  When I realized my move had failed, I just kept up my speed and rode safely in.

For me this race was not about a win, although I wanted it.  This race was about moving through racers and staying safe.  I am racing Jeff Cup next weekend with a large field and this race will help me feel that much more comfortable.

On another note, after the race I noticed what might be a crack in my stem:

I really can't tell if it is a chip in the paint or a crack but I think its time to get rid of it.  I have contacted FSA to see if I can send it in for them to look at and give me advise.  The only other stem I had at home was another FSA stem, aluminum nice one, probably even lighter than the carbon.  When I went to go put it on I noticed a crack in the carbon face plate of that stem.  Wouldn't you know the two face plates are different.  I originally used a torque wrench to install them, but I don't own one so I think I have taken them on/off without the use of a torque wrench.  I always felt though that I may have been under tightening them and not over tightening them.  Anyway, I think I'll swing by Sears and buy a torque wrench.
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