What can I say that hasn’t been said? Crashes. Flats. Dust, dirt, and ridiculous pollen count. Heat. Lost water bottles, dehydration, and cramping. This didn’t all happen to me, but most everyone dealt with some or most of these things during the race. When a race starts with 70+ and ends with 30 it is a tough day. For myself, the worst that happened was that the bottom tab of my bottle cage that holds the base of the bottle sheared off after hitting a pothole on the dirt section. Amazingly, the tenacious water bottle held on until I realized what had happened when reaching down to grab it for a swig. So no complaints from me on that front. We had 2 guys (and 1 woman) on our team crash. Ian and Amanda both went to the hospital to have their deep wounds taken care of. We had 1 flat and several more guys caught behind the “big” wreck on the 2nd lap that split the field. Fife went down on lap 3 going into the dirt, but dug deep to catch back on. A the end, Bike Doctor finished with 3 guys. Ouch.
The race wasn’t particularly aggressive, we just lost guys through attrition from the above factors. An attack at the end of lap 4 went up the road. Several us tried to bridge and got a gap. I hoped this was the moment when the field would finally crack. It wasn’t to be and it came back together. However, a young gun from Coppi stayed away and another rider jumped to bridge. That was the move. I didn’t recognize it at the time, unfortunately. I thought it would be chased down, but other than myself and several others, including 2 guys from Route 1 Velo, no one worked. As one of the guys from Route 1 put it, “I guess the pack is ok with racing for 3rd place”. And so it was. I can’t blame them. Well, yes I can, but racing is racing and some are willing to play what they’ve got left. Figuring I finished 18th, it means the 16 guys who blew by me with 200 meters to go played the better hand.
Hind sight being a wonderful thing, I should have tried getting away that last lap – even it it meant blowing up. But oh well. Another lesson learned. Seems like I am a bit slow, cause I’ve made this mistake of hoping people would help me late in the race to pull something back and wasted too much energy before.
I suppose I’m like an old dog, I still hang onto my mountain biker mentality of just riding hard and pushing tactics to the side. This works well in cyclocross too. Road racing…not so much.
Like George Hincapie and his classics campaigns, I have a love-hate relationship with Poolesville. I think she’s trying to break up with me.
Some great stories to read from the race – they are always both amusing and sad.