8 more upgrade points! Whoot!
3 laps around a 17 mile circuit with 64 Cat 3's from both Washington and Oregon. We were definitely lucky in the morning as the afternoon races had wind, rain and hail.
Cat 3's can be a funny bunch. 1st lap two very strong guys get off the front- One of the guys is marked- known to be a powerhouse that can hold off a peloton. Quickly enough, they turned a 15 second gap into 30 seconds, which ballooned to over a minute by the middle of the 2nd lap. I yelled to the guys that we needed to organize and get moving. There's nothing worse than a loud mouth who yells at others to get their collective butts going but does nothing... so... fighting into the wind I worked my way up to the front and started a paceline, which soon fell apart as no one came up behind me. The second time this happened, the group that I was working with had a small gap. And again, there was no one behind me- so I yelled back that if you're not going to work, I'm going to sit up and let these guys go. So, I sat up and let a gap open up (hoping that these guys who were working got off). Unfortunately, the guys behind realized that if that group got off it would be game over, so - they shut the group down pretty quickly. Bah.
Knowing the character of the course (narrow roads)- I started moving up to the top 15 or so with about 1.25 laps to go. You really have to fight to keep your position- and I knew that the back half of the pack would be locked in with about 1 lap to go, the top 1/3 with about a half lap to go and the top 1/4 with .25 to go.
We didn't forget that breakaway. Finally, a big team moved to the front and started motoring. After a series of attempts to shutdown combined with a big team at the front, we finally caught the breakaway with about 5 miles to go. With about 3 miles to go we were neutralized as there was an accident on the course.... one of the P/1/2's from out of state crossed wheels and caused an accident, sending one of the riders into an oncoming car. Fortunately, the rider was not hurt significantly. Once we came out of neutral, we started going hard. While we were single file, I edged to the right to defend the right side of the road.
If you allow riders through at that point, you can lose positions quite quickly. Frankly, positioning coming into the final 1K is worth battling the wind. Coming into the final left hand turn, I knew that most of the folks would dive to the inside, causing the accordion effect. Risky yes, as I know if someone goes down they slide inside to outside. But, I also knew there was a wide shoulder to the right. Shooting through on the right side, I went hunting for some wheels I knew that were fast. I also knew one of the guys was leading out another rider for points. So I accelerated and followed. However, I saw the rider getting led out start to bounce around trying to find hole, but then we crossed the 200m mark- and then the right side opened up as riders shifted left. Popped it into an easier gear and jumped. Spun up, click, click, click, riders are dropping by me to the left, one racer to go. He's fading, I'm gaining, but ran out of real estate- 2nd place by a half a wheel.
I did have my helmet cam- but unfortunately ran out of batteries 15 minutes before the finish. BAH!
About 3 more points before hitting the Cat 2's. Thinking about sandbagging the 3's though.
Alas... after the race, had to deal with issues. Unfortunately the 1/2's had a whole group violate the center line at about 5K to go... then had to deal with the crunched car and finally had to deal with issues in the Cat 4 women's field. Blech. Oh well.