Sunday, March 28, 2010

Redlands Criterium

Hello everyone ...

There is no question, I knew that coming Redlands after a months of pre-season preparation done on the trainer was perhaps not the most ideal situation. On the contrary, what better way to make myself faster and closer to peak condition then at a Pro Race? Regardless, given my circumstances it would be unwise to have come here expecting to get a big result. However - I am still managing to hold my own in this turbo fast field.

After an unlucky day yesterday - today's stage was a 90 minute criterium. A true classic American event. This meant that it was a short 1 mile course in downtown Redlands, with many many spectators out to watch. In this short 1 mile course there were 11 corners. Trying to navigate this at 40-50km/h with a 178 rider field, meant it was going to be a bit sketchy! For me personally, I was a little nervous as I haven't quite found my rhythm riding in the peleton just yet. It takes some time, but nonetheless I took the time to reflect on my time in Europe, which helped me remember my techniques I acquired. Before I knew it was 4:30 in the afternoon and I found myself on the start line of yet another U.S. Pro Crit. The atmosphere was electric and I began to get excited. To my surprise, I felt smooth and relatively relaxed in the bunch. I was not feeling too inclined to take any risks, I just avoided using my breaks in the corners as I steadily moved up. At about the 60 minute mark I was sitting comfortably in the top 50 or so spots. Then - while leaned over hard through a right hand corner, BOOOM - someone's tire exploded and three guys came catapulting right at me. Well, my years playing hockey as a young kid I guess paid dividends. According to my team director, Kurt Stockton who watched the whole event occur, as I was being shoved into the fence, I dropped my right shoulder apparently and like a true hockey player hit back! I managed to stay upright as my rear wheel simultaneously exploded haha! In any event, I rolled over to the Mavic Neutral support and took yet another spare wheel, took my free lap and merged back into the field, except now there were 10 laps to go!

The pace was insane and while the pace increased, so did the number of crashes. It seemed like one after another I was avoiding. I chased...closing gaps every time. Then with two laps to go, my engine blew! I kept it tempo for the remaining laps, as the main field finished about a minute ahead. Overall, a good day. One stage to go! Who knows what will happen next eh! Anyways - I attached a couple photos. One from the opening prologue, the second, just a random picture of me cracked writing this report after the criterium this afternoon.

All the best! Thanks for reading.

Charles R. Bryer
Mobile: 1-905-220-1412

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