Was sick here last year and it got so bad I got dropped pretty hard in the road race so hoped to improve upon that and get another top ten.
The 35+ 4/5 category has the criterium first, there are some time bonus primes and small bonuses for the top three so for the 70 or so starters, about 60 of them just want to finish with the group and get the same time and ten will contest the sprint. The race was uneventful tactics wise, I got brake checked a lot during the last two laps and wasn't willing to spend any time in the wind to move up so had to start my surge to the front way after the last turn, got a decent sprint in but too late to catch the top ten riders, finishing in eleventh.
First lap - camera turned off after thirty minutes so missed the sprint.
D: 25.8 km
Last year had a bad time trial for me personally because I didn't come close to what I did in training but I wrote that off to illness. This year I manage to top that, in the wrong way, but managed a decent placing. The winds picked up significantly and it was cold so any warmup was probably wasted, I should have brought a jacket to the staging area. In spite of the winds, I went with a disk in the rear and a 1080 in the front. On the first leg that was with a tailwind I glanced down and noticed I was averaging close to 30mph and thought to myself that's pretty good, but then noticed my average power was only 80% of what my FTP is. On this leg I had to spend a lot of time weaving to avoid the potholes. Instead of looking at my time on the computer I should have been paying attention to my cadence because I was only going about 75rpm. Tried to make up for the lousy first leg by slowly ramping up the effort on the last three legs, only really managed a good effort when I could see the finish line from about one minute out. The deep front wheel might have been a mistake, took the turns very conservatively to keep the bike under control and the distance I covered was about 500 meters farther than last year - was that all the weaving I had to do to keep the bike under control? At this point I was worried I was sick again but worse than last year since I went slower and had a much lower performance but it turned out I placed 11th overall so I was on a hot streak of 11th places now.
D: 17.0 km
The two eleventh places put in twelfth place overall - time bonuses for another rider in the criterium put him in eleventh just ahead of me. The top ten was stacked with riders from Taleo and Rio Strada. Since they had the largest teams and the strongest riders, really didn't have to do anything in the road race except go with anything that had riders from both teams, otherwise they were going to chase anything else down if they were paying attention. I planned to use this and just sit in until the end and let attrition from mechanicals and the last short but steep hills take its toll. I also didn't want a repeat of last year just in case it wasn't just illness holding me back but lack of fitness compared to the field.
The road race went as predicted - we stayed together for the whole race with about ten riders getting dropped or flatting out leaving us with fifty or so the finale. Stuck my nose into the wind once and it felt pretty difficult so whomever was pulling the pack around was plenty strong. Just needed to be patient. Attacks started once we got out of the rough section (rougher than any other road race in NorCal...) and riders started dropping off by ones and twos. Then it was down to about twenty in the last 300 meters. The rider who eventually won (with authority) took off with Mike in pursuit. Waited for an opening, not wanting a repeat of going too late at the crit, and also not wanting a repeat of Merco where I was boxed in for the last 200 meters, and jumped when I had an opportunity. As I closed on Mike I slowed a bit to draft - this was a mistake in hindsight - maybe I should have just committed to the effort, then went again when I felt someone on my hip but just didn't have the legs to contest the sprint and lost six places in the last twenty meters it seems.