14 year old Olivia Adamiak learns in her first criterium that tactics, cornering and timing are what it takes to do well at Bannock.
I recently participated in the Bannock Criterium that was hosted by the Naked Woman Racing Team. The whole race was well organized and all of the volunteers were very friendly. I decided to race the 13-14 junior category for the road state championships and had an amazing fight against some very fast racers. I really felt the support of the fellow women on the NWR Team and felt welcome by all. This was the first crit I have ever done and let’s just say, “I’m hooked now!” I love the tactical side of road racing. Being able to create a plan in your head and alter it based on the other racers is so fun and challenging.
When I arrived at the race course early morning to help set up, I had no plan on racing. My dad and I had a discussion on tactics such as how to take certain corners and how to use my skills to their full potential if I was racing. When I arrived at the tent where the women were, they were really encouraging me to go race. I decided to take the chance to race my first crit! The fellow racers I competed against were rivals in cross. When the race began, I made it my goal to stay with someone in order to be in the best position for success. I knew that I was strong in the flats and could take hills well. A few laps into the race, I was in a good position and felt strong as a competitor and I closed down the gap between us and the leader. When we all came together, that’s when it became interesting. I had to start watching if one of them would make a move and how I would respond to that. One of the girls, Lauren, decided to go for a move by doing a small sprint. I was able to keep the gap closed and kept with her to the end. After a few laps, I heard a bell and knowing cross I thought, “Last lap!” I was so wrong. It meant a prize was available. Now knowing I took the lead of the group and lead out for a lap realizing at the end that I still had laps to go. I was forced to lead the pack now and was soon able to find an opportunity to drop back into the pack to conserve energy. At the final sprint, I was turning into the last corner and got pinched off which put a gap between me and the leaders. I was forced to start my sprint early and was not able to catch up with the leaders. I came in two seconds behind second place and placed third!
I couldn’t have succeeded without the support of the fellow Naked Women Racing team! I heard them cheering me on when I was struggling and they gave me that last bit of strength I needed to finish strong. Without their encouragement, I would have never tried the crit and would have missed out on the best race I’ve had in awhile! I felt so welcome while I was there and really felt like I was now part of the team.
I learned many things during my first crit. Like to watch the laps so I don’t make an early move to the front! I learned to not try to get up front during a corner so I don’t get pinched off at the last crucial moments. I had so much fun and would recommend the Bannock Criterium to anyone who wants to go have fun going fast and using tactics! I couldn’t have done it without my teammates’ encouragement! Thank you so much to the Naked Women Racing Team!