Dunnigan Hills is one of the flatter courses in our area, and the main difficulty is usually the central valley heat and winds, both are absent this year and this means that most of the riders that get dropped from our two lap 86 mile or so race are victims of flat tires. The finish has recently featured an 800 meter run in with a longish freeway overpass which breaks things up a bit, then a long flat section before the finish line.
The E4 race was mostly uneventful. There are four teams with lots of representation. Several breaks go on the first lap but since they only have two of the bigger teams I don't work to bring them back, this happens on it's own within the first lap after about half an hour.
On the second lap, someone wants to take a pee break. The whole field slows to let people stop and get back on. This continued (slow riding, not the peeing) for thirty minutes. Finally we get on the traditional crosswind section where the race usually shatters. Nothing doing this year, instead of echelons we have double pacelines rolling through the roads. I spot Rene Palileo taking photos as I am near the front so I roll off for fun. After about five minutes, a serious counter happens from a couple of guys from Bicycle Planet. This is hardest I go all race and it's really not that hard. We are all together, grouppo compacto on the final long straight before the turn and overpass.
Two miles before the turn a moto ref comes up to us. Since we are going 25 mph and there is a slight wind, it's difficult to understand what he is saying other than the finish is a single lane.
This is confusing because the chief ref spent a couple minutes confirming that we would have both lanes for the finish.
What happened was there was an accident requiring a helicopter to land on the course. This happened at the Panoche Road Race, they simply made us stop until the helicopter was away, but here they used a different option, bypassing the announced finish with a bypass "hill" and instead extending the course by a mile with a finish near the start. This is all well and good but very few people could hear that that was the current situation.
Since there are about forty of us left in the pack with a strict center line enforcement on a flat road, we are packed like sardines, and I just go with the surges. There is one not very hard surge and we cross the finish line. From the external video it appears only the front four or five people were that sure of where the finish line was and sprinted.
I guess that is incentive to be closer to the front at the end of a race.
The effort during the race is pretty mild, this is only my third hardest ride this week, it's about 2/3 as hard as the Dave Stahl OLH/Tunitas ride when I am only good enough to be in the laughing group there. I felt like I could do another lap. I should have attacked more to at least get some kind of training effect from the four hours on the bike.
Most of the last lap -