I was ready to give up paying to race bikes on saturday. Something about paying fifty bucks to get pulled before half of the 55 mile race was over didn't sit well.
We stayed the night at Melissa's brothers house. There were lots of new toys for our boys to play with. We ended up getting over to Mass Street when the masters men were finishing. We ate breakfast at Milton's. We used to eat there all the time, back then we got 2 day old bagels and shared a coffee for $4. Now with 4 mouths to feed instead of 2, we paid a lot more for potatoes, eggs, salmon, good race food. Benon was going to need it, his race was at 12:30.
We signed him up, got a coupon for free icecream at coldstone, and free kids meal at Ingredient. The race was a little more organized than the Tulsa Tough kids race, with letting the 4 and under race together instead of 7 and under.
He was in the 2nd row and had about 200 meters of sprinting to undertake. He beat all the striders, but a few kids with big gears and pedals beat him. He was still wanting to ride so we kept going down a few alleys, eventually finding a big mud puddle at the bottom of a driveway. For 20 minutes he would bomb down into this puddle splashing water everywhere, it never got old.
It was hot, so we decided to get inside to watch the cat 4 race. We ate at ingredient, it was good, soccer was on tv, cat 4s were racing, we had a leather sofa seat right next to the window by turn 1. We went to the library next. It was cool in there, they had story time, learned about the 4th of july, made a firecracker, and by then I had about 70 minutes before my race was going to start, I hadn't even registered yet. I registered, paid the man, got suited up, and road around a little watching the cat 3s race. The race started fast, it stayed pretty fast for the entire 80 minutes. The first 30 minutes, I road pretty easy, I kept getting stuck on the right side going into the finish line, the wind was bad here, so the front group would slow a bit, and 20 riders or so would bomb the left inside every lap, so I kept losing spots at this place. Eventually I found myself at the front for a few laps, I pulled the field around for a lap, after getting to turn 1 I sat up and took a break. After a few laps I felt good again.
There were 9 riders up the road, eventually there was a prime, it turned into a group of 4 and group of 5, then there were only 2 left with 3 or 4 to go. I stayed towards the top 30. The pace got faster which I appreciated. I felt great, body was fine, just didn't have any extra juice, felt like taking a nap actually, forgot all about the winner getting $1000. At 3 to go there was a crash on the backside, sounded bad, but there were no ambulances so maybe just some broken bikes and bad skin. It made you rethink racing real quick. I didn't move up much, I didn't attack, I just stayed as safe as I could with my head up expecting a crash at any corner. I was pretty much going to be happy with a 22nd place finish, not crashing, and 3rd in the state. That's what happened. I didn't move up at all in the last lap, though I'm sure I could have.
The last 5 turns are pretty complicated at a speed 3 miles an hour faster than what you are used to. Where you were with 5 turns to go was where you were with 1 turn, the sprint was fast into the wind. The winner, Huff from Jelly belly was maybe 6 bike lengths ahead of me, but there were also 20 racers between him and me.
As far as a spectating and racing, the downtown lawrence crit is one of the best. Lots of cheering fans, fun fast turns, and good places to eat.