Teammates:Chris P., Jun, David P., Daniel H.
Conditions:85 and humid
Used 50x34 with a 12/25 cassette. Tried 11/23 during the warmup but never felt very good in the 50x21 by myself on the hill so played it conservative and went with 12/25.
Arrived a couple of hours early so I could get a long warmup and eat lunch as my race started at 12:50. Traffic was bumper to bumper on 17 even before 10:00. Ran into Chris P and he said he was switching to a Santa Cruz club because he lived in Santa Cruz, made sense. The course starts on a gentle hill with a slight right then a short steep downhill into a 120 right, short straight into the wind, 100 left, longer straight with a truck on the left side, 90 right, maybe 20 meters with a truck on the left side, 90 right, long straight into the wind, then back to the finishing hill. Ran into Jun and he asked for advice and I told him to be careful of pedal strikes because almost every corner ended up being off camber because of the crown of the road. Funny thing is I ended up hitting my pedal in every corner once and actually sliding for a bit on the pedal one time. It was so hot at the start that parts of the asphalt were starting to melt. Done this race twice before and been pulled twice so my first goal was to finish and if possible do something at the end. For the first third of the race I fought for position at the front and this felt hard but it really wasn't according to the data. So for the next third of the race, settled in at the middle of the pack. With about ten laps to go, sitting mid pack, it looked like a lot of guys were trying to squeeze into a small space in one of the turns onto a straight with a truck parked in it, possibly razoring each other, so I started slowing rapidly in anticipation, then the two guys directly in front of me touched bars and started going down so I slowed a bit more and started sliding my rear tire and then lifting the rear due to a lot of front brake action, stopped braking, and barely maneuvered around them. Took a couple of laps to regain my composure and started moving back up the pack. Each of the last six laps got faster and faster but I felt pretty comfortable just moving up on the hill and defending that. With one to go I got up to about fifteen position and held that onto the final straight. What I should have done was sprint all the way from *before* the last corner since the front straight took fifteen seconds total, however I paused so I could draft off the guys in front of me on the front stretch who both stalled and then blocked me. I attempted to split the two guys in front of me but right as I went between them one of them started rocking his bike back and forth. We touched handlebars a couple of times and I started wobbling due to the impact but recovered, but didn't make up any more ground. That was my totally fault for trying to go through a hole that was not there, so afterwards I apologized and he was a good sport about it.
On the one hand, happy to have finished with the front of the group, on the other hand, really frustrating because I felt I left a lot in the tank and could have done better - that is exactly what the data shows - not that much harder than just sitting in during a flat crit. It can be hard to stop enjoying the draft sometimes and do some work. This felt hard possibly due to the heat and the strong coastal wind on a couple of the straights that strung the pack out.
This is the shirt. Did not win this but sometimes if you officiate at a race you can get some schwag. At first I was trying to figure out why the person on the bike is wearing lederhosen but on further examination the picture is apparently of an old time rider.