Written by Steve Morse Sunday, 15 May 2005 00:00
The 5 mile course was pretty fast, with lots of quick rollers and tons of fast downhill, and one main climb that levels off to the start/finish area. It was four laps, with a rolling start, which made it more like four and a quarter laps, if you were ignoring the "neutral" first part of the race, which most of the 60 plus sized field were.
First lap, I hung in the back third. After the climb, I noticed I was boxed out behind a group that was already getting dropped considerably, so I blasted through, and spent the next half lap trying to time trial by myself up to the lead group.
I spent the next two laps slowly working myself up to the front, trying to keep something in reserve for the surprise I had planned for them. When the bell rang for the last lap, I bolted from the left, as hard as I could, and opened up a pretty nice gap before the downhill. I think about five guys got on my wheel, and we quickly organized into doing 5 second pulls. I think we stayed away for half a lap, but what was left of a peleton finally caught us on a downhill.
I regained composure, riding in probably the top 20 again, when we entered the final turn, which was the crucial setup for the climb to the finish. I hit it hard, and had some really good drive coming out of the corner, so I started climbing out of my saddle in probably the 53/18 or some insane gear, trying to keep the momentum going. I blew by so many guys on the climb as they were all dropping on the small ring. At the top, I was probably in 12th place or so. When I could see the finish, I clicked into the 12 cog and emptied the tank in the field sprint. I passed a few other guys and made it in the top ten (9th place). I think if the climb was slightly longer, I might have been able to podium. I felt really strong on that climb.
Funny post-race observation: When I was walking back to the car with my wife, along the race course, we passed the final turn leading into the climb, which was now pockmarked with many fresh piles of dung. Apparently someone had just ridden their horse, or other large farm animal straight through the turn, and didn't notice that the horse had left some presents for the pro riders that were still out on the course. When I saw a group of racers approaching, I naturally yelled out what anyone else would: "Watch out for the $%@t!!!"
All in all, a good race for me. I finally put a top-10 finish on the board, which is important for my category-3 upgrade. Lets see how many more I can pull off this year.
Map by: Pavé Productions
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