Distance: 24 miles
Average speed: 19 mph
Rolled out from the school in a steady rain. Whatever warmup I had done beforehand was sapped out of me on the way over to the start. As we climbed up Rowley under 190, I dropped my chain -DOH! I was able to get it back on without stopping but lost many places doing so. So I started picking my way forward through the pack, avoiding a considerable number of wobbly cyclists as we wound up and down the rollers on Heywood and North Row. At one point, I managed to pull off my sunglasses and traded the fog and droplets obscuring my vision for dirt and crud going directly into my eyes. Meanwhile, I was gulping down mouthfuls of water thrown at me by the rooster tail peeling off the wheel in front of me.
Managed to work my way the front 1/2 of the pack on the way to where Rte. 12 passes under 190, when I thought I heard Doran say something like "When is somebody going to do something?" (asked him later, it wasn't him). I was talking to John R the other day about possibly being a "rabbit" to tease some riders into expending energy early in the race.
Well, moments later, I was near the front of the pack, so I opened it up a bit on that long descent on Rte 12. I kept it at 28 mph as far up the incline on 12 back towards downtown as I could but started to fade and the pack finally passed me by. Doran later told me no one took the bait, making me the only one to expend energy early in the race.
I spent the first half of lap 2 on my own, trying to determine whether or not I could make it through 3 laps. At the midway point of lap 2, on Rte. 12, I didn't feel as spent as I did earlier so I started the hunt for people I could catch and pass. There were two guys up ahead that I started to reel in until I got to the start/finish when they pulled away and then three more people passed me.
So, me and these 5 other guys bringing up the rear had our own little race for 30th place during the final lap. Every time there was an incline, they would catch and pass me, but over the top, they would sit up and I would pass them again and get a lead on the descents. I got a really good lead the last time down route 12.
When we hit Rte. 12 for the last time, I was able to stay ahead of the others until a slow-moving Cadillac appeared right at the turn onto the finishing climb. The cop there frantically waved him on as I shouted, "GO! GO!" I was right on his bumper when he finally hit the gas and got out of the way. The other cyclists caught up to me at this point and I was sure they would pass me. I lost all sense of self and became only lungs, legs and bicycle for the next 100 yards. Of those 3, only my bike was in good working order.
The cheering section on the way up was a great help and somehow I managed to stay ahead of the others. 30th place!
The rain really came on at that point, cold faucet only, for the ride back to the school. It was a miserable two miles. When I finally made it to my car and tried to dismount, both quads were threatening to lock up forever. I looked down and they were somewhere between blue and purple in color. Took the better part of an hour to stop shivering! Hypothermia? Maybe.
Summary: I wish I'd paid attention to how much energy I was saving while still with the pack, I'm sure I would have finished with them despite the grinding start/finish hill. Two races, in each, I pulled an ill-advised move that ended up putting me well behind. Here's hoping I stay smart in the next race...