Go at the gun to stretch out the legs a bit and find there's not much pop left in them even though yesterday was pretty easy after the first hill climb was over. So sit in to wait for the finale. Try to get to the front with a few laps to go and spend so much time in the wind that I tire myself out before I can get to the front and have to rest a bit and find myself with Juan in the back. The pack surges and slows so much that we can get right back in the thick of things in the last lap should one choose to do so. There are so many large gaps between riders it's a matter of just accelerating into each one until we get to the front stretch. One rider in white slows in the middle of the road and I choose left to pass (which turns out so wrong in hindsight...) and move up and box myself in behind two rows of riders. Usually on a course like this with a long straight into a headwind, very few of the riders in front will be in contention by the end so I am prepared to wait for the inevitable blowing up of riders. However some of the riders in front of me get tangled in a crash so I look for a hole and slow to avoid the carnage (after hitting a flying bicycle while trying to ride past a crash last year it seems foolish to keep the speed up now...) and feel quite a relief that I make it past untouched for at least two seconds when someone (who was way out of contention) keeps his speed up through and past the accident and manages to clip my handlebars or my elbow at full speed and flip me over (I have a big hematoma on the crook of my elbow from some contact) and knocks himself off the bike, too. It takes me a while to get up because I'm a bit shocked to be on the ground and both my legs cramp in position and my hands are numb so the nice course marshal comes and checks on me before triaging the rest of the crash victims.
2009 Wente Crit 35+ 4 - view towards the rear from Steven Woo on Vimeo