I raced the 35+, the Pro and the 30+
35+.. bad luck galore.. A tire change gone bad blew like a shotgun blast.. Had to change the tube just 15 minutes before the start (Did yoiu know that $50 Schwalbe Stelvio tires are made in Indonesia?) Next.. I have a front flat at the start line.. Go to the pit for a wheel while the field rolls off. I'm forced to take a free lap.. Getting a bit psyched out here.. I jump in on lap 2, get myself in a break right off the bat, and then reach for a drink.. NO BOTTLE! So I'm mooching drinks off of team mates, and even a Benidorm rider (Matt? thank you!) trying to stay calm.. Then a bad crash. Tom Mannion appears to be out cold in the gutter by the curb. He isn't removed from this spot until about 10 laps later, 6 or 7 of which were neutralized.. We restart the race with ten to go, giving the break a 14 second head start.. By now my head is so NOT into it that I've resolved not to take any crazy risks.. Even so, I get so badly wronged just before the final dog leg that I have to squeeze both brakes and lose about 10 mph with 200 meters left to go. So I put my head down for 24th of 49 finishers. Glad that horror show was over.
On to the Pro race.. 60 laps.. this one's easy.. race was quicker than the 35+, a lot more smooth.. about 10 guys were up the road in the closing laps.. I sprinted safely to 20th out of 40 finishers. (nothing to cry about, getting 10th in a Pro field sprint I guess- gotta look at the positive) Felt pretty good overall, but simply finishing this event was an achievement for me, so my expecations weren't high enough to make me a contender. In three previous attempts I DNF'ed hoping to save myself for the 30+.. and that was getting old..
Jumped right into the 30+ after the Pro.. (many thanks to Ted Shanstrom for getting my number pinned for me, and to the SRAM neutral support that let me use that awesome ZIPP front wheel in all three events) Well, 40 more laps seemed easy enough, but with 20 to go I was cramping very badly in both hamstrings.. The field was quite lethargic, and filled with guys who either didn't race at all previously, or who skipped the Pro race.. Five guys rode off the front (originally six- Gary Aspnes got in there but lost contact due to some cramping) There was no chase to speak of, the speed was pitifully slow, and with cramping of my own limiting me severely, I could only eek out a 19th place sprint out of only 31 finishers. (not so bad when you consider that five had lapped us and my legs were more or less seized up..)
Trivia: Winners of all three events had fresh legs (no previous races) 8 of the top 20 in the 30+ field had fresh legs, 8 skipped the Pro race, and 3 were into their third consecutive race of the day.. Of the 47 finishers in the 45+ event, fully 20 of them jumped into the 35+ event.. In contrast, only 7 of the 49 finishers of the 35+ event jumped into the Pro event.. Including myself, only 3 guys did the 35+, Pro and 30+ in succession. Out of 120 total individuals in the 45+, 35+, Pro and 30+, total of 80 did only one event, 35 did two events, and 5 did 3 events.. Of the 40 finishers in the Pro race, 31 had fresh legs (no previous racing).. I could go on.. If anyone wants to see a matrix showing you all of these sortable results, I spent a few minutes preparing it in Excel, out of curiosity. E-mail me and I'll forward it to you: reiscotools at yahoo dot com. It's very telling when you examine it closely.. You learn a lot about a person by seeing which events they skipped and which ones they favored..
Murat's minimally satisfied, but wishes the 35+ race was less problematic. I had good legs for it and it was a waste not to take advantage of the freshness in my first event.. Da 'sit for now.
Except for this: I must salute Michael Shireman of our Union Velo team for taking the win in the Cat 3 event.. Nice photo finish on Bikereg shows you just how close the sprint was against Mike Norton... Well done!