The nice thing about racing with team-mates is having them do most of the work for you. The same applies to blogging. Mike has been pulling the train for the last few entries, but I thought I would do my work at the front for a bit.
Are we sick of drafting metaphors yet?
Rosey met up with me Saturday morning, and we floated on over to Sterling for a little road racing. He kitted up while I perused, hoping to maybe find some food. The Cat 4 race rolled out, and I followed in the car and settled on a pizza place on the course. While waiting, the rain came down a bit violent. I started to see riders ride past in the opposite direction. A bit puzzled, I realized that they had already dropped out of the race, and it was probably less than 20 minutes in. Oh boy. As I arrived back at the school and ate my pizza, bedraggled looking Cat 4's started filing in bleeding and looking confused. Some just dropped out.
Fortunately, the rain was a little less sucky by the afternoon. The Cat 3 race rolled out without much incident, and settled into a pretty fast pace. By lap one or two, Brian Wilichoski had broke away with 3 other riders while I was hanging somewhere 20 or so wheels back. He was never seen again, though I'm pretty sure the other three got absorbed back into the pack. CCB spent some time up at the front semi-blocking for him, but it really was not needed and a 60 second gap turned into a 90 second gap.
Everyone else seemed contented to not chase. After the first punchy climb, things would string out, and on the descent a small group would be off the front, but never really established a large enough gap by 12 to make a difference.
I spent much of my time close to the front, mostly on the climbs/descents to keep myself from getting bogged down in traffic. Now and then I'd jump on a wheel to close small gaps, or jump on the back of an attack, but no break really formed and I wasn't interested in doing all the work myself.
I seemed at this point that it would come down to a group uphill sprint, so I worked on making sure I could secure a good spot. Leo from Threshold plus one or two people broke away from the group on 12, but the pack closed the gap while the break lost time on the last small climbs. Everyone was together at the very end, I was hanging out in the front. A pair of GLV riders came around on my left, I gave chase, and by the turn into the climb I was on the inside in a good position for the uphill sprint.
So you know, go uphill, it hurts, towards the very end a small group was very close to me, threw the bike a little to stay ahead, and picked up 9th place. Pretty satisfied, especially since this was my first Cat 3 race.