Teammates: none, one registered, DNS :(
As prep for this, did a century + going over Mount Hamilton and back over Calaveras last weekend so was able to ride a bit less during the week and still have a fairly high level of fitness after a small taper:
Lost a bit of weight with the century but the ice cream and movie popcorn at work dashed the best laid plans so only squeezed a one kilogram weight loss compared to Wente. Too hard to say no to cherries on top of chocolate covered chocolate ice cream, then there's the 31 cent scoop day at Baskin Robbins...
Have not finished this so my first goal was to get farther than before with the pack, then finishing without getting pulled, not much but gotta start somewhere. During the warm up going up Kennedy, dropped the chain every time I shifted to the small ring, so I had to fix this, and make sure it worked. Last year I just used the big ring the whole race so I wanted to try something different. Was able to downshift to the small ring on the straight before the hill every lap, stay with the pack and go up the hill in the 34.
The first two laps it felt kind of easy, but probably was that way for every one's fresh legs. By the fifth lap, I was ready to cry uncle. Cheers from friends and teammates kept me going as I did not want to let them down. It's only about twenty five seconds up the main part of the hill to the stop sign so I made myself think - every one else is suffering just as much, and then trying to work as little as possible anywhere else. Found I was able to gain a lot of ground by just not braking during the last turn onto the finish straight, being in back helped as I could choose whatever line and follow distance, but made it a bit chancy as one had to constantly maintain vigilance and pass folks who were giving up. By the eighth lap it felt like every one let up a bit from the ferocious start so tried to recover whenever possible on the descent/flats while the respite lasted. On the next lap came round the corner at the bottom of the hill and there was someone stopped about ten feet in front of me, had to look behind, steer around and not think about how close we came to a collision. By the last lap only about half of the field was left.
Going out of turn one I could see some riders getting really close to the outside curb, then riders and bikes falling. Tried to go for open ground to the inside but the domino effect went too rapidly and had to slow to avoid hitting someone in the back. This left a big gap to the main pack of twenty or so ahead of the crash. Went to try and close this gap on the hill and did not have the legs for it, so cruised into the finish, meeting a couple of goals: getting farther than before, and finishing, but oh so close to something more...
D: 17.6 km