Masters 4/5 35+
I did this one, simply because I could! Finally I get to race masters and I'm stoked to get to know the field. Had a blast, there's much less herky jerky during neutral start, better line selection and generally a good chatty bunch. Plus, my buddy Davo is in masters.
Raced carefully, not knowing the players in the field, then took my opportunity for a long sprint from about 300m. Got jumped right before the finish for 3rd place.
Quick recovery at the car, didn't have enough water, enough food. Forgot to air up the tires before the previous race, but figured they were pretty full anyway. So checked tire pressures, and I was rolling a big 60psi... oops. Aired up the tires, then met Alex, Wayne, and a friend of from school who is interested in our team.
Roll out was typically obnoxious with a herky jerky neutral start, but pretty quickly the pace picked up and we were actually racing a fairly well put together field. There was Olympia Orthopedic, Bikesale, Apex all with 4+ riders. One terrible rider on Apex was all over the place, he would charge up the right side on terrible pavement with high risk of falling off the road only to gain 3 positions with 3 laps to go?! He dove left while at the front, not even while leading the pack only to catch the front wheel of a Starbucks rider who managed to lock up his rear wheel and stay upright. That Starbucks rider had amazing bike handling skills, so much that I spent the rest of the laps trying to find him and give a compliment.
I really enjoyed working with Alex at one point to bridge a gap, we both had the same mindset and launched from the left and right side of the field putting a small (unintentional) gap into the field, this lasted only a little while when other people saw us as a threat (little did they know I was pretty exhausted from the previous race). Our small break got gobbled by the field but it spurred folks to chase a bit more aggressively and we eventually caught the more threatening break that was up ahead. Mission accomplished, I knew I wouldn't be able to hold out in a break so that worked really well.
I made the bonehead mistake of not bringing enough fluid either, had to start rationing to sips from the bottle with about 2.5 laps to go. Also, ran out of nutrition and only had my backup hammer gel left. Imagine eating a gel with cottonmouth and you know how miserable that can be.
Final sprint I worked my way into Olympia Orthopedic's lead out train and enjoyed some protection from the wind up the hill to the finish. Jumped at the same distance as the previous race, but just didn't have the steam to hold out. Took 11th. Found water as quickly as possible and sat in the my truck with the AC going to cool down. Yikes, I'm going to add a big jug of water to my race box from now on.