I raced the "new Cat 5s/35+". Those of you not familiar with these, it's a series of mentoring/clinic + practice races for new racers. The idea being to get you a lot of on-bike experience before the real fun begins.
This one started off at a lot slower pace than last week. Could have been because of the cold. Also the field was a lot smaller (by contrast, the under 35s looked a lot bigger...they split it up, which they did not do last week).
The clinic this week was on cornering...picking a good line, not "nose-diving", getting comfortable going through corners next to other people, etc. As such I was hoping the corners would be a bit smoother this week during the actual race, but it actually seemed to be worse...a lot more skitterishness, and yo-yoing around (slow waaaaay down going in and massive accelerations coming out). Also wind may have been more of a factor this week.
Anyway, I was setting into a groove, at a decent pace, just holding my own in the pack. With around 5 laps to go, the cries went up; someone went down. I did not see it at all, not even the aftermath as I was on the outside of the pack and the crash was inside. The stories I heard were that basically one guy was going for a (measly $5) prime, cut off another guy and took him down pretty hard. Ugh.
They immediately neutralized us and slowed us down to give them time to clear the wreck. Coming back around to the crash scene and oh no! *ANOTHER* one bites the dust. Someone was not looking up ahead far enough, or was looking at the first crash or something; not really sure...didn't see that one either. So that was pretty much it for the race; they brought the ambulance in and just stopped us, since it's practice anyway.
I felt a lot more comfortable this week, both in terms of holding the pace as well as mixing it up in the pack. Actually rubbed elbows/shoulders with a few guys several times; no worries (well, I wasn't too worried at least...one guy started freaking out a little bit so I had to leave him).
Saw fellow BFites platypus and toshi (who is also a teammate of mine, but in the under 35s) out there, which was cool. Supposedly there was at least one other BF person there but I don't remember who and did not (knowingly) meet him.
Also, I went the Fred route with an un-crumpled number this week...ahhh, Fredilicious Freedom!