I Felt OK on the warmup and fortunately didn’t have any of the woes I had on yesterdays Warnerville TT. I could feel a bit of fatigue in my legs but had nothing of concern.
The race started off pretty steady into a pretty serious headwind on Patterson Pass which effectively neutralized the group. No-one wanted to go to the front to battle the wind. I ended up going to the front just as the climb proper started (just past the feed). Two riders passed me hard enough for me to not get on their wheels but I wasn’t concerned this early in the race. Nobody else tried to chase them down but I managed to drift back down a few paces in the group. The last section of the climb had a brutal headwind and the two riders had about 100m lead by the top of the climb. I was about 6th over the top and was feeling pretty good when the race referee stopped our group to wait for the Pro field to overtake us. It felt like we were stopped about a minute but it was frustrating as it allowed the field to get back together and it also allowed the two riders to get a huge lead.
My group went pretty hard on the descent of Patterson Pass and we actually caught on the back of the Pro field which resulted in us getting neutralized again. There was a nice tailwind on the Flynn climb and I went to the front to try to push the pace a little (was hoping to break up the bunch). I crested the top in the top 3 but the field pretty much came back together on the descent to Altamont.
On the Altamont the pace was pretty fast but not as fast as the Cycletrons noon ride so I went to the front again to chase back a Taleo rider that was making a break. We were not working effectively as a group due to the number of people who just wanted to sit in so the two riders were out of sight by now. I decided to back off a little a save myself for the Midway climb. There was a strong crosswind on the Midway climb but I felt pretty good and crested it in the top 5 of the group. I had to dig quite deep over the top but wasn’t in any sort of trouble.
The second climb of Patterson was as negative as the first with one guy sat on the front for most of the climb (fantastic pull). The pace picked up for the last steep section and I felt some fatigue in my legs but still crested in the top 10. I rode poorly on the descent and ended up near the back of the group on the Flynn climb. About half way up the group started to split so I had to push myself hard to get back up near the front. The result of this is I had a bit of a bad patch just at the start of the last steep section and started going backwards through the group. I didn’t panic and by the time we got to the last steep pitch I had recovered and got back to the front. The sweat was absolutely pouring off me at this point.
We were really shifting on the last blast down the Altamont where we got to speeds in excess of 50MPH and about 6 of us got away but it all came back together on Midway. The last time up midway was fast and my legs were really starting to hurt. About 100m from the top I through I was done and started drifting backwards but I dug extra deep and crested the top in a small group of about 8 riders. The group stayed away to the finish where I picked the wrong wheel to follow in the sprint and ended up in 8th place overall (6th in the Sprint).
This was a fantastic race and I really enjoyed it. It is a shame we let the two guys get away but they must have been really strong to stay off the front like that so they really deserved the places. If all road races were this fun I would start racing again full time. There were some really strong guys out there today and perhaps only 10 of them ever saw the front.
I managed to get a Strava p.b on the Flynn climb which was a nice surprise.