I had every reason to be nervous before that damn race. It was by far the hardest and fastest race I’ve done yet with average speed of about 5 miles per hour faster then anything else I’ve done so far. Unfortunately there was a breakaway from the start line that survived the entire race and ruined any chances I had of a top ten finish since I missed it, watching people take off around the first corner as I waited for the guy in front of me to clip in. I doubt with the speed they were going I would have hung in there anyway though so I guess it’s all relative.
The work in the main pack was a bit frustrating since even with the group off the front people were riding like they were trying to conserve for the win or get positioning on the other riders. There was no communication along the lines of team work and about 3 or 4 guys were up front doing all of the pulling. A couple of laps in I got up in the front to take a turn pulling and after a few seconds when I looked back I had a 10 or 15 foot gap on the pack. I wasn’t trying to get a breakaway and certainly didn’t accelerate hard away from the group so I’m really not sure why no one grabbed my wheel. I thought about making a run for a guy just up the road from us if I was still away at the bottom of the hill but going through turn 4 I slammed my inside pedal into the ground and threw my back wheel a foot right before regaining control and wussed out of my breakaway.
I got back in the group around the mid-pack section to sit in for a bit a rest and basically for the rest of the race the pulling was done by just a couple of guys. Not sure if it was just that no one would pull through or if the guys weren’t giving anyone an opportunity to but whatever it was it didn’t help our cause. Back in the pack people kept jumping up and jockeying for position and then just sitting in and not getting up to do any work so it made it almost impossible to get a working rotation going in to try and catch the break. That all said, the breakaway eventually slowed down and we managed to basically match their pace for the remainder of the race thanks to the very strong work by the guys at the front that were pulling. There were a couple of guys who every time they took over the pace really picked up and you couldn’t help but notice.
With a handful of laps to go I heard a prime announcement and worked to move up the field to give it a go since sprinting for a win was pretty much out of the question. I got myself up to within about four or five guys of the front coming around the last corner before the line and then sprinted for second in the two place prime which felt pretty good. I was pretty crushed after that though I managed to hold onto to the back of the pack for the last couple of laps and finish a still respectable 19th. From what I heard, there were 8 guys in the finishing breakaway front group with a splintered group of 4 behind them. Our group probably finished with about 12 to 15 guys and there were a number of people that we lapped out on the course. It seems the attrition in that race was ridiculous and always is so looking back I guess I’m just happy I finished. Hopefully next time though I’ll be a little more prepared for the early moves.