There was a race.
Slow speeds allow the squirrels to swarm.
There was a crash.
Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I knew it was going to interesting when the race announcer asked “How many of you have not raced before?” and what seemed like half of the 30 or so riders raised their hands.
Up until now, the Dixie Classic series C races had been dominated by the same 5 or 6 guys. At the whistle they would set the pace so high that the field was strung out within 2 laps and people (myself included) would be getting shelled off quickly and re-group into a “second tier” whose main goal was-
1. Not get lapped. (About a 50% success rate)
2. Fight for remaining top 10 spots. (Much lower success rate)
It was always a 30 minute suffer fest for me, just begging for it to end.
I found out before the race a couple of these guys had Cat’ed up and the others, I assume, didn’t show because of the threat of rain.
The race starts off like a Sunday afternoon group ride. After 1 lap of this, bored, I come around about 15 people on the outside, go off the front just get the pace up. That worked for about 2 laps, then it reverted back to 200 yards of sprint, brake, coast back down to 19 mph, bunch up 4 and 5 wide, hit the corners with half of the riders diving to the inside too fast to make up places, the other half taking a outside-in line. I think they all read the same book that states “Be in the top 10 but under no circumstances get on the front and pull.” I spent the next 10 minutes in defensive mode just trying to avoid others.
Perhaps I should have yelled.
Finally with 10 laps to go the pace picked up and things started to smooth out a bit. Or so I thought. With 4 laps to go, on a straight, 2 people go down right in front of me, just to my left. The rider right beside me plows into them, and does a perfect endo. I can still see his head tube making a perfect arc around his wheel. I swerve to avoid getting caught up in it. The adrenaline dump keeps me occupied for the next couple of laps but then I must have become totally un-nerved when I noticed that there are maybe 12 riders in front of me in the lead group and not anyone behind me. I just soft pedal at the back and roll through the line 15 yards back because I wasn’t interested in contesting the sprint.
Driving home, I missed my exit.