Saturday was the BTR Criterium in kalamazoo. Kristie, Kona, and I drove down to the race, which was my first time at the event. For whatever reason the scheduled start for the pro 4's wasn't until 3:30, which is the latest start of any race I've done.
It was pretty warm out, and the parking lot was a bit of a hike to the course. Kristie and Kona managed to find some shade in the new-looking industrial park. Our race didn't start until 4:05 and was shortened from 40 minutes + 2 to 35 minutes + 2. Both the delay and the shortened race were a bit of a downer. My cheering section was great, as usual!
Before I go too deeply with this, I have to clarify that I, now as an "official" race promoter, know some of the difficulties in putting on a race. That being said, the primary impetus behind the Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross was the fact that (in my opinion) the course is sweet. Granted, it's a cross race versus a crit, but the bottom line is that the terrain often dictates a successful event. For example, the Gaslight crit has a sweet location with a finish downtown (fun for Kristie), but the last corner left a bit to be desired from a safety perspective (not fun in the pro 4's).
So, for the BTR circle crit, the finishing "straight" was more of a semicircle. There was a constant turning left throughout the sprint, making for an interesting last 500 meters. Fortunately there were no crashes in the pro 4's, but of course there were close calls. In the end I think I took 15th place, which doesn't really matter to me since the purpose of this race for me was to get some intensity in as preparation for 'cross. Don't get me wrong, finishing better than 15th was a goal, but so was coming out with all my skin.
I think that, despite the misgivings of having a late start and a shortened race, I'd give the event a "C." Probably won't go back to do it, but it served its purpose for me. Hope it grows next year and ends up as a solid event in Michigan, but it's just not for me.
I can't wait for 'cx...