The field was big with 48 riders. Pete, Alan, Chuck and I had a loose plan to shed everyone on the hill. This, of course, was the exact same plan everyone else had. The ride out to the turn was slow and somewhat uneventful. The pace was going along a little too slow for my liking so I made a bit of a push and ended up being alone at the front for a short time. Seems everyone was happy doddling along at a snail’s pace.
I was shredded at the bottom of the hill where everyone put the hammer down. I was at the very back of the pack in short order. Having no top end I settled into suffer mode and ground my way past 18 or so riders in hopes of catching the lead group before the turn around. With a couple of hard pushes I was only a few meters away from catching the lead group. Sadly, I needed more hill (or bigger lungs) to catch them. They made the turn and were heading down. I knew I was not going to make that up. But! I was in a “NEVER SAY NEVER” mood and kept mashing the pedals and tucking in hopes they do some more doddling or have some bad luck. I had two guys from TCR roll me up at the bottom of the hill. We recollected at the top and began rotating through like a well-oiled machine. We were losing ground to the main pack but there was always hope, although it was fading. We were later rolled up by Chuck and a group of 6 or 7 guys. Our rotations were not as smooth as some guys did not want to pull or were just not savvy enough to know when to pull through. That was a little frustrating but 4 or 5 of us were still working well together. We rolled up Alan O. and one other guy to make an even larger group.
Rob from TCR had done so much work at the front, it seemed wrong that he was boxed in 500m from the finish line. Sprinting for 11th place isn’t all that important but it’s just what you do. I pulled out to make a space for him (he has way bigger legs than me) and he pulled away. Alan O. was right with him. I’m not exactly sure where I placed, probably 13 or 14th or thereabouts. The results say I, and a few others, DNF’d which is odd. I’m sure they’ll review the slow motion replay and straighten it out.
I felt good about the race. I worked hard, suffered and had some good fun. Since it was my birthday, I figure a guy couldn’t ask for more. Ok, 1st place and a surprise birthday party would have been nice….. I got the party.