The UNR Criterium proved to be difficult from the start. The course was a winding 0.7 miles with two full 180 degree turns and plenty of tight corners. I arrived at the course well before my start time to watch the other races and support my team mates. Within seconds of arriving at the course, I witnessed a UCLA racer crash into a corner and another rider pile up on top.
As I waited for my race to start, the crash toll went up. Even one of our own riders went down in one of the corners. I decided that I would have to be sharp to keep the rubber on the road. I also figured that gloves would be a good choice to protect my hands if I went down.
My race time came to fruition and myself and about 8 other riders lined up at the start. The official blew the whistle and we were off. We started off pretty slow. As I sat in behind two other riders I noticed that the other riders were slow through the corners riding the brakes all the way through. A few laps in the official rang the bell for a prime lap and I knew I could win it so I picked up the pace. I pulled ahead on the downhill and flew through the first two corners. On the third corner (the 180 degree U-turn) I took the corner too fast and washed out scraping my whole right side. I quickly slapped my chain back on and raced to the start line to get my free lap. I rolled back into the race and was swiftly back in the draft. A few laps in the bell rang again. This prime was mine. I sat back until the last 100 meters where I sprinted out front to win the lap.
The last few laps I sat out front pushing wind trying to move back to take a break. Before I knew it the final bell rang and a Stanford rider took off into a sprint. I struggled to keep up and remained 4th wheel until the finish.
By Roger O’Neill
The Men’s C road race was 44 miles with roughly 3000ft of elevation. The climbs start after about the first 5 miles, and that’s when Cal Poly made the first attack. The chase group caught him around 2/5 of the race, and at that point the leading group has roughly 10 riders. We have also passed Women’s A and Men’s B(while they were taking their pee break).
Wind was slightly stronger on the later half of the race. I felt the leading group was being very collaborative. Everyone put in some effort and got nice drafts. We ended up staying away successfully. Cal Poly and Santa Cruz launched another attack, and it was very difficult to bring them back this time. I was breathing really hard just to hold onto the chase group and wasn’t even sure if I could make it. I guess that was the altitude.
During the last quarter of the race, the finishing group has come down to 5 riders from Cal Poly, Santa Cruz, Long Beach, UCSD, and Stanford. And we all made it to the final sprint. Finally, Long Beach, Cal Poly, and I took the podium. Ben came in 6th soon after us.
Katherine and Lilly also took 3rd and 6th in Women’s A. Sadly Roger couldn’t race due to some injury from yesterday’s crash.
By Matthew Hung