Paul and I rode the first loop last week and drove the second loop, so we knew the course fairly well. The Masters group went off at 12:00 and the cat. 4's went at 12:30. We rolled pretty easy for the first section of the first lap. I had a little more confidence building as we got going and was able to move around in the bunch more comfortably. The first loop was fairly uneventful for us. There was a break off the front of 3 or 4 guys, but nobody seemed too concerned. I know I wasn't. When we started the second lap the pace quickened as we hit the climb from yesterdays circuit race and I said to myself "it's on" and struggled to stay attached.
I had given Katherine (you don't know her) a bottle to hand up at the second feed station. It had my name written on it. I saw a guy going up the climb with my bottle!? All I could think was will I have anything at the feed.
The next half hour or so was pretty intense. Shitty pavement, and one short, sharp climb after another. It took me about 4 of these to figure out that if I got up close to the front before each climb, I'd have room to "drift" to the back and not get dropped. This worked pretty well, but I was getting cooked. Luckily up ahead in the bunch I heard someone yell "hey, you gotta pee" and we all pulled to the side of the road and took a piss. That was so pro. There was one more climb after that that I didn't even remember, but it was tough. I was so close to getting dropped there, but I said to myself "do you realize how miserable it will be to ride in from here alone" and dug hard and got back on just before the feed zone. Remember the bottle.
I saw Katherine and she had a bottle. Hallelujah. Ice cold water, possibly the best water ever. THANKS Katherine!! Katherine is a good local racer who has been kicking butt in our time trial and recently won the cyclonauts crit in Stafford. Thanks again.
Pretty much down hill from here except for the 5 mile grind up Sandy Brook Road with the little kicker at the end. When we hit the kicker and every body went, I knew I had to just stay with my pace. Three of us got together at the top with about 1-1/2 km to go and rode in 40 seconds behind the field. I couldn't believe it, I didn't get dropped!
I waited for the cat 4 field to come through, but there was no Paul. He rode in about 20 minutes later. He said he cramped up really bad before the second feed zone and just couldn't hang on. He wasn't alone. In my group , there were only 30 of the 68 starters left at the end.
So for GC Paul ended up 45th of 57 starters. I know he's a little disappointed, but he's already talking about the next one. I ended up placing 20th out of 40 in my age group. I was 32nd of 68 for the whole masters field. I'm really happy with that for my first stage race, first long road race and first masters race. I really liked racing with the masters, it seemed to be a lot calmer and orderly than the 4's. I'll try another one soon and see if this was a fluke. Maggie spent the day riding in the Official's car behind the cat 4 field. She said it was pretty cool.
Jon off the back in the circuit race
the view from Mag's Official's car- Cat 4