Lynchburg RR - Cat 5 Carnage
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.