This is the race my team promotes ... amazing day.
Cat 3 race was 56 miles, 8 laps on a 7 mile course. Very windy, sunny day. We have always had the Cat 3 and the P12 races going on concurrently and never had a problem with the fields getting mixed up, until this year. The Cat 3 race was fairly slow pace for the first half of the race, a few minor attacks and breaks that were closed down, looking at each other, another move, run down, etc. After a move I was in got caught, 3 guys rolled off the front, one guy was not an in district guy so no one knew him, another from a good MABRA team with numbers in the race, and another who got dropped nearly immediately. The field watched them thinking we had plenty of time to bring them back. Moto announced when they were at 1 minute, and this is when two other guys then rolled off the front, both from teams with numbers, which represented a threat (3 teams with numbers and riders up the road). The field again watched. The 2 from the 2nd break looked like they were fledgling out there, looking back, bouncing all over their bikes, and not getting very far. My team mates and I got together and decided it was time to shut down the 2nd group of 2, and this would force the team mates from those 2 teams to work and bring back the 1st 2 that got up the road.
Just as we were making our way to the front to start our chase, the moto points left and directs us off the road ... the P12 field was on us, so they were neutralizing our race to let them through. No big deal, the moto said they would also neutralize the break, make sure they had their time splits, and we'd be on our way. We were stopped for about 5 minutes, made a deal with one of the teams in the 2nd break to work with each other and bring the race back together.
We get started again, 3 laps (24 mi.) to go, my team makes our way to the front and the hammer was droped, big time. But even with all our efforts, we see no one from the 2 groups of 2 that are up the road. A short while later, we keep hammering, it becomes obvious that the break away groups were never neutralized!! This is when our "partner" team stops working and starts blocking, along with the other teams that have riders up the road. My team mates and I realize we're called out and figure we can either (a) sit in and field sprint for 5th or (b) keep on the gas and at least have a chance to win it. Option B was chosen. We caught the P12 race, went through them, and kept going. Finally, last lap, we catch the 2nd break - I've never seen more relief on the face of people than those 2 guys when we caught them. With about 5 miles to go, we can see the other 2 guys up the road at the crest of hills - less than a mile in front of us.
I had awesome legs all day. At this point in the race, I'd been on the front for miles and was going on nothing but adrenaline. Also, the chase was now getting mucked up by solo flyers/attacks. Last turn and finishing stretch is a narrow country road with slight uphill in to a cross wind finish of about 1KM. When we got on it and up over a little kicker, we could see the 2 breakaway guys finishing - that's how close we got. Now field sprint was on. My legs were screaming, and things spread out gutter to gutter. Lots of rubbin' with elbows, tires, shoulders, handlebars, everything - chaotic field sprint with no one in control. I was on what I thought to be a good wheel (at least one I knew did no work all day!), but he crapped out at 300M, which left me on the front and having to make a go of it from there (that's about 150M too long for me). At 100M, I was winning the field sprint, at the finish line, I was 17th. Other team mates were somewhere in the top 15, but nothing of note.
The winner was the out of district guy, I think he posts here, but I'll let him tell the story from the podium top step.
Even though no result, it was a super fun race, but I believe the officials screwed it up. As the promoting team, we had guys in cars with race radio, they said the officials were panicking the entire time trying to agree on what to do with everything, I wish I had a recording, everyone said it was very entertaining.
Thanks for reading.
PS - some other fun facts about the day
- crash in Cat 5 during last lap at 1K to go, guy was up walking around but wanted the ambulance. OK, we got it to him, ambulance was still on the road (despite our pleading to move the F out of the way) when the Cat 4 race came to the 1K area. I was on the intersection prior and was screaming to "stay right". It was interesting to watch as half the field, with heads down, rode right into the back of the ambulance.
- sketchy cat 4 field sprint, had a big crash, one of the guys who fell down hunted down the person he thought responsible in the parking lot after the race and assaulted him (punched him, knocked him down, and started kicking him) - azz hat. Now they're both suspended from racing next year.
- some idiot (from the same team that the above guy who attacked another) who had a mechanical within the 1st mile of the Cat 4 race wanted a refund and was very indignant when told "no, that's racin'".