|I (heart) this bike...|
I got there around 5:00 and TRI714 showed up around 15 minutes later. After we kitted up we headed out for the requisite 3 lap warm up. While talking, tactics came up and we hatched a plan that if the race went well, on the last lap I would move up the outside to about 5th or 6th wheel and Craig would drop in behind me. The idea was that when the final sprint started I would give him the best 100 meters I could muster and hopefully that would be something he could take to the finish line.
We started with a neutral lap, and once we were racing I quickly realized that I've been in better form. But I managed to stick to the lead group for the first few laps as everyone burned off the initial nervous energy. There were sprint points up for grab on lap 4, but after that the pace slowed down just a little bit and the race came back together.
Then about a mile later, somebody attacked. The peleton as a whole immediately responded but somehow I got caught off guard, undoubtedly due to the high volume of internal high 5's I was giving myself for for my tactical brilliance. In a matter of seconds, I was gapped. Then we turned into a headwind and I officially got dropped.
Once back on, I found a draft and let myself recover. There was about 15 minutes left - most likely 3 laps. We could still execute the plan.
Order was restored and things were going fine. A couple of other guys attacked, but the peleton didn't respond - instead we let them hang out there. The wind had picked up and by default the front of the race came back together every time we turned into it.
We started the last lap. But then we had to go neutral to let another race pass. I was surprised by this and a little annoyed - I thought we had been going hard enough over the last hour not to get passed. Most of the other guys weren't pleased by this, either. Unfortunately, we stayed neutral over the hill so my grand tactical plan was not going to happen. When we started up again, there was maybe 3/4 of a mile to go. I got up to about 6th wheel on the outside, but I looked over to my left and saw that Craig had an inside line and definitely wasn't looking for me. But at the end of the day, this ended up being a good thing. Because when the final sprint started, I found that I had nothing left. Going neutral had given my leg muscles just enough time to tighten up and when I tried to lay down some power it just wasn't there. I finished last of what was left of the leading pack. I can't say I wasn't frustrated.
Ask Craig how he did, though....
Distance: 25.8 Miles
Avg Speed: 22.8 MPH (includes 2 neutral laps)
Max Speed: 41.9 MPH