So, I’m going to officially toe the line at my first criterium ever in a couple months. I’ve got my USAC license, and am an official CAT 5
I’m going to do the CAT 5 race, and then the 4/5 about an hour later. These are “C” races for me.
This may sound crazy, but I think I can win the CAT 5 race. I also know I probably won’t – but I think I have a shot. Here’s why…
– I live in Chicago – and it’s been a cold, snowy winter and this is an early season race, so unless a bunch of level 5 racers have spent the winter on a trainer (I have) there won’t be a ton of fitness on the start line.
– On race day, if everything goes according to plan, I should be carrying an FTP of ~315 and ~4w/kg to the start line. This is a pan flat course. From everything I’ve read/heard here, that sounds like it will be an uncommonly high FTP for a CAT 5 race. (True?)
– There isn’t a secret cadre of mountain bikers that might show up to a crit and tear everyone’s legs off. This is Chicago. It’s flat here.
– There could be a crazy fit triathlete that does this, but again, due to the winter here I view that as not very likely.
– The race is only 25 minutes long – so any power penalty I pay due to not being as skilled and efficient as I could be will likely not cost me too much in the end. However, I generally ride road races and gravel races – so I am not unaccustomed to close quarters riding and pack dynamics
– From watching YouTube videos of past versions of the same race, it always seems to end in a sprint and I have a decent, but not exceptional, turn of power at about ~1200 watts.
The only concern I have is the course has a 180-degree hairpin turn about 600 meters from the finish – course map can be viewed here: Lincoln Park Crit Map
So my question to the wise and experienced forum is this: given all the factors listed above, would you go into that last turn in between P3 - P5 find a fast wheel and leave it to the sprint? Or would you try and take a long range flier about 2 laps out and try to solo for the win to try and take that corner out of the equation?
Or am I full of it, and have no shot of winning?
Edited by Chad McNeese, to add direct link to results post below.