This is my second cat 5 road race, my first was the day before. I had a great finish in Saturday's race but I was definately feeling it on Sunday. I was just hoping to be able to stick with the pack. One of the highlights was getting to meet PolishPostal and hanging out with him for a while. I had met him about a year ago but just talked to him for a minute or two. He is an extremely nice guy and a very good rider as well.
This race is a 43 mile out and back on a rolling course. However, everyone had to park 6 miles from the start which actually worked out to be a pretty good warm up. The warm up was needed since it was about 28 - 30 degrees out. It was slightly windy with a little tail wind on the way to the turn around and a head wind the second half. After the race we had to 6 miles back to the car which was mostly uphill.
For this race they had the cat 5's and the vets together. The race started out at a pretty good pace, nothing crazy but not real slow either. There were a couple of teams in the pack, one had about six riders, the other had five riders I believe. This made a breakaway pretty much impossible. Everything stayed pretty calm during the race with the exception of a couple of squirly riders. Nothing too bad they just made a few unnecessary sudden moves. No harm done though, just kept everyone on their toes.
Things kept rolling on, by the turn around we had probably dropped about five riders, not too bad. On the way back things stayed calm until about six miles to go. That's when the chess game started. With about four miles there was a decent climb that spread the field out a bit. However, at the top people started setting up again which would have let some of the struggling riders get back on and rest. At that point I went out front and took the lead for a couple of minutes. I just wanted to make the peleton a little smaller. It seemed to work. By the time I was able to get someone else to pull I realized there were only nine of us left, four cat 5's and five vets. Getting rid of the pull wasn't easy, at that point nobody wanted to do the work since there was just a couple of miles left.
Anyway, things calmed down for a minute or two then we got about 1/2 mile from the finish. At that point PolishPostal somehow thought the finish line was much closer than it was. Oops. Well I grabbed his wheel until he blew up. That left about 1/4 mile to go. I tried to go but quickly found out that I just didn't have the legs. With about 100 feet to go the other two cat 5's went around me and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I lost the chess match. With about 50 feet left I looked back and saw PolishPostal a good ways back. I just sat up and rode in about 5 seconds back from the winners. I'll be satisfied with third this time and chalk it up as a learning experience.
Anyway, for the weekend I ended up with a win and a third. In my mind that's a pretty decent first couple of races.