Collegiate Nationals Part 3: Nik’s Crit

16 05 2009

While Yoly’s race finishes up with an exciting field sprint, Nik makes his last minute preparations, which basically consist of nothing. Nik’s been ready for about  an hour. We’ve talked a little about who to watch and the course and how it might play out, but with no other teammates, Nik is free to race his own race. He’s been racing major events for years, so he really doesn’t need much coaching. The plan is to get to the front and stay near the front, conserving energy, avoiding crashes, and following wheels. Nik does a great job at positioning himself in the top 10-15 for the entire race and avoids an 11-rider pile-up about half way through. About this same time, a two man break, including Cumberland’s Thacker Reeves (the men’s overall winner of our Southeastern Conference), gets about 15 seconds on the field. Constant attacks from the field start bringing the two back and as the race enters the last 15 minutes it looks like the two will surely be caught. But then the field mysteriously sits up, spreading across the road, and the two have a new lease. Spencer Beamer from Furman (also from the SECCC) almost catches the break with three laps to go but is absorbed by the field and coming around the last corner the field sprints for 3rd place. Despite getting swarmed in the last lap, Nik manages to sprint to a fine 15th place. Combined with his road race finish yesterday, Nik finishes 19th overall in the individual omnium. Very respectable. Nik has three years left of college racing, and I fully expect to see him on the podium a number of times before he graduates.

After the race, we grab some pizza downtown and discuss with a nearby table of CSU cyclists whether or not there will be a naked crit tonight. The naked crit is an infamous collegiate tradition that usually takes place in a secret location in the evening after the lycra and spandex crit. We learn that the Ft. Collins police prevented its occurrence last year and that tonight’s weather calls for rain anyway, so we move the conversation forward and decide to check out bikes from the Ft. Collins bike library. A bike library? What an awesome idea. Why don’t we have one in Asheville? Everyone rides bikes in Ft Collins. The city is basically flat (although at the base of some pretty tall mountains) and makes riding around town kinda easy.  We check out three bikes and enjoy an afternoon of leisurely riding around town and the CSU campus. It’s been a real pleasure visiting Ft. Collins, although I do hope that next year’s event will be closer to home. I vote for Brevard College to host. They put on a professional-style Conference Championship this year, and they’re only about an hour from Mars Hill. We’ll see…

After the crit we checked out bikes from Ft. Collins' Bike Library.

After the crit we checked out bikes from Ft. Collins' Bike Library. Put a smile back on Yoly's face.

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