Heavy rain overnight had left some pretty big floods on the course. One in particular was huge. It was about 100m long and close on 12” deep. When we drove through it in the morning it was even deeper (Almost to the tops of our wheels on the Honda SUV). Riding through a deep flood in a bunch of 100 riders is quite an experience and gave you a real deep soaking every lap. There were also many smaller floods on the course and lots of mud. When I finished it looked like I had just ridden a muddy cyclocross. Weather was relatively kind to us, we had a few light showers, strong winds and it was quite cool but it could have been much worse (like the rain we encountered on the drive home). I had completely forgotten how rough that course is too, it seemed worse than last year. The race itself was remarkable in that it was the first NCNCA race that I have ridden where there were no crashes.
My goal for Snelling was to not crash and try to get away in a break. If the break thing didn’t work I was ready to lead out my team mates for the sprint. I was a bit worried about the flood so I attacked on the first lap before the feed Zone and stayed away until after I safely got through the flood. It was really hard on your own and I decided that if I was going to have another go it had to be in a small group.
I attacked on lap 2 before the climb and got across to a small break but neither of the riders seemed really committed and we were swallowed up before the end of the Lap. Of course the next break on Lap 3 was the one that stayed away and I missed that one. With two laps to go the referee informed us that they had a minute lead and that there were 6 riders up the road. One of the big teams started to organize a chase but nobody would help and the Roaring mouse and Davis guys were getting in the way ( They had riders in the break). I decided I had nothing to lose so I worked with the guys but we didn’t really make much of an impression. It was bloody hard into the wind.
On the last lap I looked around for Erik and Mike and couldn’t see them and the referee informed us that we were 1m40s down so basically the race was over. I ended up stuck on the front for a while and got a bit of a gap so I pushed the pace on the last climb. Unfortunately I got cramp again (same place as last year) and ground almost to a halt at the top. It took me a few minutes of soft pedaling before my legs started working but I was about 100m off the group by this time. I chased hard along the bumpy back section but never got closer than 100m and when I turned the final corner to the finish I just backed off and pedaled in on my own.
It was a fun race and definitely harder than last year. I am not sure I really have the killer instinct to ride road races anymore but it was good training for the Death valley Double century next weekend.