The last couple of times I have done this race, spent too much time in the wind and in the big ring and then getting dropped on the only long climb ( about 400 feet of elevation gain in 3.25 minutes...) so this year I decide to make myself use the small ring as long as possible and suck wheel as long as possible.
This makes the race much more manageable.
I brought along the video camera but I managed to turn it off as we were starting so only got footage of the guys in front of me when we staged for the start. :(
The course changed a bit this year with two out and back sections versus one last year. Still lots of small rollers with 1000 feet of elevation gain per ten mile lap.
On the first lap it's pretty uneventful except for a crash on an uphill roller near the finish. One of the riders involved managed to catch back on after a long chase but he is dropped on the next lap. We really only go hard for an extended period on the long hill, about 5 watts per kilogram. Since I have been spinning, this is hard but doable the first three times. Each lap we lose five to ten riders on this section and I enjoy using the big ring for a few minutes on the rollers to the finish line.
On the last lap, my faithful companion the calf cramp raises its head. I spend the rest of the race either coasting and stretching, cramping, or pedaling in alternating patterns. There is a small hill for the feed zone, about five minutes before the big hill, and I accelerate a bit to get into a good position for a bottle and feel really good and just move up close to the front when my calves start cramping again so I have to drift to the back and hope for the best.
At the bottom of the last hill there are about fifteen of us left. I have to let the other riders go and slowly ramp up my effort, unsure of if or when I am going to cramp, and continue stretching every once in a while. Find a way to pass four riders on the way up.
When we crest the top I can see a long thin line of riders, this time, it took me twenty seconds longer than the first three ascents, and this is enough of a gap that I have to make a decision - should I risk cramping or just work with the riders behind me, and I go conservative and trade pulls with the riders I just passed. We are not making progress on the riders ahead of us until one fellow gives up on the small but steep rollers leading to the finish. Then another rider is on the side of the road putting his chain back on but he catches on and now after a bit of shuffling of riders we are four.
With about two kilometers to go I am on the front, and no one wants to get in front of me - I also really want to catch the two riders I see ahead of us but I don't want to pull these guys up and then cramp, and I don't know who among is has legs and who doesn't at this point. End up just waiting for the end game, speeding up, watching everyone follow, slowing down, everyone sits behind, repeat a few times.
The sprint is uphill for about three hundred meters, so I decide to go for it when I can see the two hundred meter sign ahead. Surprisingly no one responds ( or did I miscount, I thought we were going for tenth place). This works out well for me because I cramp up really bad after about thirty seconds and have to coast for the last thirty or so meters.
not including neutral bit
S: 32.3 kph
This was sort of like a crit in terms of power, but about twice as long.
P.S. I am a legend in my own mind, official results show me as 15th, not close to tenth! :(