I set my alarm for 6am so I could get in an early run before we hit the road for race #2. I waited til 7am so it would warm-up to 40-degrees but just as I would expect, I was toasty warm around mile 3.
I guess you could say I was inspired by Karel's performance on Sat and my run (which seemed effortless) went by super fast and I had a lot to reflect on as I zoned out with my music.
1hr and 43 minutes
+ 2.5 miles on the treadmill after the run, working on my stride and cadence and warming down
After a yummy and healthy blueberry pancake and egg breakfast (thanks DAD!), Karel, Campy and I hit the road around 10:20am.
We arrived to downtown Winter Haven around noon and the race venue was awesome. So much going on in the 8-corner criterium. This was my first time to the race even though Karel had raced there before. Actually, the last time he raced there (last year) he crashed so I was a bit nervous for the race as I am for all criterium races. I have never seen an 8-corner race and considering that the race course was just over a mile, I knew the crashes were likely. Before Karel's race, there were numbers of crashes at the "hot corner" and it seemed like the medics just hung out there waiting for crashes. Well, that's bike racing for ya. Good thing that the Pro's have a bit more experience than the other categories despite them going super super fast.
Campy and I made our rounds, saying hi to people and checking things out. The Human Society had a truck at the race and all of the cats and dogs were adopted! How cool is that! Come to a bike race, bring home a pet! There was an adopted dog that looked identical to Campy but Campy wanted nothing of it. He wanted to say hi to all of the little dogs and show his big bark to the big dogs. I have to say, Campy was amazing for this race and I was so proud to have him with me. Usually he is super barky at the bikes when they go by but I think all of the people and dogs distracted him. Plus, since he is a ladies man, he was in doggy heaven with so many females wanting to pet him and give him some love.
After Karel warmed up with Jeff, James and Clint, they waited 'til the kid's fun bike (1 loop) was over and the Pro 1,2 guys were called to the line. The
80 minute + 3 loops started around 1:20pm and off they went.
Karel looked a little tired but I know him well enough that he takes a little while to find his rhythm. James was super strong and with his experience in bike racing, he was doing well in the front of the race, making some strong moves. Even Jeff with his banged up body took a strong pull near the beginning of the race.
Karel stayed towards the middle of the pack and was paying close attention to the race. There were a few break-aways but nothing stayed. Criterium races change every loop so you can never expect anything. Karel was in the front for one loop and then he was in the back w/ Jeff for the next loop.
I managed to take some great pics at the hot corner and luckily, no crashes during the race. A few close calls with the tight turns (you can hear pedals hitting the ground) but the field was strong and skilled.
Around half way in the race, I saw Karel getting closer to the front. He was looking good and was responding well to attacks. With around 20 minutes to go in the race, there was a break and Karel responded. That a way Karel!
The break started with a 15 sec lead and as the minutes ticked by, the 11 man break got further and further away from the pack. With about 10 min to go, their lead was 35 sec. which is huge in cycling. I was keeping time on my watch so that I could let Jeff, James and Clint know how far ahead Karel was in the lead pack, in case Karel's teammates wanted to try to slow the field down.
With around 5 min. to go, Jeff and James went to the very pack of the chase pack, just in case the break away group caught the chase pack. If this was the case, the leaders would be racing with the chase pack but the chase pack would be racing for 12th place. Jeff and James were ready to help Karel get to the front, just in case they got lapped but they didn't.
80 minutes of high intensity racing (averaging around 27mph) with 3 laps to go, it was clear that Karel was racing with 10 other guys. This race was super important for Karel so that he could get points for the Florida Cup series. However, with the stacked field of full-time pro's that Karel would be sprinting with for a possible top 10 finish, I knew he would have to have an excellent sprint.
My heart was beating so fast and I had to turn around to prevent myself from fainting. I have never been so nervous before. This has never happened to Karel before to be in this position and I was thrilled that he managed to get in and stay in the break. After having a little chat with Campy (I hold him when I take pics/video's) we were both pumped for the finish.
I see Karel and the guys sprinting around corner #7 and heading towards the start/finish.
I could see green Oakley's and Karel's head-down, all-out sprint that he is oh-so good at.
It was hard for me to see the finish because I was videoing and holding Campy but when the announcer said the results, I couldn't believe it!
1st place - Ben Renkema
2nd place - Daniel Domingo
3rd place - Karel Sumbal
WAHOO!! I Was so happy. I grabbed Karel's spare wheels from the wheel pit and headed to the car to meet Karel after he warmed down.
Karel was so happy with another podium but he was a bit frustrated. He told me that he had to squeeze on his brakes at the finish because Dan crossed from one side of the road right into Karel. When you sprint for a finish, it is rule that you have to keep your line. After a few other complaints and the officials reviewing the video, Dan was DQ'd and Karel moved up to 2nd!
Another podium. We couldn't believe it.
After the race, we found out that there was a mistake in the counting of points for the weekend and whereas Ben Renkema originally won the General Classification Cup for having the most points for the race, Karel actually beat Ben by one point. Unfortunately, the computer forgot to factor in Karel's move from 3rd to 2nd place and we didn't find out until Monday so Karel was never rewarded with his GC cup for most points at the Chain of Lakes cycling classic. Even better, Karel brought in even more money for the team and he is ranked 1st in the Florida Cup Point Series by 21 points (over 2nd place).
Way to go Karel...Campy and I are super proud of you! Great teamwork Lindner guys!
Enjoy the pics :)