805 Criterium Weekend by Bernard Labansat

805 Criterium Weekend

Bernard Labsansat (Cat 3)


So it’s been two weeks now from when I last raced my three day race weekend at Lompoc for California’s Criterium State Championships.   I was Nervous on Friday afternoon, mostly because I wanted to do well that weekend but also because I didn’t want to crash in any of the two races that weekend before the final Sunday crit championship race. I felt good that I would leave with a podium and overall placing though, yet I really wanted the win and be able to bring back home a California Title back for our Club (PAA/Remax).   Day one of my three day race weekend took place in the city of Lompoc on Friday afternoon for me. It was a Cat3 flat all left turn course and the winds were high, I mean very high. I was dumb enough to have only brought my 85mm Irt carbon wheelset for this race weekend so I was having a hard time controlling my wheel and maintaining a steady high speed. Throughout my race for day one, I was struggling with trying to keep up with David Miller a rider from La Grange racing club. He was riding very strong that day and would ride strong the whole weekend for the race series.

During the race I was almost forced out by the high winds, so I decided to push out from the group and pull myself from the right side. This allowed me to ride header and avoid myself from crashing or causing a crash in the peloton. It also provided me with coverage from the wind, since the wind was coming from the left. (Remember this guys, sometimes its better to pull yourself if you know when to do it). In the final lap of the race David Miller from La Grange maintain his three lap solo break away and won day one of the race. I managed to get blocked by two riders and ended my sprint finish with a 5th place for day one of the Lompoc race weekend. I wanted to say this; I have been seeing real good improvements by selecting to recover with PowerBar Protein Recovery bars. I wanted to start building lean muscle faster and more efficient, but the way I was doing after every one of my training rides just wasn’t cutting it. So, I decided to order myself some PowerBar protein recovery Bars for my next team order. I began using them and even blended them into my banana/blueberry milkshakes (fat free milk) soon after one week began noticing a change in my weight but also noticed I was getting more cut in my muscle tone. I also saw a change in my recovery; it was faster and more efficient.


On day two which was on Saturday, I raced my second race of the series. I was tired from not sleeping well but I felt good in my legs. I didn’t even get to warm up really, but I told myself that I would be fine. The race started at the whistle and we began our Cat3 race, which had one left turn and three right turns. I noticed that David Miller again was going to be the one to look out for, so I made sure to stay near him and kept myself from pulling too much or having him notice me. This race was hard, the winds were very high again and riders were attempting breakaways and playing musical bikes very well. I managed to fall back to the end twice but quickly sat in and waited for my chance to move up during the turns. I felt pretty good during the race, I mean I was getting my butt kicked in cardio but I managed to eat a light breakfast and used my Powerbar Baby sauce products, which really has been doing the trick for me when it comes to providing me enough race day nutrition. Plus it tastes very good. During the race I managed to stay close to David Miller and I actually spoke to him during the race and told him: “Hey lets work together and make sure we both get to podium.” He actually said okay, and we ended up working till the final sprint, yet we managed to pick up another sprinter named Chris Rea (he would end up being the winner of this race). Here’s how it went down, during the final lap things got very spicy from the first turn. Riders where repositioning themselves almost at every turn, so I just stuck to trying to stay in the front without having to take a turn at pulling. At the last turn, I told myself, that riders would most likely crash since it was the sharpest of the four turns. So what I did was take the turn very tight in inward that way riders wouldn’t try to seek in and try to attempt a risky move they might not be able to pull off and crash me and everybody else. Right after the turn it was only five of us since there was a crash and the remaining five which included David Miller and me and Chris Rea took off sprinter towards the 400 meter finish line. I was out sprinted by Chris Rea, therefore it was between David Miller and myself to fight for 2nd place. I tried my hardest to get an edge on David Miller but he just wanted the 2nd place more than me, so he ended up taking it by a wheel. I ended up with 3rd place that day. I was okay with that, only because it was a hard race and I got our club (PAA) a podium victory that day. I was pooped for day two, now it was time for me to recover.


