Enough already. The third crit for the year. Dear National Cycling Club Association, we are OVER it…them…criterium racing…for this year anyways.
Sorry for shouting but we–well, maybe it’s just me–are more than satisfied with this year’s quota of flat circular racing. Tainan, Taichung, and finally Changhua.
True, we were pumped, surrounded by the vibrant hum of high end bicycle design and manufacture in the Taichung-Changhua corridor. But we’ll be glad to get back up into the hills really soon. It’s cooler for starters.
What a funny old year. The first criterium was almost rained out. The next two saw everyone roasted within an inch of their lives. Sunday’s crit was by the
ocean sea so we got a lick of sea breeze to soothe fevered brows a tad after midday.
It didn’t help cool things down too much though.
The M50 division were absolutely on fire and clearly responsible for raising the temperature into the high 30s.
Here the guys are negotiating the tricky first corner some 150m from the start.
Already at full steam, they completed their 6 (x5 km) laps in 45.05. The slowest was the M19 at 52.42, a fact that the commentator did not let them forget in what turned out to be a long afternoon.
That corner is as tight as they come. But just about everyone took this at full pace. That involved a wide entry and wide exit.
Wen-Sheng (pictured) was with the leading group although, they got away a bit from him towards the end. No probs. After the event, he grabs his DSLR, finds a good pozzie or two and spends the rest of the day crit shooting: a fierce competitor and an awesome photographer.
Taking the same corner at the same pace. the ladies were no less intent on making a statement. Winnie, who whipped up the great mountain in a solo training run a few weeks ago, is there on the inside left.
30 years the senior of most of the others she eventually finished off the pace.
But not by that much!
Some young ladies were more than happy to potter around without a backward glance at the higher octane adult shenanigans a few meters behind her. Will she remember her first bike? Mine was a hand-me-trike… Young lady, I hope you appreciate all you’ve got!!
William Zhuang, he who suffered mightily (uncharacteristically I might add) in his beloved mountains recently, but who also scored a no-nonsense personal best two weeks ago on the great mountain, was unconvinced today.
MF crit his body language seemed to suggest. He even used an old steel frame today just in case his climbing bike got caught up in a crash. Alishan in two weeks time is the target.
He’s 2nd in the overall M 15 standings this year. With a good climb may take the #1 spot as he did last year in this final race of the season.
As for setting the course on fire, the elite group are something else altogether. Today Taiwan’s top racer, Akai, decided to come and teach a few people a lesson.
Akai formed a breakaway with 4 others leaving the main group with a feeling of dejavu: same thing (different players) happened to them in the last event.
Having recently returned from training in Spain, Akai may have been expecting this to be a bit easier than it was. He had to make do with a second to his team mate.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any hotter, the Team Time Trials took up the later part of the afternoon. Short and not so sweet, it was 2 x 5km circuits.
Team RTS displayed their characteristic quiet confidence as they prepared for battle.
Team Primavera headed down the backstraight like every Orc in Mordor was in hot pursuit.
It was actually Team Cinelli Ritchey, who look nothing like Orcs and certainly behave nothing like them. Most impressive as they thundered on by.
On the second circuit the pace seemed to be showing somewhat. Faces were a little more telling than the previous passby.
Team Columbus was partcularly impressive rotating like clockwork through the paceline. There was indeed more than enough impressive performances across the board.
As Lee Rodgers–who was third in the elite division of last month’s crit–comments from the recently wrapped up Tour of East Java:
Trust me, the Asians are a-coming. It might not be this year, or the next, before a real star emerges in Europe, but it won’t be long.
Anyhow, the day, all in all, belonged to the older gents.
Sure age matters.
But dedication to cycling, love of cycling, love of putting yourself within a whisker of delivering the technicolor yawn (you always feel great having recovered) and the rest makes all the difference.
If that heat is living in the hearts of a bunch of lads itching to get racing, it’s game on, big time.
I’ll not be forgetting they way they attacked that first corner for quite some time.