Am a lot less fit than at the same time last year for this race, but a little lighter, too.
Peaked a week early, had an awesome preride of the course last Saturday and today I was a bit flat. Last week I rode a bit harder on the preceding Thursday and Friday and had a hangover, might have to try that for the next race, possibly minus the hangover, but why mess with success...
The race feels incredibly easy up the first bump on Stage compared to last year, this may be because I didn't try to do anything for the first lap prime this year, too. Of course, as soon as I say this out loud to someone I know, the pace picks up, but I am able to match it. The problem starts on the downhill where there are a few riders ahead of me that are about the same speed, what happens is one will catch them due to drafting and have to pass them or brake, but since the road is pretty narrow, I don't feel like risking anything to pass and have to slow, and a gap opens in front of these riders. Work a little too hard to catch the group and get gapped on the top of the last climb on Stage but I see a lot of riders behind me and figure we will catch back on 84, and within two miles, we do. I think we only drop about ten riders by this point, and gain a few back before we turn onto Haskins.
Once we are on the long climb, I can tell I don't have the legs I had last week and yoyo in position with Todd, who says he's only doing L4/L5 but encourages me to stick with it and we will catch the group on the descent. Go hard until the finish line where I make the mental mistake of not pushing hard over the crest onto the descent. There are four of us and I work my way back to the other three on the technical bits. One of the riders in front of me brakes way harder than necessary and I back off again. I forgot where the descent really opens up again and I miss the opportunity to bridge back up, and Todd and the other two riders leave me behind.
I time trial for three miles, just watching the others get a little bit farther away with each pedal stroke and hating life in general.
But another group of three catches me. Two of them are on the same team and one of them immediately counters. I work with John from ebcyclist an Chris and I figure there's no way Chris' teammate can stay away. He surprises me and stays the same distance away, and Chris is not feeling well enough to help much so his teammate stays away.
It's the three of us to the base of Stage, we catch riders here and there but none of them are in our category, and on the first hill on Stage we can see a few riders ahead so I give it everything I have and we catch them and lose Chris, but it turns out these riders are not racing us. This happens again on the last hill on Stage.
John and I make the turn onto 84 and after five miles of a team time trial we finally catch a rider from our race, I think he was one of the riders with Todd. Then three miles later we catch and drop two more riders from our race, and one of them is the other rider that was with Todd. Woohoo, I think we moved up to 45th place. We didn't see anybody else from our race until we cross the finish line on Haskins.