Considered driving up here the night before but figure I'm so tired from Cat's Hill volunteering I'll fall asleep early so decide to stay home and end up getting three hours of sleep, doh. On top of that, it only takes about two hours to get there, instead of the three hours that mapquest and my GPS report, and don't speed much (it's not possible on some of the two lane roads) so have some time to kill when I get there.
The course is wet from overnight sprinkles. I follow Hunny out to take a look at the finish hill before our race when we go over a set of train tracks at 45 degree angle to the road. Don't really think about it except to line up my wheels perpendicular and follow him over when the combination of wet and the steel plates surrounding the track and the track pull my front wheel right into the tracks and I go down at five miles per hour, on the bright side, it's on the side that doesn't have road rash. Get back to my car to repair things and a few other people report crashing on that set of train tracks or the next one during their warmups as well.
This makes me extra cautious during the race, probably too much so, but don't need road rash on my road rash...
Eighteen of us start. One rider almost falls in front of me on the first set of tracks and recovers. Then we get to the second set of tracks and three riders go down, I end up doing a track stand and have to unclip and walk over the tracks. The group has left us behind so I have to bridge back up after about a mile of pursuit. The next obstacles are a couple of 30-40 mph descents that end with 90 right turns on roads about as wide as WOLH. We are warned pre race about the second one, there's one lane concrete bridge immediately afterwards, but the first one seems just as bad to me. My caution leads to me getting gapped twice but I manage to pull the pack back each time. These turns would not be so bad if it were dry.
It starts raining and I back off from the group or am getting dropped, work my way back up to the group when we hit the finish hill, this is the longest hill on the course, possibly three to four minutes, and just can't keep up anymore after bridging up this last time. Contemplate quitting because the parking lot is so close but since I had to drive two hours to get here, and the riding conditions probably aren't much better back home, resign myself to a 39 mile time trial. The
course is a series of one/two/three minutes hills with not one flat section for the entire lap. Can't think of any route like this at home, I am reminded of the hilly parts of Two Rock/Spring Hill or Merco or West Lake Drive in Austin.
The second lap is pretty miserable with the rain but one has to keep going just to stay warm.
It stops raining on the third lap and I start to have fun again on the bike, plus Flandria tells me they are not that far ahead in the feed zone. Delirium probably makes me believe this so I keep pushing.
The course is dry on the fourth lap and it's my fastest lap yet. On the finish hill catch a couple of guys from my field and actually have to sprint to decide where we placed!