Same race as last year, with new bike, new CAT, and hopefully better luck. I raced in the Masters category with all ages and CATs from 40 up. Lined up feeling pretty tired and dehydrated from the zip lining we did the day before, and I hadn't ridden a bike in just under a week, so legs were pretty heavy and I wasn't feeling angry to race hard yet.
The bikes were top notch this year, and the older dudes are serious about this shit I guess, because almost half the riders had Zipp 303 tubulars, and all had super nice bikes. Everybody looked fit, and no fatties here this year, probably from the higher categories.
We start, and everybody was juking and jiving during the neutral leadout, so I figured it would be a nasty race with over 60 guys entered. After the motorcycle pulled off and we were live, I shot up the right side not wanting to deal with any fools in back and settled in to about 5th spot to see who was pulling and riding hard. Everybody was pretty strong, and spots were changing regularly with no one rider stronger than another.
I stayed where I wanted to for the most part, making friends as they try to steal my spot.
The "fuck you"s in my head were plentiful.
Rest of the race was uneventful thankfully, and nobody crashed to my knowledge, but I was in the front, so I'm not sure. Downhills were rock solid on the new bike, and on the last one right before the 3 mile climb, I coasted to 49 mph drafting everybody on the way down and steering around everybody to go from about 10th spot to 3rd.
I knew two guys were out front ahead and probably wouldn't be caught, but I wanted to try to stay with everybody else as much as I could without blowing up. Everybody took off on the last climb, and I stayed close to most, but couldn't match the pace exactly, and started dropping off a bit every few minutes. I could go harder, but didn't want to blow up, so I kept it steady and hopefully I could turn it up on the last mile. I could see the leaders, but they were slowly pulling away.
On the last mile, there were 3 guys riding with me I knew I could battle with for sure. One of the guys took off pretty good, and the other two started trying to gap me slowly. I kept with both the slower guys, and wound up passing the one guy before the finish. I need to work on my 3 mile max effort intervals I guess.
Had to leave before I found the results, but I got 13th overall out of the 60 master riders. Surprised at that considering my training lately and the riders there, but I'll take it.
Average speed was up from last year 1.5 mph over the 37 miles, so either the bike helped or I'm getting faster. Or both.
Great race though, and I'm looking forward to next year. I think I will work on those longer hill climbs to prepare. I felt great up until then, and could have gone much harder. Always next year.