Craig’s Canadian Masters Nationals Crit Report
This was the day I’d been waiting for! I was excited from the time I woke up and pumped to get out there and sprint like crazy.
After yesterday’s performance my body felt beat up but I was more worried about the fact that I was now a marked man and as such I knew that no one was going to let me slip away today. The plaid kit was going to make it hard to hide!
I don’t exactly have much experience racing as a marked man, but I use to train with some top criterium racers in California who regularly rode as the expected winners so I knew, in theory, what I was supposed to do.
What was I supposed to do? Ride really hard right from the gun!
I tried to get front row and was once again once partially successful (I don’t know where I lost this skill but I used to be able to get myself on the front all the time. Now? Not so much).
As soon as the race started I put in an attack and, luckily, was followed by a lot of really strong guys. The pace stayed high up to the first sprint and I was able to get 2nd. The pace remained pretty high up to the next sprint and I was expecting an attempted break-away after the sprint, but nothing developed. At this point the race fell into a rhythm of speeding up for every sprint and then slowing down – exactly like a points race on the track and as such right up my alley.
Things were looking excellent until 10-laps to go when team CIBC started to play some pretty smart team tactics on me resulting in me pulling around the pack for about 5-laps. The CIBC tactics were working great and their sprinter won the final sprint by such a large margin that he had time to throw up his hands in celebration. Good work on their front.
On the cool down lap I was feeling dejected as I was almost certain that CIBC’s final display of power was enough to secure the win so I was just elated to find out that I eked out the win by a single point.
The Crit jersey was in my sights since January when I began working on intervals in my basement and I couldn’t be happier to have it in my house.
Did I deserve this win? Today I feel that I can say Yes.
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