Karim, Vic, Tim Davis, and myself represented Tortuga in the Cat 1/2 event at this years’ last minute District Crit Championship as it was blessed by the USCF for the Rum Village Criterium in South Bend.
First comment, nice job by Tortuga’s newest member Myron Lewis with his podium finish in the Cat 4 Championship race. Not bad for the 1st year guy – a Gold medal in the road race and now a bronze in the crit. This guy is going to do some serious damage in the 3s next year.
On to the Cat 1/2 race…A paltry 20 or less showed up for the event – lots of other things going on, I believe at least 3 other events in conflict this weekend, all within 3 hours or so of each other. Nonetheless, even with Declan Doyle from Nuvo joking as we warmed up that the race had been cancelled, it was indeed on. Several guys from Northern IN & Michigan showed up that I had never seen before. Our veteran lead man Karim, the “Kevin Bacon” of connecting who’s who in competitive cycling in less than 3 moves, pointed out those to watch, which made things a little more interesting.
The race was called for 70 mins, but the USCF official said he would entertain 60 if we raced “hard enough”, but that if we didn’t, it would be 70 minutes. It ended up being 70 minutes. Numerous fruitless attacks filled the first 3/4 of the event, all of which stayed away at a max of 1/2 lap or less on this mile or so slightly turned oval in Rum Village Park. The last 20 mins or so heated up as everyone realized it would more than likely stay together. Jeff Weaver of Bacardi and Derek Whittey (sp?) got away in a move that proved to be quite dangerous as we neared the late stages of the event. Karim in a mild panic called out for us to bring it quickly back and we did so, just within the last lap remaining. With everyone back together the pace ramped up and the jockeying for position landed Karim in a good spot sitting 4th or so back. With 150 meters to go the jumps went and from my view (in 9th) I thought Karim beat his man to the line for the win. Not so, as he was pipped by half a wheel to take second. Despite the small field, the racing was solid and I thoroughly enjoyed working hard to help put us in a position to win. This is what it’s truly all about.