The Herriman road race, this year a Lance Armstrong Junior Olympic Race Series event. Site of a fourth-place finish in the 3/4s last year by yours truly. Nine-mile laps, climbing up near the Kennecott tailing pile and back down through the small town of Herriman. This year the start/finish was in Herriman rather than at the top of the hill, almost as much a shock as the flat finish at the Hammer at the Slammer. But this really just means that I get worked over on the hills even more by the climbers trying harder to drop the sprinters. But what can you do.
It looked like quite a few people showed up, and Chuck later said it was the largest one-day race in Utah, but there were only about 12 in the 4s start. Hmm. My teammate Rob said that he thought maybe lots of people were staying at home, waiting for the Utah state crit championships the next day. We may never know.
Off we went. Conditions: hot and windy, about 90 and 20-25 respectively. Pretty easy up the hill the first time, and I still got dropped by the top. Not to worry, I chase back on the descent. We are taking it easy some more, and are caught by some 5s before the hill on the next lap. I get dropped again. I chase through the 5s on the descent and catch one guy, start towing him on the flats. Around by the hill we catch another, and watch the 5s ride by again. As we go up the hill, one of my companions tells me not to work too hard on the hill, because he wants to suck my wheel when we hit the flats into the wind again. Fine.
Back down and onto the flats, and the non-talkative one has fallen off. Bill, the talkative one, proposes an arrangement whereby he doesn't drop me on the hill and I tow him around on the flats. Well, it beats riding alone. He had been dangling off the front for a while, but thought the 5s were the 4s and worked too hard to try to stay with them when they went by (those 5s must be sandbaggers, methinks) then got dropped by the real 4s. Turns out he also rode with my friend Manx from Poky in last year's Lo-to-Ja.
Around and around we go, and the wind picks up even more. Not fun. On the last lap, Bill says he will ride neutrally until the last corner, then accept a sprinting lesson. Really doesn't want to buck the wind himself, does he? Finally, at the 100m marker, I give a little uncontested sprint.
Luckily my car is still in the shade under a tree, and after I pant a bit and stick my bike in the back, I go off to take a shower. No waiting around for prizes.
Now, being that the Utah crit was the next day, it might have seemed that a good thing to do would be to stay around Salt Lake. But no, there was a mandatory housewarming party back here at Peter and Kim's new abode. So back home I went, partied, and slept a bit.
And drove back down to Salt Lake the next morning. Here is another tricky expectation. You might expect that some people would show up for the state criterium championship in a good-sized metropolitan area such as Salt Lake. The crit course was right in the middle of the metro area, not even 25 miles south like Herriman. How many people entered the 5s crit? Three. How many in the 4s? Six, three of whom were from Idaho. Medals for everyone from Utah!
The DMV crit course, coincidentally enough where Wendesday night crit series races are held the first half of the season, starts out around a DMV building and parking lot, then descends a 50' drop into a driver training/test course with lots of stop signs, (fake) railroad crossings, and parallel parking places. We went around to the back end of this driving range, then up the hill to the finish.
Weather was again hot and breezy. At the start, the two other guys from Idaho (Boise) pretty much took off after a lap. Everyone else was baked from Herriman the day before. I know I was. I hung on for a couple laps, but then the rest of the 45 minutes was by myself. Toward the end I entertained myself by trying to catch another droppee, and made a couple fast laps on him before he noticed and started working again.
Then it was over, and surprise! I got sixth place in the Utah state crit championships. The results from Herriman were there as well, and it turns out that I got fifth in that race because apparently some of the 12 guys who started got dropped ahead of me and quit. Wussies.
And I get to drive home again from Salt Lake. Woo hoo.