Saturday was the road race, my first race of the year, and first time racing collegiate A's. A's is essentially a P123 category. Our race was 64 miles. As a brand new 3 I was a little worried about how I would feel and what kind of shape I was in.
The group rolls out into the block long neutral start, then the fast guys start hammering. The first lap was pretty fast, with lots of attacks, and a lot of weaker riders opening up gaps. Nothing much happens until the 3rd lap when a break of 5 or 6 riders gets away. There is a half hearted chase because the two biggest teams have two guys each in the break.
On the fourth lap things go down hill. It starts raining/snowing/hailing and it is horrible. It stung. So everybody sat up. Coming into the last mile I have good position, but my hands are almost completely numb. In the last 4-500 meters I'm sitting 5th wheel, and would have had a perfect leadout. But my hands were numb and my bars were wet and kind of slippery and I decided sprinting was probably not a good idea if I wanted to keep all my skin. I came through the line about 20th overall. Not too bad for a field of ~60.
Sunday was the crit, and it was the scariest course ever. Something like 13 turns, including two U-Turns, all on a 1/2 mile loop going between 3 parking lots. And it had snowed the night before. For the earlier races there was still ice on the course, and needless to say there were lots of crashes.
The A race started off pretty hard, and it was strung out from the gun. There was a crash on the 2nd lap, in the U turn that was 50 meters past the finish line that took out 4 or 5 guys, and opened a big gap. I spent the rest of the race working alone and with one other guy picking off groups of people one at a time. With one lap to go he gapped me on a little uphill headwind stretch, and he had about 5-10 seconds on me. At the same time I'm caught by two guys from behind.
On the last lap the guy who gapped me crashed in the first turn. We get through the rest of the lap and I pass a guy and somebody passes me. I have no real idea where I placed because the field was shattered and nobody could figure it out.
Overall it was a great weekend. I showed the guys on my team that I can hang, and it was just a huge boost to know that I'm a lot stronger than last year and all the training is working.