Got to the course early enough to preride a few laps and could see it was going to be a hard race due to the constant rolling up/down nature of the course and what felt like a headwind on the hardest set of exposed hills. This was a totally different course from the circuit race in prior years, the new course shares some of the same route as the district road race course, somehow minus the largest climb, but including the long, fast 40+mph descent leading to a right hander then
less than 200 meters and a short climb to the finish line. We got use of both lanes except for some of the corners which we were still able to take at full speed while it was raining.
The first lap was hard, and I got dropped and had to claw my way back up and then rode conservatively as I did not want to get dropped early, even though I spent a lot of time wheelsucking, we went out at about a 20:00 OLH pace for the first two laps.
Attrition due to the hills and flats reduced the pack by half. It was like a VO2max interval workout but with only one to two minute intervals. Thankfully the pace eased up but we still did what amounted to a 24:00 OLH pace for the full length of the race which turned out to be around an hour and fifteen minutes or the scheduled length with 15 bonus minutes thrown in at no charge. :) Several of my teammates were active and trying moves on the hardest hills after the first right hander but the wind and relative brevity of the climbs and some riders actively chasing meant the pack was catching back up to everything.
With two to go I was feeling pretty miserable, and had to bury myself to keep up. At this point Jay asked me how I felt and I said that I was truthfully barely hanging in there.
On the last lap after the right hander into the hills I thought I might have been done when I got dropped again. I saw Jay off the front and I felt a little guilty for not being able to help out much so put in all I had and was able to regain the pack at the top of the next hill and catch my breath for a second when Jon who had been working to disrupt the chase told me to go block so I went to the front and faded back. Had trouble recovering from this and got gapped going into the last repetition of the high speed descent. Wasn't sure if I was going to catch but when I realized I was, I tried to pass and lead it out because I had so much momentum and we were so close to the finish, but a few riders fanned out and shut the door on that idea. Then I just had to sit in and wait for an opening, we reached the point in some races when it seems like there is a pause and that's generally when one should probably just go for it. The group slowed for the turn, a rider who blew and moved laterally closed an opening and caused a slight reshuffling of the pack, and a Cal Giant rider had chosen this moment to start his sprint. A hole appeared and I just filled it and was able to start my sprint, a little late, and come in second a bit behind the winner.
Don't ever give up! At least when the hills are small...
Sadly this race was so long that I went over the length of my 2G memory card, only the first 50 some odd minutes of 1:15 in here.
35+ 4/5 race
Fatigue set in hard and I had to sag climb every hill on every lap to stay with the group. I even had trouble on a long false flat section that was exposed to the wind. After forty five minutes of what turned out to be a not too hard pace (if I hadn't already raced hard), NP~ 25 minute OLH, I cramped and had to stop pedaling. When I recovered, could not get back up to the group and tried to work out the cramp and stay warmed up for the next race which started about five minutes after this one ended.
I got dropped after about ten minutes. It was actually a slightly easier pace than the E4 race start , partially due to drafting available from the much bigger pack, but I was unable to keep up and did a few more laps as a cool down for the day. Ended up with a TSS of 300 and almost five hours in the saddle. That which does not kill me...
This is the first road ride where my arms and legs were sore the next day.