So today I received what I have been working towards all Summer, I got my USCF upgrade to Category 4. You earn a Cat 4 upgrade by competing in at least 10, qualifying, mass-start races. From here on out my ability to move up in categories will be based soley on results. You need to earn a certain number of points in a 12 month period to move from 4 to 3 – and you earn points by placing well in large races.
The great thing about getting my upgrade today though was it enabled me to race in the “B” race in the last Tbi Wed. Night Crit of the Summer. You must be a Cat 4 or Cat 3 racer to compete in the B race, plus the B race is longer and faster than the C race I had been competing in. The B race also starts ~30 minutes later than the C race, so next season it will make it much easier for me to get to the race without having to leave work early.
This week’s race was also special for another reason. One of TBi’s junior racers, Ivan Musaka, died tragically over the weekend. Ivan was only days away from starting his first semester at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX. All proceeds from the race were going towards Ivan’s memorial fund. Several area racers also donated several hundred dollars to use as prize money in the races in order to generate more interest in the race. It worked and the B and A race had 35+ riders.
For the B race there was enough money that they decided to do a prime on every lap. My goal for the race was to simply finish with the pack and see how I measured-up; therefore, giving me a good gauge of what I need to work on for next season. My second objective was, in the slim chance, if I had an opportunity to get a prime, to go for it with the intention of donating the winnings back to Ivan’s fund.
The race started fast, but not a “break-neck” pace. I tried to always be in a rider’s slipstream in order to conserve energy. We averaged over 24 mph, but I felt good. On the 7th of 10 laps, I made a move to get towards the front of the pack and decided to go for it. I opened up a pretty good gap and it looked like no one was going to chase me. What I didn’t realize is Tammy, a strong women’s racer for Colonel’s/Lonestarworks and Joe from the Broken Film’s Team started to work together to chase me down. I heard Joe at the last second as we approached the line and I tried to shift to a bigger gear to sprint and my chain slipped, Joe beat me by a bike’s length.
At this point I was pretty spent, but managed to get back in the main pack as they came by. I recovered and was able to stay with the pack at the finish. I unofficially finished 13th out of 35 riders – not bad for my first B race. As I’ve said before, I will definitely need to work on my sprinting for next season.