Torrance Crit by Mitchell Rattanavipapong
Torrance Crit (Cat 4)
The day started early, not as early as the Cat 5 races but early nonetheless, and I was carpooling with Teammate/Capt Tommy. We drive out at about 7:30 am and get to the races about an hour later. Plenty of time to prepare, reg, and warm up.
We ride up to the line for the start of the race. The race official gives his usual speech of rules and things to watch out for. The course is fairly straightforward except for one part, turn one and turn two. It is basically a zig and then a zag. So if someone tries to sneak in on the inside of turn two they push everyone push potentially causing a crash. Booooo.
So the race starts. I immediately hit the front top 20 and screwed around up there taking epically short pulls. There were a few attacks but none of them stuck until around the 15-20 minute mark. Two people attacked and went away. Another bridged that attack but no one else went after it. The gap grew a bit for about 3 laps. Then it almost came back however the peloton refused to work so the gap grew again, they went on to win with about a 15 second gap. Back in the peloton, I dropped back 10 or 15 positions and Tommy passed me. I hung out around there and rested for a bit. At 4 laps to go I look for Tommy. 3 laps to go I get to Tommy and am on his right side. We were about in the top 20 of the peloton. The plan was for me to bring Tommy up and drop him off in a good position for the sprint and I was in a perfect position to do so.
2 laps to go here comes turn 1. I take it on the inside so that I can go wide on turn two just in case it gets crazy and some idiot tries to sneak in and cause people to get pushed out. I am still on Tommy’s right side. Turn 2 comes immediately after. The stars align and the power of Grey Skull and all the rings of Captain Planet combine and someone takes the turn way to sharp bumping elbows with Tommy and shoving his pedal into Tommy’s rear wheel pushing him out into my front wheel, Tommy’s rear wheel has broken spokes and my spokes shaved some carbon off of his chain stay. I’m on the very outside so I unclip, look right and then swing way out into the curb and I see the curb coming. I try and straighten out so I don’t run into the curb and it’s not happening. Lucky for me there was a ramp I rolled onto. If not for that ramp I would have crashed. I go up the ramp and onto the sidewalk. I’m safe right? Nope… Right in the middle of the sidewalk is a nice and very hi-viz cone. I turn slightly and kick the cone. Now I’m safe. Damage check. 3 bent spokes and a nice dent in my rim, probably from the derailleur; Dura Ace C35 front wheel probably done for it’s in the shop now waiting for a response from Shimano, booooo.
My race is done. So I walk back to the finish. Tommy stopped after turn 3 so I didn’t see him, he did crash though. I watch the breakaway cross the finish line and then the peloton. Then I see Tommy cross the finish line. He’s riding a borrowed fixie from a spectator. With no free laps he crosses the line and then does another lap to finish. Crazy guy. Amazing no one crashed. I’ve got all my skin so I’m happy… Until next time!