When I pulled up to the course most all of the cars were parked scattered in the shade. I immediately started looking for an open spot myself. The temperature on my car read 100 degrees and as I stepped out a hot wind blew across my sweating face.
Not having raced a crit in over 15 months I didn’t quite know what to expect out of myself. I’ve been riding good in group rides and I figured it was time to put my legs to the test. With the temperature that extreme it quickly became a test of resilience rather than strength.
The course was a flat, 5 corner crit with wide roads. From watching the races prior to my own I knew no one was all that motivated to work hard. My plan was survival, that meant following wheels and staying drinking plenty of water.
Right from the gun there was a flurry of attacks and in the span of 5 slow laps by the field a group of about 10 guys had already made their way out of sight. A couple of the larger teams present then controlled the front and not more than 30 minutes into the race the break lapped up.
With the race already over for myself and the majority of the field, I was determined not to let my registration go to waste. The announcer called the first prime lap, a pair of tires, and I made my way towards the front. The group was slowly slogging around the course at this point. With two corners to go I jumped hard and carried a sizable gap across the line.
For the remainder of the race I did the same exact thing for every prime called. The group would slow heading into the wind two corners before the start/finish and I would jump from mid-pack to easily claim more swag. I did this four times, not once did someone else follow my wheel or nothing. The group was practically giving me these primes.
Recovering became more and more difficult as the extreme heat beat down on us all. There were multiple instances I found myself just barely dangling off the back in which I wanted to just call it quits then and there. I wouldn’t let myself.
I rolled in the final lap at the back of the group. By merely surviving the full 70 minutes I managed 18th. This is just the beginning, I’m slowing making progress back to where I once was. Most of all, I’m happy to be back on my bike.