The course, for those that weren't there was a 23 mile loop. Giant hill right off the start. Centerline rule applies... but there wasn't a centerline going up the hill so we figured it, uh, didn't apply. Intense headwind the whole way up so the group snaked around to whichever side of the road provided the most wind coverage. Quick little hairpin at the start of the descent (watch yourself), then long and fast down the other side. Then immediately it's back to climbing, but this time there's no wind at all and it's shorter and somewhat less steep. Then more fast descending. There's a 120 degree turn in the middle of this one too, mind the botts dots. The tail end of this descent, just after it crosses the freeway, was freshly paved and smooth as glass. Eventually we crossed some road with a cop blocking traffic for us and went into a short series of rollers, the last of which had a nasty, nasty crosswind. Then two 90 degree rights and a long sprint to the finish.
My race wasn't so much a 3 lap race as a 1 lap race with a very long warmup. The Masters made fun of us as they came by on our second lap. Not attrition but much talking and joking.The highlight of those first two laps for me was when I accidentally rode away from the field in the crosswind section (frontrunners got skittish, I guess), and used the gap to take a nice, long pee. Peed all over myself because I picked the wrong side to pull over on (crosswind and all...)
Lap 3: The jockeying began, going up the first hill, me and a few others started taking some serious pulls, trying to string things out and maybe crack a few riders. There was one rider off the front at this point (by about a minute, some spectator told me). Me and two others eventually started a little 3 man break up the hill. We knew it wouldn't stick, but the wind and hill was such that having a wheel or not didn't make any difference. And it felt better on my legs to go at a faster clip. On the descent we got organized but only managed to stay away till the bottom. One from our break dropped back into the field at that point. Chris Coble joined us. Just when I thought we would be reabsorbed, two riders blew by us saying "jump on! we've got a break!" There was some scrambling but we eventually coalesced into a heavily-panting 5 man breakaway. One of them took on the lead as coach, barking orders, and keeping us in a tight, continuously rotating paceline.
At some point one of us had a mechanical and we were down to 4. A bit later we caught up to the solo break (who miraculously wasn't completely blown) and we were back up to 5 again. I was smoked and I think everyone else was too, but we kept the blistering pace all through the end. Rolling down from the last rise it was clear that we wouldn't be caught and we eased up and started looking at each other warily. I said something about not fighting it out until we'd cleared the two corners which of course prompted two of the riders to jump right then. I cursed and jumped after them, now in 4th I think. Cornered... Long long sprint... My calves cramped up completely midway through and I had to sit down and pedal just with my quads and gluts for a bit. I was battling with one rider for 3rd place and must have taken it by only a couple inches. Crossing the line I screamed in pain agony. Within moments my teammates gave me a beer and it was the best beer ever...