The crit was packed with people. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions. My family came out to watch the crit and the last road race, so I made sure not to crash.
I was feeling decent, not good not bad. I had spent the day watching Super Troopers and part of the movie ‘Fly Boys,’ which I don’t recommend. But it did help pass the time until 6, when I got ready and rode over to the course in downtown. I had eaten a bunch of food that day, overcompensating because of my bonk the day before. I ate too much, actually. And I started the race feeling a bit full. This would be fine for a long road race, but a 90 minute all out crit is different. My stomach revolted throughout the race and the taste of bile, quinoa with chili sauce, and cherry flavored sports beans entered my mouth on numerous occasions. Some of it’s still splattered on my handlebars.
Of course, I started the race lined up next to dead last. I go to the start line with what I thought would be plenty of time to get a good spot up front, but 15 minutes early wasn’t even close to enough. I chatted with Evan Elkan and Chris Hong as we waited for the gun to go off.
I moved up a bit in the first 15 minutes, but not much. The first 20 minutes of the race was very fast and very painful. The course had two long straight away sections and four corners. Corner number 3 and 4 required slowing down to about 5 miles an hour and sprinting out of corner number 4 into a strong head wind. The pack began dwindling after half an hour and a breakaway that had gone early in the race was almost about to lap us. But they must have lost steam because their gap started getting smaller and smaller and they were caught with 2 laps to go. But before that, I got dropped. I made it until 15 minutes to go and an official held out his hand for me to stop, or at least I thought he did. Turns out he says he wasn’t pulling me, but just telling me to keep going. I was in oxygen deprivation so it didn’t quite dawn on me that I should have kept on going for another couple laps since I had just fallen off the back of the pack. But I didn’t know that there wasn’t a breakaway group about to catch me or what was going on, so I exited off the course after I thought I had been pulled.
I cooled down on some back streets while the race went on for another couple 15 minutes, then began questioning why I had been pulled so early, thinking that maybe I hadn’t been pulled. Whatever, I figured I’d go back when the race finished and make sure they knew I wasn’t still in the pack.
When I told the officials what had happened, they said that I had not been pulled and that I had pulled myself, which meant that I couldn’t start the race on Sunday. I was shocked and very mad. The cut off point of the race was only 30 minutes. You only had to accomplish 30 minutes and you’d make the cut off time. I had done 75 minutes, plenty of time to spare and yet the official still said I was out of the race. I argued with him, explaining that I thought he had pulled me, him disagreeing. I won’t get into the details, but after about 10 minutes of debating, he agreed to let me race the next day. I was very happy. Although my placing was all messed up. I finished at about 90th or so but the result they gave me was 133rd or something. No point in arguing about it, I was content just being allowed to race.