Round 1 of the Shutt Velo Rapide Hitters Criteriums

Exeter Wheelers Ben Zissimos and Fin Webb ventured down to Paignton last weekend to race in Round 1 of the Shutt Velo Rapide Hitters Criteriums at the Torbay Velopark. It was Ben’s first ever Crit race and he writes:
“Here’s a question for the experienced bike racers at EWCC.  If you were entering your first criterium as a 4th cat at the tender age of 50-something, would you pit yourself against the youngsters in the 3rd/4th cat race, or the seasoned riders who might be 2nd cat or even higher in the Masters race?  Would your answer depend on the race being at Torbay Velopark?  That was the question I faced as I entered the Shutt Velo Rapide Hitters Crits Rd1 last Saturday, 27th April.  The reputation of the hairpins at Velopark precedes them and I reasoned that I would be safer in a seasoned bunch, and I also thought the pace of the Masters race might not be as frenetic.  So, seeking the advice of no one so that no one could talk me out of it, I took the plunge and went for the Masters race.
I was right on one count, and it was the critical one.  I’m honestly surprised to say I didn’t get dive-bombed once, and I think that was down to the consideration of the other riders, so kudos and thanks to them!  If you’re considering crit racing and older like me, I would say that the Masters race is the way to go.  I was wrong on the count that the speed of the Masters race was actually higher than the 3rd/4th cat race.  The younger riders were visibly playing more cat and mouse, and all credit to them for that.  But for me, the pace and flow of the Masters race were definitely a huge part of the thrill.  I’m definitely planning to take the plunge again.” 
A report on the races can be found halfway down this page on the Mid-Devon CC website, and Ben can be spotted midway back the line of riders in one of the pictures.