I got home just before 5pm on Saturday from two weeks of Annual Training. At 8am Sunday, I started my first race in more than a month, a criterium held on the west side of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster--which meant the back side of the course was one block from my house.
The Father's Day race used to be held at Greenfield Industrial Park on the east side of Lancaster, but after 20 years, the Park owners decided it was time for the racers to get new venue.
Criteriums are my favorite kind of race--not that I am good at them, but they are a lot of fun for an ex motorcycle rider who loves fast corners. The 0.8-mile course was a one-block-wide, three-block-long rectangle that is downhill on the backstretch and uphill on the front. The start-finish line is near the top of the hill. In just 20 miles we made 100 right turns. From the uphill start-finish line, the first turn is slow, the second is faster, the third is fastest of all and the fourth starts uphill and is a slower.
Eleven laps into the race I was dropping off the back of the pack. I would have quit if three of my kids were not cheering their lungs out. Lisa, Nigel and Jacari were yelling "Go Dad!" over and over each time I went past. As I passed them at lap 11 I made a big effort to catch the pack. The pack slowed down into the first turn. By the second turn I was back on and for the rest of the race, I stayed in by resting on the downhill. I got extra rest by staying 10 meters behind the field as they entered turn three either side of 30 mph. They slowed entering the turn and stayed on the right side of the road. I did not slow down and went to the left side of the road. I would pass four or five riders every time. A couple of times I passed ten. As a result, I was mid pack up the hill. I could lose ten places and still be in the pack down the other side.
On lap three the pack slowed so I went out front. I had no other reason except to let my kids see Dad in front. Jacari hadn't seen many races so he thought I would get some kind of prize for leading lap three. Nigel and Lisa knew that leading early means you are less likely to win.
It was a great Father's Day finishing with the pack and several of my teammates.