A Criterium is a race with a very short lap, usually less than a mile, often less than a half mile. It is my favorite kind of race because you make four 90-degree corners (or more) per lap and you can go fast. The road is closed. It's great fun. But accelerating out of those four corners every 1 minute 10 second lap means it is a lot of work to stay with the pack. It is easy to be lapped if you screw up in one corner, so my comeback goal of finishing on the lead lap was going to be hardest here.
And eight laps into the race I was sure I would not make it the 20-lap full distance. I wasn't sure I would make it to half way. Two or three times in the opening laps the pack surged and I barely caught back on going up one of the two short hills. But I made it. I remembered to do what I used to do when I was wanted to rest--I hang about ten meters of the back of the pack going into the turn then when they are braking, I coast into the pack and come out of the corner at pack speed with less effort. this works great until there is an attack between turns, then I am 10 meters back of a pack that just upped its cornering speed by 5 mph. that happened on lap 17--I rode the last three laps alone. but the pace car never caught me and I finished on the lead lap. Since at least one other guy dropped out, I was not last.