Editor’s note: 14 -year-old Max Cronyn is competing at the USA Cycling Junior Nationals in Bend, Ore. this weekend. He’ll be racing in a time trial, criterium and road race. I’ve asked him to answer several questions each day, but if you want to know something, I’ll forward your question to him.
The race today was really tough. Our race had a faster average than the 17-18 year-old race. The course was about 1.3 kilometers and had two long sides and two short sides. The total race was 25 kilometers. On our slowest lap we averaged 26.5 miles per hour. The average on our fastest lap was 35 miles per hour.
Crits are always really hard. Even the start of the race was pretty crazy. The road is only so wide, but still have to cram 70 people in there. We lined up 20 feet from the start, then they called up the top 8 riders from last year to line up in the front row. Next, they blew a whistle and everybody moved up from where they were to the start line. It was a mad dash for position.
The guy that starts the race had a pistol and told us we’d be starting in 30 seconds. The tension went up and up and then all of a sudden the pistol goes bang. Then it was a crazy sprint for the first three laps.
In a crit you get a slinky effect. The group slows down when they go into a corner and then they speed up when they come out of it. When you are at the back, that effect if multiplied. You have to slow way down, but then you have a 50-foot gap to make up to get back on. The guys at the back at the race are working harder than anyone else. I found myself back there a couple times in the race. That is why position on the starting line is so important.
If you are too far back you aren’t going to make it more than 5 laps before getting pulled. At first I was in the third row, but I managed to get into the second row which was really nice.
My game plan for the crit was to be up at the front and push the pace. I attacked a couple times in the first few laps and a few times in the last laps.
One of the times I was attacking, the commentator used my name. He said, “That is Max Cronyn at the front heating it up from Tucson, Arizona.”
I didn’t finish very high up, but just finishing a crit that was as fast as it was today is an accomplishment in and of itself. (Editor’s note: Max finished 46th, seven seconds behind the winner.) Overall the race was really hard, but it was nice to race with people my own age because there isn’t a huge difference in ability.
My last race is a road race, which starts tomorrow at 8 a.m. It is a 60-kilometer race and the course is really hard. We do two 25-kilometer loops with a 5-kilometer section to get out to the loop and back to the finish line.
I rode the course a few days ago. The first half is mostly downhill, but the second half has a little climb, then you go over a few rollers, a downhill and then you hit a hill that is a little steeper than Gates Pass.
My game plan is just to keep up. I am going to sit in on the downhills and when we hit that really steep climb, I want to start it at the front because that gives me some space to fall back. Some of the kids are better climbers than me so if I go to the front then I can slide back a little bit in the group and get back in when they crest the hill.
On my mind:
I think tomorrow is going to be really hard. I am going to be glad when I’m done with tomorrow, but I am looking forward to it too. This race tomorrow is pretty much the culmination of my year, save for the Arizona time-trial championships.
I forgot to mention yesterday that a good friend of mine, Tulio Weber, placed fifth in the 13-14 year old’s time trial. We got to go to the award presentation, which was pretty cool.
It was neat today because Dave Swanson, who is a world champion on the track and now rides a tandem with a blind stoker, came to my race to watch me and give me some advice.
I had a couple bowls of Rice Crispies in the morning and then for lunch I had another toasted cheese sandwich, I really like those in case you couldn’t tell. About 45 minutes before the race I had a banana. Twenty minutes before, I had a piece of chocolate.