Cherry Pie Crit: Pack Finish

UPDATE: 34th of 66 finishers. Wow, exactly mid pack. http://www.eaglecyclingclub.org/cherrypie%20resultswebsite.htm . Congrats to Jane on her sixth place finish!

I was admittedly nervous about my first race of the season. The unknowns were my fitness, pack skills, or racing ability. The race taught me that the legs are fine. For me, crit racing is a software, not a hardware, problem.

Cherry Pie is a perennial NorCal cycling event. The first race of the season, it means that nothing is really for sure. Team alignments change, bikes change, and fitness is all over the place. Top 3 means you bring home a delicious cherry pie.

The race started fast and never slowed. Multiple groups tried to organize a break but nothing was able to stick. With 3 to go, I motored and gained a top 15 pack position. It looked like everything was strung out. I got stuck behind a rider who was unable to maintain the pace as the pack came around. With one to go there was little I could do, so I just sat in and finished with the group.

- Weather. Conditions were a dry, sunny 25 C with 10 MPH winds. What a gorgeous day.
- Bike. The SL3 with Zipp 303s was stable, predictable, light, and fast. No cracked wheels, either.
- Fitness. I had no trouble accelerating out of turns, passing the group on the climb, or pulling into the wind. At one point I saw 55 kph on the computer. We were moving.
- No crashes.

- Pack skills. I was consistently about 30th-40th wheel in a pack of 80-90 riders. I've been called "unstable". Pack skills improve with time, and I know the improvements can be made.
- Course. This was my first time at Cherry Pie, so I know the lines a little better for next year. Best places to attack are the right hand turn at the bottom of the hill, just before the chicane, and on the hill.
- Individuals. Specific strong riders and teams comprise the NorCal peloton. I am more familiar with individuals, which enables me to better read the race.

Next race in two weeks?