I was looking forward to this race for a change. I want to thank everyone who has told me that I am riding stronger this year; it has given me more confidence to do much better. So, for a change, I really wanted to see what I could do on a course where I have never done well.
Well, unfortunately, the day didn't start out to well. 10 minutes before our race was to start, my front tire went flat. I really didn't want to ride my backup wheel, so I rushed to change my tube with the help of my teammate. The real bad part was that by the time we got to the line, everyone else was already there, so we had to start from the back. I now knew that I would have to spend the first part of the race picking through the pack to get near the front. I stayed positive that I could get near the front and then have the race start.
The race started and I slowly picked up position by position as we went up the hill the first time. My teammate took the inside route and got to the front quick while I was picking my way through the field. His way was much better especially with the tail wind on the uphill section. It took me about 3 laps to finally get into the top 20, but I spent a lot of energy moving up so I was pretty spent. I planned to recover a bit, but there never seemed to be a good spot to really recover. That is the hardest part of this course. You have the hill which takes its toll on everyone and then the downhill with so many turns that you are constantly accelerating out of the turns. This is one hard race.
As Chris Padfield from Team Pegasus mentioned in his report, the memory of the race is fuzzy, but there are times I remember thinking I was done. The major mistake I made in this race was not realizing that the race was partially decided by where you were on the last lap at the top of the hill. I took it easy on the hill to save something for the finish, but that was a huge mistake. I hammered out of every turn, but it just didn't matter in the end. I past the finish line going 36. I was gaining on the riders in front of me who were also flying, but it just didn't matter because you can only make up so much ground in 200m.
I ended up finishing 19th which was pretty much what was left of the front group. I am very glad that I was able to stay with the front group in this race, but feel I could have done better getting a better starting position and better race strategy.
Mike, my teammate finished 6th riding very strong. Congrats, Mike.
One request for the officials... please consider giving instructions for lapped riders at the beginning of the race. Most lapped riders were very good about staying out of the way, but there were a select few that didn't pay attention and placed themselves in the turns opening up gaps as riders further back in the pack were unable to get around them and had to spend energy to bridge those gaps. Yeah, I know, I can fix that by staying near the front, but in my opinion, the field should not be broken up due to lapped riders.
Next up, Winfield ABR Championship.