Milford Criterium – July28, 2013
The race took place in downtown Milford. The course was a 0.92 mile loop composed of 4 standard 90 degree turns and one hairpin bend leading to an uphill sprint finish. I raced in the Cat 4 race along with fellow Wolverines, Zach, Tyler, Danny and Stephen. They are in Ann Arbor this summer racing for the Ann Arbor Velo Club (AAVC) so I was the only one sporting our sharp maize and blue kits, but the guys did their best to help me out as if I was part of the AAVC team. Our race was 40 minutes + 2 laps. It was cool and rainy most of the day but the sun peaked through just before our race and dried the pavement, putting us Cat 4 racers a little more at ease.
The official’s gun went off (in reality, a whistle) and our field of 45 riders rushed to clip in. My race began poorly, as I missed several attempts to clip in (partially due to my worn down cleat but mostly because due to me being downright awful at the task) and quickly fell to dead last in the field – not exactly where I wanted to be going into the first left hand turn. I tried to relax and just follow the wheel in front of me as I got a feel for the course the first time around. We approached the final hairpin bend very cautiously. This really strung out the field as riders rode the brakes and then quickly accelerated out of the turn. I quickly decided the back of the field was not where I wanted to be. I managed to get a good jump out of the bend and sprinted uphill pass the field and moved in to first position. I spent the next couple of laps near the front where it was much easier to take corners.
I had a little mishap on the 4th lap when I clipped my inside pedal trying to pedal through the hairpin bend but managed to keep it upright. Needless to say, I got shuffled back through the field a bit and my confidence to take corners took a hit. I spent most of the race comfortably in the middle of the pack. We saw two riders go off the front for about a lap but the field slowly reeled them in. I was feeling pretty good and made one attempt to go off the front on the uphill section but several riders quickly jumped onto my wheel. With about 4 laps to go the pack seemed content to settle the race with a field sprint. The bell lap came (I didn’t hear the bell, per usual) and a racer asked me “Two to go, right?” I had no idea, so I took his word. We took the final hairpin bend too wide, I was in about 15th position. The field accelerated and so did I in order to hold the wheel in front of me but several riders sprinted past me. One of our sprinters, Stephen Doll, came whizzing by me to an impressive top ten finish. I crossed the finish line hard expecting another lap but was soon disappointed. I looked down at my computer and noticed we averaged just north of 25 mph on a course filled with tight turns and a large field. Pretty impressive.
Ky Kiefer is a Senior in Chemical Engineering. He joined the club in 2012-2013 and raced Collegiate Ds. He now races USAC Category 4 and will be racing Collegiate Cs in the 2013-2014 season.