Since we have a lot of teammates who are ahem, 30+, we sign up for the 30+ race. The course is flat to gently rolling with one signficant climb. The temperatures are very mild, some racers start with arm warmers.
I am here to support a couple of teammates so I will try to help them however I can, chase down breaks, get water or give up a wheel so they can continue - last year there were a significant number of flats due to goatheads on the course. This year it seems the milder temps and course grooming by Velopromo means much fewer flats.
First time up the climb I am with the group and manage to lose sight of them on the descent - I think I am the only one who heeded Paula's directions to not cross the center line - having the moto behind me is also an incentive. :) But Joe and Jon are near me at the bottom and we TTT back up to the group in a couple of miles.
The next lap I am gapped a little before the summit after sprinting to close a gap. This time Jon and Sam are near me at the bottom and after a concerted effort we catch the group on the final lap after the right turn. The motoref tells us we are almost five minutes behind the solo rider. Jon and Sam are pacing the group and I move up to help. Understandably the Taleo guys who have a teammate up the road are not helping but everyone on other teams seems to be satisfied with going for second place and not pulling. After a few miles of this and finding myself with a small gap, I just keep going and see if that will motivate other riders to chase. I hope to make it to the feedzone so I can pick up a bottle and carry it up the hill but I start to cramp in my right calf after ten miles and have to ease up and the group catches me quickly about a mile before the feedzone. The vastus medialis seizes up on my left leg and I get dropped at the feedzone and get to TT in the last ten miles. The team got second and third so it was a pretty good race, and this is the best I've ever done at this race, 21st.
What I learned - when it's this cool, I only need one bottle. Carried the other bottle around for no reason for 80 miles. The climb with the group settles into about ten minutes at 4 w/kg then for the last three minutes goes to about 5 w/kg to the peak.