The end of July saw some exciting criterium racing in Michigan.In Grand Rapids on Saturday (7/28), Team Priority Health’s men’s elite team raced for an hour plus two laps. The course had eight corners and two sections of bricks. Our race had categories 1, 2, and 3 combined, which was unusual. What this meant was that our race was a bit more frantic than usual, and the outcome was more crashes.
Early in the race, a break established itself. We had Ryan Cross in it, which was good, but Bissell (who had 12 riders in the race) had 4 in the break, which was bad. After navigating several crashes, I tried to bridge across to the break, but Derek Graham (Bissell) came across to me, and he had no reason to work.
As the race wore on, it became clear that we would not see the break again. Dan Lam of Bissell won. Ryan Cross was sixth. I finished in the last money spot, which was 15th, and I was simply trying to stay out of trouble at the end. Although it wasn’t the result we were looking for, the team rode well together. Ryan did a good job of trying to manage the odds in the break, and we all went home with our skins intact.
The next day in Milford (7/29), we raced in the Michigan Criterium Championships. This was another great course that featured a 140 degree final turn and a long finishing drag that had a rise in it 200 meters before the finish line. We raced at 4:30 PM, and it was hot and fast. The Mt. Khakis professional team decided to race, and all eyes were on them to make the race. Personally, I was hoping the race would be fast, which usually makes things safer, but things didn’t quite play out as we hoped.
Our plan was to save me for the finish. I stayed out of the wind as much as possible while Jason Young, Andrew Florian, Dan Yankus, Ryan Cross and Alan Antonuk patrolled the front. There were many attacks, and about half-way through the race, riders started to lose contact and create gaps along the finish straight. Finally with about 12 laps to go, a move went up the road. We missed it. A Mt. Khakis rider attacked to bridge, and I jumped on his wheel. We got within about 5 seconds of the break, and I looked back to see the entire field strung out single-file behind a trio of Bissell riders. I sat up expecting some counter moves to finish the gap to the break, but that never happened. The break rolled away, and we played no significant part in the finish. I have to admit I badly messed up the end of that race, but the rest of the team did what they were supposed to do up until the crucial moment, and then I missed it.
So now we are heading into Cherry Roubaix with high hopes. Stay tuned!