Sunday, March 15, 2015

Richmond International Raceway Cat 3 Crit 2015 Race Report and Pictures

The 2015 racing season is definitely underway. I have always loved racing this raceway crit. In the past, when it was a Cat 3/4 race, there were 100 entries. We don't get to ride those numbers very often. This year, like last, it was a stand alone Cat 3. Tim Shockley and myself made the drive up.  On the way we talked about our plans and goals for the race.  We decided to see what we could do to really mix it up.  We planned on spending the first 10 laps or so getting comfortable and moving around the field. After that we would look for a break, ideally 5-6 riders. We were not going to spend much energy simply chasing down attacks since it was only the two of us in a field of over 40.  

The race began:  

It really wasn't bad.  The wind was tough and at times pretty tricky in turn 2 and the back straight away.  Within the first 6-minutes, a break formed with 5 riders.  It looked good, and I thought to myself it was the break Tim and I talked about.  However, it was early...very early.  No one told them because that break survived with four riders who ended up lapping the field (which later actually caused a problem).

Tim and I worked at the front, doing our share but also looking for a second break.  This race is funny, the finish is tricky because it's so wide across.  You can be 5 feet from first place and be 20th. We were sticking to the goal of getting a break going.  A few attempts happened:

None of them stuck.  The final three laps I decided to get on Tim's wheel.  No real thought of a lead out, but he was riding well at the front and I thought it would be a good place to be.

It was a good place. Despite a few racers blatantly going below the yellow line to advance their position (hint: red jersey from Cutaway) Tim did a great job holding position and legally advancing us up.  Then, for some reason, two of the four break away riders tangled up behind me.  One went down and crashed into my rear wheel. I dint go down, but this is what I saw:

Tire was flat and I couldn't ride it anymore. I got off the bike and walked to the finish line to avoid a DNF. 

Unfortunately it was more than a flat tire:

The rider who went down ended up ripping the valve stem off and pulling a spoke from the rim.  I guess it could have been worse. No frame damage, no body damage, the rim is replaceable. Tim and were planning to double up and do the 123 race as well, but I didn't have a spare wheel so we hit the road.

Thank you to the promoters, this was again another great event.

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