Well that didn’t go as planed. I wasn’t sure I was going to do this race, considering I am still getting over my cold. But after feeling decent on the Eugene Thursday nighter, I decided to race yesterday, even risking a relapse if in deed I was still sick. Luckily, I still feel fine today, Monday, so a relapse is not in order.
The course was rolling hills with a headwind one direction and a tailwind the other. Plus it was warm out, which I knew would soften people’s legs even more considering we’re still used to rainy 50’s and 60’s weather. I figured the first strong move of the day would stick, and I made sure I was in it.
Heading up the main hill about five minutes into the race, a group formed ahead of the field as riders bridged up to it. I followed, feeling comfortable, and pretty soon we had a nice gap. I think there were seven or eight of us, including two Land Rover guys, and an HP Chiro guy–the only two strong teams present in the 80+ field. Perfect.
We all began pulling through but a couple guys weren’t pulling through quick enough and the fluidity began to fade as one or two guys fell off the back as the road got steep again. We ended up getting caught pretty quickly, and then the real move went. I wasn’t spent when we were eaten by the peleton, but I didn’t have enough energy to follow the next move. Three Land Rover’s guys and Chris Sheppard broke away near the top of the climb and we never saw them again.
After turning away from the wind at the top of the first climb, the pace continued to stay somewhat high as HP Chiro and others helped with the chase. The break had about 30 to 40 seconds for half a lap, but eventually began making more time as we slowed down. I think there was a little over a minute when the first lap ended. Three more laps to go.
Lap two I hammered it. I didn’t want to race for 5th place, and it seemed like the only option was to bring the break back. I should have tried to get a couple guys to bridge with me, but everyone just seemed content to sit in and race for 5th. So I ended up on the front for the majority of laps 2, 3, and 4. I got off the front a bunch of times, but most if it was by accident. And I didn’t have the power to stay off alone for long because I’d been on the front for so long. And after the gap got up to 3 minutes, I knew I was just racing for a workout.
I was getting pretty tired by lap 4, and with half a lap to go, what was left of the peleton split. A group of seven guys ended up getting away from me and the rest of the pack. I pulled as hard as I could and got within about 8 seconds of them, but couldn’t quite get there. No one wanted to help. Not from laziness, just from being in the red themselves too.
I swerved off the side of the road by accident and went into a field at one point but stayed upright and got back on to the back pretty quickly. I thought about calling it a day and sitting on for the last 8 miles, but I couldn’t so I took some more time on the front.
With a couple miles to go, I sat in, deciding I could at least sprint for 12th or whatever place it was. But I wasn’t going to chase anything down or do any more work. My legs had had it. Galen Mitterman took a flyer with 2 miles to go and stayed away, so now we were racing for 13th. The finish line was at the top of a steep but short climb, something I would normally do well on. But I knew that my legs were dead and instead of waiting for the move to happen, I just went at the base of the thing and died part way up taking 16th. Not the best placing, but damn was it a good workout. I think I’ll be feeling even better next weekend once my cold is completely gone.