Short version – First Cat 3/4 race where I finish with lead group on lead lap. In the world of wanders, this counts as a victory.
Report - Started in the front and quickly got shuffled to the back of the group. I spent the first half of the raced getting pinched in the chicane and having to sprint out of every corner just to cover the accordion effect. I finally decided to move up just out of frustration.
I found myself on the front just as a group of 5 or 6 tried to form a break. Some might say I got gapped. I do not. After about half a lap, they were 30 feet off and headed into the windy side on the straight. I decided to chase just so I could get out of the wind. After catching them and pulling the entire field up, I saw that there were 2 of my friends/ ex-teammates in the group.
A couple laps later they- my friends- went off again with another group. This time I sat out front and attempted to block. It’s amazing how much energy you expended trying to go “slow”. After a lap and a half, I was cooked, and got swarmed by the group chasing.
With 15 minutes to go, the pace slowed to crawl. I was sitting in the back slobbering all over my top tube, recovering.
With 5 laps to go, the pace ramped up again and another ex-teammate attempted a solo “glory or suicide” attack. It was suicide.
Last lap - I was in decent position when all of a sudden, the sound of a rider hitting the deck and an orange cone comes flying into the group everyone swerves left and I’m forced into the grass. Dammit. I chase back on but finish somewhere in the 3rd quartile.
Of the 3 years I’ve been racing here, I have never seen a crash in the corners or in the chicane. They have always happened on the straight section of the start/finish.
Later, I ask the official about my placing.
Him-“What’s your number?”
Him-“I haven’t gotten that far down yet.”
Me-“Ouch, that stings.”