In Lawrence Saturday at the Spring Fling Criterium No. 4, a lot of our numbers dropped because of spring break.
Not only that, but it was a cold 37 degrees out with the sky overcast and grey.
Mark Ramsden and I arrived early this week with last week's high-paced race still fresh in our minds. We selected a good site for our tent and used the brick wall to help block the cold winds.
We had a great 45 minute warmup, though, no more teammates arrived. Mark and I went to the start of the men's masters.
Same fast guys were there as last week. All the races at this series are "points races". To get any place at all, you have to get points. You only get points on sprint laps or the final.
We knew we had to be aggressive. Mark and I were at the back of the field as they rang the bell for the first sprint, which signaled one lap to go.
Mark could see me looking around to find a way to the front. I made it to the front, Mark followed, but soon I was tired. So, Mark came around to take the lead.
He did a tremendous pull, which allowed me to recover and increase our lead on the field. I survived to take fourth place (points) in the sprint. We both continued to ride well challenging the finish, but came in outside the points.
Next race was the ladies. Missy Holstead was our only lady racer. She was in high spirits. Her family was visiting and watching her race for the first time. She did not disappoint.
Missy placed fifth in the women's category 4. Great job!
John Finnegan was our only junior racer this week. He was first in the juniors 10 to 12 bracket and sixth place in the juniors 12 to 18. Great job John!
Finally the men's category 5 race. These four guys have made it to every race — Mike Miller, Bill Cole, Matt Doolan and Jim Lee.
If you remember Saturday afternoon, then you remember the snow that started to fall.
The wind was blustery and the temperature had dropped about six degrees.
Bill rode over to me after his warmup to tell me "This is nuts.” The men's category five race started quickly.
The field strung out. Matt and Jim stayed with the lead group. Matt made an attack on what was supposed to be the sprint lap — no bell rang. Jim attacked on lap 4 — bell lap.
Jim won the sprint. By the final lap, only three leaders remained. Jim was with them and eventually took third.
Page 2 of 2 - Although the last four races have been epic, we look forward to racing in warmer conditions.
This Saturday is the fifth and final spring fling criterium.