For the second race in a row I thought it would be cool to show up so late that I wouldn't warm up at all. Well, that wasn't my plan actually, but that is what happened. I got to the parking lot 20 minutes before post time. Allowing just enough time to register, change into my kit, get my bike ready, have Maciej move my number to the left side, and do one lap before we lined up. Oh, and did I forget to mention that it started to rain steadily about five minutes before I got to the parking lot? Good thing I brought the right bike this time.
I had another good start without having to work too hard at it. Tyson took the hole, then Maciej, then me with a train of a few guys behind us. That was the order for most of the first lap. Tyson was probably taking a few more risks in the corners than Maciej and I and so he had a pretty good gap already after the first lap. I was feeling alright and actually got in front of Maciej to pull for a while. I slowed up a bit thinking Maciej would come around to pull but Chris attacked. Maciej matched his jump, I however was unable to after the pulling effort.
Angry Andy pulled in front of me as well then, but I was able to stay on his wheel. That is until a tricky fast downhill into an off camber 180 uphill turn took Andy out. I safely navigated around him, but that gave Chris and Maciej an even bigger gap.
It was shortly after that, about 3 or 4 laps in, that I had my usual "I can't keep this up" mental break. I believe this is when one rider got in front of me and I stuck to his wheel until the 45+ winner came by us. I was riding with them until a lapped rider got between us and I didn't put in a big effort to catch them. Then Mike caught and passed me and I pulled my head out of the fog and hit it again. Mike wasn't far ahead when he made his own mental mistake and went off course on a big ol' off camber downhill turn. I passed him and made sure he wasn't going to catch up without some big efforts.
Chad was on a mission and caught me but I wasn't letting him go until a lapped rider pushed me into the tape right before the run up and then proceeded to stay in my way until I could out run him. Chad was gone.
That was the way it stayed for a while. I saw Andy slowly catching me. He was riding one section faster than me. The last lap he caught me but I had plenty to stay on his wheel. I was content and even a little excited to let him pull me to the line and then see what would happen. Then in the last slow techy corner my foot pulled out of my pedal which caused me to drop my chain down into the small ring. It took a few strokes to get it back up (in retrospect I should have just switched gears in back) and Andy had 10 meters on me that he kept until the end.
The race was great and I feel like I actually raced this time, not just survived. Racing into shape appears to be working. A couple more and my excuses will be even more unfounded.
Due to my tardiness, there was no Clutch Corner this week. I will be looking for a good spot to set it up at this weekend.
That's my foot next to it for a size reference.