Crit racing is as fun as it sounds. Racing round a closed town centre is intense, exhilarating, dangerous but very fun.
My first effort was at the Farnham Town Centre Criterium which was a pretty flat circuit with 60 or so Cat 3 riders giving it a good go. An incline on the home straight and a high speed chicane proved to be the pinch points where people were either dropped or hit the deck (road surface was terrible).
These races start fast and furious and your heart rate goes from zero to nearly max from the off. Due to limited chances to overtake, it is paramount to get a good starting position on the grid and just go for it full gas.
This wasn’t the case at Farnham when I was far too deep in the pack on the start line and spent the first 10 or so laps reeling in the chasing group then the last 10 laps leading said chasing group to catch up the 2 man breakaway.
With the hard work done and with two laps to go, I was second wheel when I took the chicane perfectly but very much using every millimetre of grip from my tyres as I banked left. I felt a nudge from behind me and before I knew it I was on the deck.
I finished the race but outside of the points and with a some valuable lessons learned.
Guildford Town Centre Crit was a chance to right a few wrongs 3 days earlier and it is a legendary race on the annual Crit circuit.
The cobbled high street provides a bone shaking sprint up to the finish line and despite it being a shorter race (25 minutes comapred to Farnham’s 45 minutes), it was equally intense.
I was in the front line at the start and held my position in the chasing pack throughout the race. Five of us were vying for 2nd place (1st place was an immense breakaway) and it was all done to the final sprint up the high street.
Amazing crowds cranked up the atmosphere and I was looking forward to getting amongst the points. A mistimed gear changed and some bumps in the circuit dashed those hopes with 200 metres to go when my chain fell off. Game over. Empty handed. The joys of crit racing!