Concord Criterium, 2012(and 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005) by Bobby Bailey
My best memories of fitness and racing come from Concord. The crit has always been one that I have excelled in. I recall from years passed gauging my fitness on how well I did there. The course is amazing weather it is clockwise, counter clockwise or upside down. No matter you have a wide-open, 6 corner crit with enough elevation change to make it hard. The ‘hill’ on the course is a mere blip and one that serves as a launch pad for attacks….Bobby Like.
I recall doing the race in 2004. I think I finished 3rd while crit nemesis Skip Foley took the win. Notable about that race is I never came out of the top-5 making sure I did not miss the moves or get caught in the back. I tell some of my clients and friends to do the same nowadays, if you have the fitness. Now 2005 was a different story. I was done racing and looked more like a Corporate Cream-puff but decided to race any how. I showed up and hung on for dear life. I did manage to nab a prime but spent the rest of the day on the back thinking that I should probably train. What a difference.
Fast forward to 2012. I am fit and Concord was a goal of mine. No offense to 2011 Winner Dylan McNicholas, but I should have won last year. SO this year I was pumped to race it to the max. This year was HOT. It is amazing how many untrained or expecting athletes shut down when the going gets sizzling. I am comfortable with wheezing in the heat so I did not care. I attacked the field several times but was having trouble getting clear. Other riders like Adam Carr and Synjen Morocco were riding aggressively and the field seemed to be be split. We were in a group of about 15 which is too many for my liking. I continued to attack the field while Team mate Alberto Citarella covered counters.
On lap 9, Alec Donahue put in what I referred to as a Danger Move. He got clear and dangled off the front. While the field recovered, I put in a dig that brought me up to Al and it was one. I have been racing against Al for a long time. When he looks at you and says, “come on man, don’t do me like that” referencing that he is weakening…what he means is…”I am about to attack the living crap out of you”. Anyone other that Al and I would have cried foul. But I anticipated it and was only mad that he beat me to the punch. Us old guys gotta stay crafty. Thankfully, he only ripped about 1.5 of my legs off and I was able to follow. I put in a move with 1 lap to go and Al pegged me back. It was going to be a drag race and thats that. In the final stretch Al, who claims to not be a sprinter, matched me all the way down the straight. I was able to get the win but I think I was driven by fear. It was that close.
It felt good to be racing with old-school friends in the peloton. Guys like Al Donahue, Skip Foley, and Jake Hollenbach have been at it for a while and it is good to see they are still animators.
So proof that tactics and fitness still win races. I am proud to win Concord for my sponsors and my business 1K2GO SPORTS. Its proof that you can be competitive and have a life other than cycling with good nutrition and training. However, if anyone wants me to quit my job and live race to race in an Air Conditioned RV, I am game for that too.