Day three, Sunday, last day and the Official California State Crit race. I have to say that I was very tired and but not sore before the race, but I did make a mistake on this day. I didn’t eat my breakfast as soon as I got up that morning, I actually was too busy with packing up my stuff since I had to check out of my motel at 11am and my race was going to be at 4pm. I finally checked out of my motel and heading around 10:30am to watch my friends race in the Cat4 race. I never should have done that. I should have just gone to eat first a light healthy meal, since I wanted to have a two hour gap between my race and eating. I didn’t do that and watched my friend race. After watching my friend’s race, I decided to get the bright idea of eating at this very great sushi place I had gone to the night before with my friend. This place and the owner/chef were so great that I just had to return for a second time. That was a big mistake. I ordered light, but the sushi chef had to be so cool with us that he kept bringing us free food for my friend and me, how could I say no to that? Well I didn’t and over ate with two hours before my state championship crit race. I felt very sleepy after I left the sushi restaurant and wanted to kick myself in the head for doing what I did before a race especially one of this importance.

Here it goes, the whistle blows signaling the start of our Cat 3 California championship crit race. As soon as the whistle was blown riders already began their attacks and serious pulls. On the first three laps I had trouble getting myself to the front of the pack, so I told myself just sit on and warm my legs up. As soon as I was in my tenth lap I felt good and began my move towards the front of the pack. I broke off to the side of the peloton and used the right-side to push myself forward to the front. The winds were yet again very high and I let the peloton provided draft for me. I quickly got pushed back as soon as I got in the front of the pack, mostly because many knew what three sprinters to look out for now, so whenever David Miller, Chris Rea or myself got in the front the rest of the pack got nervous and pulled off breaks and repositioning attacks. A break managed to maintain a four lap break way, this break had David Miller in it, so I began to panic, and as soon as that occurred my stupid mistake of eating so much sushi just two hours before my race kicked in. I felt like throwing up….. I felt bad for the riders drafting me because I would burp out smells of my meal and it was not good. I managed to close two breakaways but it left me feeling very sick and tired. With three laps to go I felt very burnt out, and told myself I needed to get back in the front, since I was in the top 15th of the peloton of riders. At one lap to go the pace quickly got crazy and unsteady. Riders were pulling off bad moves and turning very poorly, so I began to move forward more and stayed in the top ten of the pack. I knew during the race that I needed to be in the top 5 of the front group during the third to last turn. I used up some of my sprint to managed that, so at the final turn to the sprint finish I was positioned in the top 6 or 7 or racers. I unfortunately I got blocked during the sprint finish plus felt sick tired, and ended up placing 7th in the race. David miller placed 2nd again and Chris Rea took the win and the title of California state crit champ. I was not disappointed, I was happy and knew what I did and didn’t do in this race. I was happy for the winner and the 2nd place winner because I had become friends with them, they were good guys and they deserved their win. I also was happy that I placed 3rd place overall for the three day race weekend, something pretty cool for our club (PAA/Remax) that’s not too bad right!? Overall I had myself a blast that weekend and I made lots of new friends plus brought home some podiums for our club (PAA). I just want to end my race report with this, I had a goal set for myself this past fall, I told myself I would prove to myself and to my family that I would train hard and make sacrifices in order to attain my goals that I had made for my racing. I have to say that almost all my goals came true, and for that I am very pleased with myself. What’s the point of all this? Well, it’s a reminder to all that if you make a plan and understand what it takes to make that plan come true, one must study, train, eat well, think positive, be reasonable, and finally make sacrifices in order for their goals to play out well. Also, this couldn’t be done without the support of my teammates and club (PAA); seriously you guys have been very good to me and all of our teammates this season. I thank you for that. I promise to continue to do my best my races to keep us on the podiums.




Thank you to our PAA/Remax Team Sponsors: Pasadena Athletic Association, Remax Properties: The Loeffler Team, Louis Garneau, and PowerBar.