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Race Recap: Red Kite #8, Tri-Valley Critpalooza

June 25, 2015

Words by Dean Abt, Team Oakland Cycling Cat 3 racer


The Ancient-Man category at the Red Kite Series has been simmering with drama all year, sort of. I was leading, then not, then leading again. I had flatted but finished last in one crit and managed to be present in more events than most so even if the “Elite Metamucil Sprinters”, (not Metromint, Metamucil), usually finished ahead of me I’ve been a steady close-by.

That said, my most spectacular failure has been the “55-only prime”. Cruelly, Steve Rosenfield, (promoter and nice guy, except for this), makes this prime 2nd lap of each criterium. Like old people warm up fast or something, dude. We always combine with the 45 1-2-3, which is great for a faster/safer race, but those youngsters always mess with our prime. Here’s how geriatric sprints have gone for me so far this year:

1st crit: Out front full gas from the gun with 3 CoreTech guys who team up to virtually slaughter me while their 55+ ringer takes it on the line

2nd crit: Straight off the front like a cannon with a 45+ beast named Steve Heaton who had won his previous 2 races, joined 2nd lap by 3 others including current national champ Dan Martin. Da Fuq!! Richey Jones (Oakland) surfs wheels, lastly mine, to take the prime, then drops immediately, leaving me with 3 elite guys I’m sure will stay away – but they start yelling at each other and we are caught Lap 3. So I got Zero for the dig.

3rd crit: Crap now I think “screw the prime” I’ll save it this time, but should have went for it as I had no sprint in the end anyway and it would have been double points.

4th crit: This past weekend I am 100% focused on winning the 55’s so I don’t even think about the prime, but mild-mannered Bill Brissman, (he’s docile until sprinting – then vampire teeth), does and it was again double-points so despite finishing 2 places behind me in the race he collects more points and gets to within 16 or so points of my yellow jersey…now it’s like a hotly contested Grand Tour with 6 stages left, just slower.

OK so from now on I’m going to make it a goal to take the 55+ primes and accompanying points. Ant is already doing a shit-ton of work for me in these races and I may need to bribe him to lead these out also. I’m 0 for 4, the only way is up.

The Red Kite Masters 1-2-3s, (35, 45 & 55), have gotten steadily faster and more competitive during the season. People are getting fit and many care about the overall competition. Attacks virtually every lap and very high pace, even team tactics. Fields aren’t always huge but there are big guns in every event with teammates willing to block and chase. And not to tempt fate, but the crash count has gone down steadily as well. Being in the hunt for the overall has made the races really, really fun.

About 90 degrees. This is important to note as heat, (and altitude), had me cross-eyed at Tour De Nez in Reno the previous week. The 45/55 1-2-3 starts with attacks at mile .2, and they keep going. Ant and I fight for position and to stay hidden as we decided we are waiting and marking the dangerous moves.

Ant keeps my competition guessing by attacking, repeatedly, including a bridge to the break on bell-lap (!). I definitely don’t pay him enough. With 2 to go we are near the front and Mr. C goes by on my left, moving into his sweet spot for the finale. Ant quickly points out his movement to me in a well-timed bit of advice I should have listened to more closely.

I do have legs – I can feel them, able to go fast I mean. This is because of one simple reason – I am now coached by Ant’s wife Marissa, which is truly awesome and in a few short weeks taught me many things, including: 1) I was overtraining and 2) I didn’t know jack-ass shit about training. My season has quite literally turned around. But I’m still not as good as Mr. C at positioning for the sprint – he’s nestled in right behind the pointy edge of the 45’s and even though I gain on him in the last 50 meters he’s got 2 bike lengths on me at the line…2nd place, this time.

Six events to go in the Red Kite series and I’m clinging to the lead with a narrow margin. If I show up and practice counting to three I may be good to hold for the roses, or Bianchi socks, as it were, or more wine.



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