The Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium marks my return to crit racing in a year after a brief stint in early 2014. On a short 0.7 mile course, the next to the last turn offered racers a mild incline that seemed to level the playing field for climbers. Fellow PAA racers in the 40+ cat 4/5 field included Alex Robinson, Brandon Heflin of Centric Bikes, and Sean Hall. Big shout out to Brandon for returning to racing after a few years off. I easily downed a pack of PowerBar gel 15 minutes before the start to ensure maximum energy reserves, took a couple of sips of water, and readied myself for the start. Eddie Ramirez gave us an overview of the course, and that helped set expectations for the first couple of laps.
The race was both exhilarating and a bit unnerving simultaneously. There were a few friendly warnings to a couple of racers to hold their lines through turns. The 2nd turn came quickly on the far side downhill section of the course, followed with a quick left and quick right to ready for the 3rd turn for the uphill section before the final 4th turn. Each lap consisted of stretching out the pack during the downhill, and allowing the climbers to gain ground on the uphill, resulting in an accordion effect. I decided to use by experience on the Ontario GP crit series last year to make my move on the 2nd lap, position and sprint up the incline for the final turn to the finish. But the pack of mostly cat 4 racers picked up the speed considerably with 2 laps to go. Not as prepared as I wanted to be, I was able to hold on for a mid pack finished…I’ll take it!