Wow, was this an interesting race. The day began with me freaking out for getting to the race late, and ended with me cleaning the grass out of my helmet. I got to the race much later than I normally do- about 45 minutes before the race- and only got minimal warm up in. I ended up parking behind Hart and in front of Kirk Albers. I don't know Kirk, but he seemed nice and was really polite when a local was talking to him after the race. So I get ready and get in maybe 5 minutes before I go to lineup.
They have us bike two miles out to the starting line where they have us line up in two's along the side of the road. (There were two 4 or 5 foot deep ditches filled with water on either side of the road which people peed into. This will be important to note for later in the race.)
After about twenty minutes, the 5's finally get out. The course was so flat that if you had a ladder at the start line, you could see the entire course. The winds made the first lap interesting, as the yellow line rule went completely out the window with the cross wind. I think that 90% of the 45ish man field was on the left side of the road. There was not much traffic, and absolutely no hills or turns, so it was okay. There was ridiculous too much yo-yo the first two laps. Anywhere betwee 15 and 30 seemed to be the pace. By the end of the second lap, things had started to relax and settle in at around 22-25. By this time, most of us realized that no break aways were going to stick, so everybody was sitting in.
Despite this, we still caught the 4's on the third or fourth lap (not sure which it was 'cause we did 5 laps). That was terrible. I was reading one of the race reports from Savage Hill from last year's race and in that race, the 4's were stopped to let the 5's go by. Same thing happened this year, but apparently there was a lot of confusion up in the 4's, and somebody looked to have crashed pretty hard. While there was a huge crowd where most of the 4's had stopped, some of them kept going to police the 5's, asking everybody who passed if they were a 4. No sooner do we have the 4's passed then the yo-yoing begins again. Luckily, the 4's never caught back up with us, because they would have been so mad, rightfully so.
Not much really happened the last lap until the final turn. I was able to move up pretty well and made it to the inside of the turn in the top 15 or 20. I felt that I was in a pretty good position for the sprint to the end. So I am on the far inside, right on the white line in probably the third row, and we are 8 across. And then, with probably a 3/4 to 1/2 of a mile to go... somebody's overlapping wheels. Somebody knocks out a guy's wheel right in front of me who veers sharply back into the center, taking out tons of people. I don't really know what else happens except that I see a silver bike sans rider fly in front of me and I hit it going probably 25. I end up sumersaulting in the air into the ditch. I get up immediately and check to make sure everybody is okay. The guy who got knocked down first looked to have taken the worst of it, but he seemed fine. Meanwhile, the lead car from the 123's comes by. I run out onto the road, and start throwing water bottles and pushing bikes out of the way. After they pass, I embrace the "check to make sure everyone is okay and then b!+c#" policy. Maybe 8-12 guys went down. Two other guys and I decide to have a sportsmanly sprint to the finish. I am covered in mud, and perhaps even in urine, but I end up winning the sprint of shame in my new camofluage jersey.
My bike is going to have to go the shop, as it turns out. My knee is so bruised and swollen. Fortunately, there aren't any OVR races this weekend due to Easter, so I won't be too sad. It's ironic, this was the first race were I wore a St. Christopher necklace.
Yeah, that race was nasty. I was racing in the 4's and the wind combined with the tabletop surface, only ensured that the peloton was going to be grouped together until the very end. I ended up sitting in, biding my time until the final sprint. As noted before, any breakaways that were made, were caught within a minute or two.
As for the crash caused when the USCF organizer neutralized the 4's - that was just stupid. I was in middle of the pack, off to the right, when all of a sudden I heard the official yelling at us to stop and the sound of riders hitting the ground. I decided that self-preservation was in my best interest, so I pulled off into the grass and unclipped. Considering that my way was blocked by riders and victims, I'd made the smart decision. If I hadn't pulled off into the grass, I would've plowed right into some prostrate rider. The 4th place GC rider broke a CF wheel and there was a few cases of road rash, but nothing too serious. But the official really made a name for himself with that call. He's a good guy and mistakes happen, but it's ****ty when someone crashes because of said mistakes.
As for my race, I bagged it out at the last corner and lost touch of the pack. I tried to reel it in, but due to idiot drivers leaving their cars jutting out into the roadway, Cat. 5 guys who were cruising around in the finish area and a lack of juice in the legs, I just didn't have it. I know I need to be more aggressive in the pack, among other things.
based on some of my recollectios from sunday, i am beginning to think that perhaps where everyone fell was actually several dozen meters away the place contaminated with bike racer's urine. still, it was downhill from there, so the urine definately could have travelled down the ditch to where we crashed. oh well.