Richie Slagle just off the podium with a strong 4th place effort!
Cat 3 State Championship Criterium 7/21
The MOAB Criterium became the state championship event for 2013, and multiple members of the Hub City Bicycle – Lift Center Racing Team were able to make it to Murfresboro to give a throw at the jersey.
I had raced the day before, and was excited about being well rested, and had learned an important lesson getting nipped on the line in Nashville. Chris Winter, Richie Slagle, and myself lined up for the event. Having the full Cat 3 team was awesome, and we knew that we had a good chance at podium, and even the win. Our plan was as always, to race as a team and be “opportunists”, trying to cash in on any specific scenarios we encountered.
The race was epic in more ways than one, with a solid field and weather less than cooperative. It started out dry then there was a complete downpour, then it quit again but roads were soaked during the 50 minute event. This was an issue, as the course has some technical turns and a few painted lines. Last year, I was about taken out in the sprint, and sat up, so I was on the defensive for sure.
The beginning of the race was typical, there were multiple attacks and we attempted to establish break aways at several points during the race. Nothing was able to get off the front, and I decided to rest the 2nd half of the race and do my best during the field sprint. I hung out in the back of the pack but as soon as it started raining I moved up front and tried to stay within the top 5. With 3 or 4 laps to go it started to speed up and the plan was for me to attack on the hill and have Chris on my wheel (as usual). However, with two to go, I was coming through the first corner and the rider in front of me went down and I couldn’t avoid him, causing me to crash with Chris on my wheel. I had no free lap, and got up as quickly as I could, but had a problem with my rear brake which cost me another 20 seconds. Chris didn’t fall, but was gapped. In addition, the guys up front throttled it when they saw the crash occurred.
Luckily, Richie was two riders up, and able to finish in 4th, I ended up 9th and Chris 7th. Very disappointing, as we had ridden a very smart race up to that point, and I was well prepared to duke it out in a field sprint. It goes to show that there is always chance involved in racing… Lesson #2 or 3 for the year, which we know too well with Chris’s crash at the Rockabilly Gran Prix and weather affecting our Road Race finish there as well!
The silver lining was that the riders that did make it on the podium are super-cool guys and amazing athletes, with Matt Robbins taking 1rst, followed by Will Montgomery, both deserving of the honors.
by Alan Rothrock