Race: San Tan Criterium/ Criterium
Date: February 4, 2017
Location: Mesa, AZ
Rider(s): Jo Johnson
This figure 8 type course is one of my favorites. This year is the second time I have competed here and found today's racing groups of women to include Collegiate A and B plus the 35+ and 50+ women. This turned out to be a fairly fast 40 minutes and a large group of about 18 riders to work with. My goal was to hang as long as I could with the group and get a good start. I was able to get a good start and by the first corner began to overtake 2 riders and stay with the pack through the first loop then on the second loop I thought the pack would accelerate away but they did not. I stayed on my pace and was able to lead them all across the finish line for the first lap. Then they accelerated when heading into the first loop on the second lap. Jumping back into the mix at the end of the pack, I now had a few college gals to work with. There were parts of the course I could take the corners quicker than they would and other sections into the wind where they were able to pull a bit more. With roughly 8 laps left, the sole leader came by and we all 3 jumped onto her wheel and surged a bit for about half a lap. I had figured the 2 college gals could lead me and I would save energy until the end. With 5 laps to go I began to try different lines through the corners and jump a bit to test how they would react. After a few different corners I decided not to use up my energy as I would surely have to pull them. On the final lap the pace increased as I expected. And on the final turn, the gal in second position jumped into the lead taking a wide outside line leading into the final corner, I jumped as well, took the inside away from the lead rider and sprinted to the line, ahead by about a bike length according to my hubby.
Waiting for the results, I had a chance to talk with the young riders. They were nice and supportive and could not believe I was competitively racing age group 70. Responses were “way cool”, “ No you can’t be”, “ That is great” and “I want to be racing when I am in my 80’s”. Too funny.
And two riders walked by and said “Hi Jersey”. They then indicated they recognized the EPS jersey and introduced themselves as Larry Towner and Mark Cowan. They said they know some of us. “Hi” from them. Small world.