Posted by: Travis | February 8, 2009

Race Wrap Up: Cherry Pie Crit (Napa, CA) – 2/8/2009

Though the Early Bird races i’ve been doing so far are technically real races, they’re viewed as more casual ‘warm up’ races. This week’s early bird crit in Napa was the first ‘real’ race i’ve done this season. Given how great i felt last week, and how good some of my training rides were early this week, i thought for sure i was going to turn in a good performance. I did everything i’ve learned to do so far: i did hard intervals early in the week leading up to the race, took it easy in the few days leading up to the race, warmed up on the stationary trainer before the race, and even did a 2 lap pre-ride of the course to make sure i knew what to expect, but i guess today just wasn’t my day.

The course wasn’t too technical, so i wasn’t too worried about crashes. All but one of the corners were super wide on the set up and the exit. There was a chicane, but it was so wide and gradual that i really wasn’t worried about it. The only thing i noticed that could be trouble was the weather. It was cloudy and nasty looking (though it didn’t ever rain on us), cold (about 45 degrees, i don’t hate the cold as much as some, but i’d rather it be hot), but the biggest problem was the wind. Get separated from the pack on a windy day and you’ll never catch back on.

Everyone got lined up quite a bit quicker than i was expecting so i ended up getting lined up in the very back, separated from my teammates (who i never met), and chasing from the get go. The course was narrow and didn’t have many long straightaways, which made moving up in the pack really difficult unless you wanted to take some serious chances in the corners. I was able to hang on the back for about 20 out of the 30 minutes that we raced, then the constant braking and accelerations of the accordion effect and exposure to the wind that comes with being at the back of the field tired me out and i got popped, left to ride the rest of the race on my own. I took a lap a little slow to recover and then gave catching back on an honest try for a lap and really pushed it.

Getting some quality time in the pain locker, all by myself

Getting some quality time in the pain locker, all by myself

Once it became obvious that i wasn’t catching back onto the pack, i decided to enjoy my time off the back and practice cornering as fast as i could. I refused to quit until i got yanked. After yelling that to Rachel, I promptly got yanked from the race by the race official for the last lap. So i get to go home with the dreaded DNF (did not finish), just know that it wasn’t because i quit.

After the race we went to the legendary burger spot, Taylor’s refresher in St. Helena (north of Napa). I got the western blue and gold burger (blue cheese, bacon, bbq sauce, and an onion ring) as my consolation prize instead on the cherry pie i was hoping to win.

We also hit Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery for some goodies that were out of this world. Lemon tart, bouchon chocolate brownie cakes, madelines, TKO (Thomas Keller Oreo), Thomas Keller Nutter Butter, then vanilla, caramel, and chocolate macarons. Delicious!

Goodies from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery

Goodies from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery

After picking up some grub we went back to the race to see the pros do their thing. While the Garmin-Slipstream crew that was registered to race never showed, a few other pros showed up and kept things interesting.

While i continue to be frustrated by my racing inconsistencies, it was still a fun day. I guess having to work harder just makes it more rewarding later on when i finally figure this bike racing thing out. Next race is the Menlo Park Crit on March 8, the day after my birthday. I should be able to get some decent training in between now and then and be in decent shape.

Anyway, the rest of the pictures can be found here.



  1. […] be able to really push it on the hill, and recover on the rest of the course. That i put on such an embarrassing performance at Cherry Pie in 2009, as my racing career was just getting started, added extra motivation to exercising my Cherry Pie […]

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