3rd CAT5 road race! Expectations for this race were very low. Legs were a little weak from the TT the day before and a mile uphill finish does not suit a 205lb rider. Finishing with the main pack and maybe helping set up Travis and/or Rob for the final sprint would be considered a win for me. Rob got lost on the journey down to Elma and missed the start, he ended up racing in the afternoon with the Masters. Travis’s friend Nate that rode with us the weekend prior was also racing, it was cool to know a couple people in the field.
Start: I rolled out at the back of the 40 rider pack, after a few miles Travis and I moved up to the front 3rd of the pack. At the end of lap 1 of 3 (13 mile laps) I was situated near the middle of the pack. There is a 10%+ small hill in the final 200M that hurt and would hurt again twice more. Nothing crazy about lap two, Travis pushed off the front once and I followed. For a mile or two we were up front but never really clear of the field. About half way through lap 2 Travis flatted, I found out after the race that Nate had flatted on the first lap. At one point the only bikesale rider in the pack (Aaron) pulled up along side me. He let me know that all the other CAT5 riders on his team upgraded and this was “”my race”. I paused a bit deciding how big of an asshole I was going to be. I figure I must be the douche bag on the Orange Tarmac to the bikesale team. I decided to blow off the comment and let him know any race with a long uphill finish was never going to be “my race” I think he got dropped shortly after that and ended up finishing 2nd to last.
In the final 1km of lap 2 a Jr. racer who had been swerving all over to this point managed to go hard into the back wheel of the guy in front of him. The Jr. who was just left of me went down and managed to take 3-4 other riders with him. Thankfully I managed to avoid another CAT5 crash. I didn’t have much time to think about it because I was trying to haul my fat ass up this damn hill! I focused on the guys wheel in front of me and was determined not to lose it. When I popped up out of the saddle to get over the final kicker the main pack had split in two and I was stuck in the middle. For the next couple miles I worked hard to try to bridge up to the main pack but it wasn’t happening. I let off the gas a little and let the chase group that and formed pick me up. The chase group was totally unorganized but after about 8 miles we latched back on to the lead group. Inside the final 1km the front part of the group split apart, there was no way I was going to be able to match the speed of the guys pulling away. I did manage to hold my own though and actually pass a few guys in the final few hundred meters. I ended up 12th.