Teammates in the 4's: Filip V., David P., Steve S.
Signed up for the 4's and 35+ 4/5, figure doing the early 4's race will give me an excuse to find a great parking space, get a few laps in to get used to the course, make sure my shifting works because I plan on using the 34 and ride with some teammates. Fifty seven show up for the fours which doubles the field size compared to last year. The race starts off hard and feels hard for the eight laps I am with the group, then tailgunning at the back off and on for the next two laps when the fellow I am wheelsucking gives up on the hill( it turns out we are both going to do the 35+ 4/5 race later ) and I really don't want to bury myself to catch up just to finish in the pack with a second race later. My shoulder starts acting up as well so I figure might and I consider packing it in but figure I will just not sprint too hard in the next race. For the twenty minutes we are in contact with the group I get a Pnorm of 255 and Pavg of 208 which will turn out to be about the same as the later race. Filip manages a twelfth with tired legs while the rest of us DNF'ed.
Forty eight in the field for the 35+ 4/5 which is about twice the size of last years' field as well. Managed to show up early enough to snag a front row position and prime photo ops. I always snap in quickly so after the whistle find myself comfortably off the front going down the hill. Have to force myself to soft pedal up the hill as I am definitely not strong enough to spend much time at the front and don't want to give into the temptation to go too hard too early and folks start passing on the little dip after the first rise. Immediately notice that a lot of people have to get out of the saddle to get up the steep part after the 90 turn/stop sign. Since I can't pull very hard with my arm have to spin a small gear, better for me but laziness makes me like the big gears... As soon as I get comfortable with this group on the hairpin, the next time through, a few riders are sprawled in the apex so the rest of us have to thread the needle to get around safely. None of us is strong enough to stay away for long so it always regroups on either the climb before the stop sign or the climb after the stop sign, even while tailgunning for a bit I find I can manage this with a little effort. If only being able to use one arm for pulling isn't enough drama, my right foot slips out of the pedal and I realize my cleat has worked it's way loose, possibly due to striking the ground hard in the hairpin a few times. Now I get to see how I do with one good wing and one good leg in the sprint... With three to go I think about moving up and latch onto a rider's wheel as he barely makes it past some riders in the gutter on the left during the descent and then I think better of following him but he does put me in the top twenty. I hold this position for the next two laps and the last time up the climb the first acceleration puts a gap into me but I accelerate in the small and manage to make up ten places, on the main part of the climb. Now I hesitate as last year I was actually boxed until closer to the line, doh, (the file shows me not pedaling for five seconds) then wake up and try to spin a bit more and realize this is too small a gear for this part of the climb and then go to the big ring (it works) and accelerate again and get close to the front (I swear the winner is only two bike lengths ahead) but run out of real estate as my throw earns me ninth of forty eight.