First Race – ICE Sportswear Crit – by Ethan Zhu
A week ago, I was tempted by fellow PAA member Tommy Liao to get into road racing. I succumbed and decided to sign up for the upcoming crit, the ICE Sportswear Criterium held in Carson this past Sunday, February 15th. Training with 83 last minute miles the week leading up, I was nervous for my first race. Brandon Lee and Tommy gave me some helpful advice, especially to stick within the front 1/3 of the peloton. This helped me avoid a crash in the first few laps, although the sound of riders going down behind was quite cringing. The course itself consisted of a start/finish straight with a slight bulge at the middle, and then slightly inclined downhill for the first two turns, followed by a noticeable uphill after the third corner, and finishes off the fourth corner back to the start. In the end, the race lasted a little over 10 miles and 12 laps of the 0.8 mile course. I was able to hold a forward-mid-pack position for the first 8 laps but began having issues dealing with slowing riders up the incline after the third corner, leading to a lot of energy wasted. I also spent too much time out in the wind and not enough time sticking behind a wheel, wasting more energy. Unfortunately the peloton got away from me after the 10th lap but I still finished the race. Out of a full field of 75, I was able to place 63rd. For my first crit, I am happy that I was able to finish the race without being pulled, I wasn’t last, and that I didn’t crash. Definitely an enjoyable experience and I’m looking forward to training more and racing in future crits!