Based on interviews with Team Exergy rider Quinn Keogh.
I went down twice, the second time I pulled out. Racing at night in the rain, everybody is nervous.
That first night, Friday night, was one of the wettest Crits I’ve ever done. It dumped right before the start. Which is actually a good thing. It cleaned up the road and washed off all the oil. The big thing is warming up. It’s raining so most guys aren't pre-riding the course, they don’t know to change their set-up and lower their tire pressure and basically test the riding out. You worry about how other people are going to ride and deal with traction. And you worry about the road spray and you worry about bad visibility. Both times I went down it was because someone went down in front of me and I couldn’t do anything to avoid it (of course), which sucks. I get crashed out because people basically can’t ride in the rain, which kind of makes sense—nobody trains in the rain if they can help it. The second time I went down I hit my face on somebody’s helmet or bike or something, and that shook me. Hitting your face is pretty much the worst.
It was a nervous race and it’s hard to get excited about racing in dangerous conditions when it’s really not that important for your team or your season. So you hope for a good, solid break-away and no injuries or infections or crashes.
It was a good example of how important it is to have a good mindset going into a race. The guys that did that well night, the top-ten sorta crowd, are solid Crit riders with experience racing Tulsa; they came to win, they came to make it happen. When the gaps open up and it gets crazy and there are crashes everywhere and on every corner (as many crashes as laps) it’s really important to be at the front and in a position to win. When it’s sketchy and nasty, barring mistakes or accidents, if it’s your race, it’s your race. The rest of us just want to get it over with.
At night, the crowd and fans act more like a party. So the whole thing feels less serious, not the racing but the whole scene, the vibe is different. I mean look, you never have world championships at night.