“My First Crit” By Sherry Haque

My First Crit

Crits have long been my favourite club race to watch and also have been, in my mind, the race I was least likely to participate in. Somehow, on Wednesday I landed up at the Research Park, attired in my “fake it ’til you make it” kit and with my bike in the back of the car. Before I knew it, Dan was signing me up for the time trial saying “Do you want to go before me, or after?” and Nick was telling me to get out there for some warm up laps.

Having never seen what I considered to be “the back end” of the course, I was somewhat anxious as I made the first few turns. On the drive in, Dan had warned me about one of the right hand turns so that first go around was somewhat cautious – I even went the correct way around the roundabout, sorry, traffic circle. After that my main concern became avoiding the packs of triathletes and the run/walk posse.

10 warm up miles passed all too quickly and I was lining up for my time trial. Dan was behind me and my sole goal was to hold him off to reach the finish line first. The lap started slow but I tried to pick up the pace. The turn on to the finishing straight came up on me and after I made the turn I became aware of Dan behind me. Pedalling furiously, with my heart pounding in my chest and trying to remember Bruce’s instructions about which cones I should pass between, I made it across the chalk before Dan. Victory comes in many forms!

The scratch race was an experience like no other – I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard to come last! Jack and I were soon off the back of the second group and took turns pulling each other around. He beat me in the sprint to the line: experience counts for a lot more than naive enthusiasm.

I’d like to say that it got better from there on, but my legs were toast and my mind was on a post-race burger and beer. A big thank you to all the club members, both local and not-so-local, who have been so encouraging and supportive – I’m already looking forward to more racing next summer!