Since I didn't ride much yesterday other than the crit my fitness actually went down a bit - the perils of racing every weekend sometimes...
Vance thought my saddle was high a couple of weeks ago, and Dale said he was changing his saddle height in response to his cramping issues so I had to take a look at mine. I checked my race bike and somehow the seat managed to be almost a centimeter higher than the bike I train on - if I spent 8000 miles on the training bike last year and never cramped, I'm going to stick with that formula.
This is the first time I've done this race but I've heard it's flat and there's always a huge bunch sprint. I check out the finish and with one kilometer to go there is a small hill for about maybe 150 meters, then it's 850 meters to the finish where it's slightly downhill/flat with a tiny roller. Ride it a couple of times and feel that it would be a perfect finish for me if it finished on top of the hill. :)
It resembles the Giro di San Francisco and Cat's Hill that way. Decide there's only one way to know if you can attack on the hill and stay away...just have to wait two laps to find out.
The course is pretty non selective - on the first lap one rider drops out when his left crank arm comes loose. Since we have at about eighty guys and the roads are about 1.5 lanes wide, it can get pretty sketchy and there is one crash about halfway through the lap that takes out a couple of riders and delays the riders behind them, not sure if they all got back on or not. Then in the rough section my camera falls off and looks like it rolls into the bushes, doh. This is actually rougher than the rough part at Snelling or Copperopolis from what I remember. Now I am going to have compose a lot more prose and remember what happened for this silly report. I think I was closer to the front so it would have been problematic to pull out at this point so I decide to consider it lost forever and just keep riding. There is one 80 degree left turn onto the finish road, I am third wheel at this point and the rider at the front indicates he is turning right instead of left, this is almost surprising...so I leave him room to crash but he makes it in spite of taking the turn from the far left so we must not be going that fast...
Most of the starting pack is still there on the second lap. It's hard to move up on the flats due to congestion as everyone wants to draft but no one wants to pull hard enough to string it out, but if you want to, it's easy to move up on the few short hills. On one of the roads that we also ride in Snelling I manage to hit a pothole so hard everyone asks if I am OK - I thought for sure I was going to pinch flat but everything seems OK for now. Our pack makes it intact to that left turn with two or three miles to go when it gets really interesting and several riders go down. This leaves about ten riders off the front while the rest of us are delayed and get started again, then some of the riders starting up end up crashing again. We chase (the guy in front of me chases while I draft) and we catch the group with about one mile to go. Had to work hard but not that hard and no signs of cramps so the saddle height must have been the problem, so sticking with plan A.
When the pack slows on the final hill, I hit it as hard as I can. It turns out I have enough in me for a good sixty seconds but it's about ninety seconds to the line so I am caught by riders in ones and twos right up until we get to the line so I eventually wind up in tenth place. At the least I was able to try to do what I wanted to do and didn't cramp this time.
After the race I did another lap to try to find the camera but no luck then noticed my rear wheel was a little out of true and rubbing the brakes so there was a little damage from the pothole, just not a flat, but not enough to make a difference in the outcome.
P.S. someone else did find the camera and the race director was going to send it to me!