I'd be ok with every race giving out syrup as awards
Ah the Horror. Not my favorite course but like I've said I keep coming back so there must be something to say about that. It is well organized for sure, probably some of the most efficient race promoters in the series (more on that later). They mixed things up a bit this year and ran the course in the opposite direction. Apparently years ago that was the way they ran it but I've done this race for 4-5 years in the other direction so its been a while. It changed the feel and dynamic of how it rode quite a bit. Climbs went from long and gradual to short and steep. But the chatter remained, no matter what direction you were heading. If you ride rigid you better be ready to vibrate at the Horror. Luckily I thought ahead and threw my thudbuster on last week in an effort to help me stay seated and pedaling.
I have no real idea how big our field was, there were 5 pre-reg'd and with the mass starts its hard to tell who's who. They ended up starting us with the Sports this time around which was...interesting. Not really sure the reasoning behind that but I guess all told it worked out ok, but we did have to go full gas from the gun to try and get out front to avoid traffic later. Things got going and Pete M., Taylor C. and myself got out front of the field with Mark not too far behind. Pete disappeared (per usual) and I had Taylor in sight so I tried to bring things back to a bit more sustainable pace to recover a bit. I was maybe 25-30ft behind Taylor when he topped out on the big climb early in the lap and by the time I got to the top he was GONE. I thought I would catch him before long but the descents in that direction did not suit my bike at all. Long, gradual, super high speed washboard.
I was moving ok but I'm sure a bit slower than anyone else with some squish to soften things out a bit. Mark caught me about halfway through the first lap after being just a tad too far back in the start and getting caught in some Sport traffic on the climbs. I continued to hammer expecting to catch Taylor soon, he had mentioned he hadn't been feeling 100% at the start but I think he may have been playing mind games. Lapping through and he was still out of sight and I was beginning to think he had pulled a fast one on me. The way this course was running I didn't really have too many spots to use my particular strengths and I was starting to worry that if I couldn't get him by the big early climb he would be able to stay in front on the washboard descents.
Sure enough as I rounded the slight corner on the climb I see Taylor topping out again about the same distance ahead of me as lap 1. And again as I got to the top he was nowhere to be seen. I knew I had to catch him in some of the slight climby terrain at the end of the lap to give myself some real estate to put some time into him before the descending started again. Luckily I finally rolled up on him towards the end of the second lap. Tried to keep the pressure on as much as I could to get some distance. Now I just had Pete and Mark in front of me so now it was time to just settle in and keep things moving. I was still worried about Taylor coming back in the fast chattery stuff though.
3rd lap was pretty uneventful, just more hot and fast suffering. 4th lap I was getting hilarious sloppy. My ability to hold a stable line was completely gone. Luckily I was able to keep things upright but I'm sure I was bleeding time that whole lap. It was lonely out there, because they started us with the Sports we were 5 mins behind everyone else doing 4 laps and everyone we started with stopped at 3. I have years of DFL practice though so it was no issue. Stopped the clock at about 1h45m a good 12m clear of Pete and about 6m off Mark for 3rd. Pretty pumped for a fairly legit podium but I think the one at Pinnacle I missed would have felt a bit better due to the larger field there. Unfortunately I missed the podium photo op because the promoters were so efficient they did awards probably within 5mins of the last few Expert/Elites coming in. Apparently I didn't even have enough time to change at my car. Just as I'm heading back up the hill I see Pete coming down with a huge thing of syrup and a slightly smaller thing of syrup....uh oh. I guess that's why they invented Photoshop right?
team photo stolen from Mark
Changing gears a bit now. SSUSA this coming weekend and then nothing official until the 100 in mid August. Time to start racking up the saddle time. Also probably going to get back in the gym doing more consistent interval stuff to try and peak again a bit heading into the Fall. YEEHAA.