Race Report from the top of the Podium at Cyclenaut Criterium
by Jerome Guerard, RSC racer. Jerome races a Honey
Final 200 Meters bike.
Saturday's Cyclenaut's Criterium held at Stafford Springs Speedway in Connecticut had only one star, Mother Nature. The supporting cast of this meteorologic show of force was a very small group of under-dressed, lycra clad, half wits who decided the day would be better spent case hardening their legs and spirits rather than seeking warmth and shelter.
Fortunate to have a 10 x 10 tent, my warm up went surprisingly well. The fact is that I brought pretty much the same stuff that I use to ski coach in during the Winter, this allowed me to stay relatively dry and keep my core temp high. Despite that, getting onto the lap for staging was similar to a Swedish sauna. No, not the sauna itself but that odd theraputic process of sitting in the sauna (warm up) then running out and rolling in the snow (the course), then being flogged by black birch saplings (the wind & spray and yes this really exists).
Once on course it was obvious that there would be no hiding in the field, with only 12 registered and a few last minute no shows only 8 of use took the line. OK...new strategy, work them over for a lap or two into the 30 mph headwind then sit in for four. Once recovered do it again. My strategy to ditch the weak illustrated who to watch out for and who had strength. For a little while I thought a Sunapee rider and I would go off the front but as the wind picked up and the rain came down even harder it was clear that we had to stick it out together. Continuing with my plan of attack I put in a hard 2 lap charge with the Sunapee rider taking a short pull here and there. This left me with 3 laps to recover and sit in.
On the bell lap I sat in the back of the surviving 4 racers and waited for them all to work far too much into the headwind. With fits and starts they all tried to get away not realizing that they were really just a 4 person lead out train for me. Before the second to last corner, still pressing into the wind I went very wide left, up the banking of the track where none of them could draft and I could use the down slope to really launch my sprint. On the last corner, now with a strong tailwind I could sit up and jibe to the finish if needed. When I looked back with 50 meters to go there was probably another 50 or 60 meters to the would-be 2nd and 3rd place riders. Winner winner chicken dinner....and a couple of great Harpoons courtesy of RSC Racer Matt Nutella Nutelley's 3rd place winnings.
Jerome went on to win the Nutmeg Criterium on June 8 on his Honey. That day it was rainy everywhere except at his race, where he reported sun.