As I have been spending time trying to stay warm, between multiple hour rides outside with purple toes, and hours in the basement, I felt as if this race was like coming out of hibernation, or "unleashing the Kraken!" I was ready to do this, and ready to see what the legs were going to be able to handle. And this is how it went.
Based on my age group, we were going to be the first wave of over 2000+ racers. I felt this was going to be perfect as there would be no traffic to deal with. My plan was simple. Stay at the front at all cost, Stay with a few key fast guys if possible, don't do anything stupid. As the whistle blew, I jumped in the lead group. The pace was very slow. I chatted a bit with Alex Gonzales and Roger Bowers, and made a truce to work together for as long as possible. We turned to the first dirt section, and the pace quickened as we hit the 3 sisters hills. But still no one attacked. And the pace remained manageable. This went on for about 4 miles. Finally I decided to take a dig and went off the front. There was a group of about 30 with us at this point. I wasn't going to go for long, but just wanted to see where every one's head was. About 2 mins later, Wade Burch joined me and took a hard pull, then Roger joined as well. We fell back into the group, but now the pace was beginning to quicken. A few more miles and a few guys went off the front. A few more hills and we were all back. 3 guys still remained off the front but they were still within site. The Joe Thomas came from behind and surged to catch the group. Soon after, we hit the first of the really muddy sections! This caused a ton of confusion and slowed several of the guys down. Joe attacked and had a good gap on the other side. I surged as did Wade, Roger and few others. Through the nastiest part of the course, we had two groups off the front now. the first group was 4 riders, and I was in the 2nd with about 10 guys. We worked really well together, cycling through our pulls. This helped grow the gap a bit. And we continued to try and catch the guys in front, but they were slowly slipping away.
At about the half way point, 2 or 3 guys from the wave behind us, caught us. We were not sure who they were and decided to hop on the train. The effort got really hard at this point. We all stayed together for a few miles, until we hit the hill named the "killer". The leaders were inching there way off the front, but I was able to hang on. Well almost. When we got to the top, they gaped me. But Roger and Wade were no where around. The group I was just with was still in reach, so I buried myself to catch back on. I made contact, but as I did, I was greeted with the next big climb. This was the last time I made contact with the leaders of the group, but was able to hang with the guys that fell off the back end.
We all tried to surge forward as hard as we could. I could not see anyone from behind giving chase, so I continue to focus on trying to bring back anyone else that may have popped from the first lead group in my wave. There were a few, and we swept them up and passed them one by one. Finally, we made it to the last paved section before heading into town. But not before 1 last big climb. I was with one other guy at this point and we were both evenly matched on the climbs and flats. We headed into the town and into the chute. He took the inside line and down the hill. I tried to come around in the last second, but missed the sprint by less than a foot.
In the end I took home 3rd in my age group, and 23rd overall in the 36 mile race. I had a very hard solid effort, and felt like my training is on track. So the first race is in the books, and I can't wait to do the next one! I am completely in a different frame of mind than where I was last year, so hopefully it will all pay off for me.
Steve Broglio for taking the win in the 62 mile pro race! WOW!
Mike Simonson and Adam York for taking the race down to a sprint to decide the win with Steve!
Simon Bailey for absolutely crushing everyone for 1st overall!!!!!
Mike Seaman for 3rd in Single Speed
Alex Gonzales for 5th
Ryan Katulic for 3rd
Roger Bowser for 5th
Pam Bufe for 3rd Ladies Single Speed
Jmak and Tom Clark for a CXC pair of 5th's
Jesse Gould for 2nd and almost taking a top 10 overall!
All the KLM boys, Jeff, Brad, Joe, and Todd for stepping and putting out some great efforts in the Big boy race!
And I have to apologize for my poor podium etiquette (especially to Adam York). It wont happen again. Early season mistake.