Submitted by Joe Reis
I registered for the TD Bank Mayor’s Cup Professional Criterium in mid-August before I knew it was going to be the USA Crits series championship. I had heard a great deal about the race from friends and thought it would be a fun way to end the road season. The race was certainly fun and it was very neat to be competing in the middle of a city like Boston, but it was definitely not an easy race to end the season on.
I arrived at the Government Center in Boston with about 30 minutes to spare. I quickly kitted up and picked up my number only to find that they were calling riders to the staging area. With no warmup, I knew my legs would not be happy. To top it off, I was starting in the back of the 100+ rider field. I had been told that I really had to start at the front for this race, but I didn’t think much of it until I actually saw the course.
When we took off, things immediately stretched out. We made our way down past the first two turns and took off on the backstretch. Just as predicted, the legs were screaming. All I could do was sit in and hold on for dear life. After about 15 minutes of this, I managed to start working my way through the field. I always felt like I was making good progress until we hit the back stretch and I could see how big the field actually was and how many riders were in front of me. No matter how many people I passed, it felt like I was still sitting in the back. Luckily, the pack seemed to balloon mid-race after the start/finish line. I was able to shoot up into good position and stay there for a lap. I got my confidence up and wanted more so I tried to get even further up by passing on the inside of the 2nd corner. This turned out to be a big mistake though as I lost all momentum after getting cut off and having to brake. It took a lot energy to get back up to speed and I burnt a big match. I had to spend the next 5 or so laps sitting in and recovering. Definitely learned a lesson from that one.
With 7 laps to go there was a crash in between turns 1 and 2. The legs were back now, but I was also sitting pretty far back so I was forced to slow again as I made my way around the downed riders. Once again, I found myself burning another big match as I sprinted to catch back on. This was where the race really got fast as teams started queueing up at the front. There was little I could do at this point but sit and hang on. The rest of the race was really just surge and recover since things were so strung out in the back. On the last lap, there was another crash on the 3rd corner. Lots of riders went down in this and I had to slam the brakes. There was no way that I could do anything and I just had to roll in with the rest of the riders for 62nd place.
This was definitely a tough race tactically for me. I learned a lot of valuable lessons though and I am eager to learn from my mistakes. Overall, this was a great experience. It was such a neat feeling to be competing among so many big names and in Boston. Such a great way to end the road season.
Time for some CX now.