Today was the first criterium of the season and also the first day in a few without rain. Photos can be found here. After my recent successes, it was also my first week riding in B grade. It was a big field with over 70 riders and everyone was looking the part; lots of nice bikes, carbon wheels and a variety of different shop team kits lining up at the start. With the sound of everyone clipping in we were off on the first lap under control.
I was fairly nervous about today and uncertain of how much it was going to be a step up. The big question was, would I get dropped? Of course the answer was no, I am a machine and have never been dropped. It took until lap 3 for the first big surge and it was on from there. It was clear today, that no one was going to be let of the front and that it was going to come down to a sprint finish.
The final ramp up started around the 50 minute mark and was gradually increasing all the way to the finish. I was content to sit in the pack and focus on perfecting my cornering and making sure I didn't loose to much ground. On the last lap I made my way slowly through the field from the back finishing happily in the mid-field knowing I had some left in the tank. Overall, the skill level in B grade was noticeably more refined from C (not surprisingly really): cornering was smoother, no one cutting anybody off and if somebody didn't hold their line they were appropriately informed. A great day out followed by a nice recovery ride down to Black Rock with Grace Phang (her blog here) with a surprise tail wind all the way home.