Distance: 28 laps (~27 miles)
Time: ~1:00With the dissolution of our coordinated Masters 1/2/3 plans I decided to not take the time off work on Thur/Fri and instead just race with the E3 youngsters on Sat/Sun. Today 50+ guys lined up for a 10:20 start and it was a good mix of true youngsters (lots of Bear Development and others) and some seasoned veterans.
To sum it up, this was one of the better Cat 3 races I have done. Bear and one other team kept the pace generally high with a nonstop series of attacks and counter attacks. I was focused on riding comfortably in the pack and saving everything for the finish. Fast forward to 3 to go – we came through the 2nd to last corner on the course and I was really squeezed on the inside. I got pushed across the sidewalk at the corner and my right clip came out. So as the pack surged past me I spent 10 seconds trying to get back in and squared away. Finally we came onto the finish straight and I was trailing the pack by about 15 feet. I was on the verge of just pulling up and throwing in the towel but for some reason I dug in and got attached again. 2 to go and as we came through the back side of the course I found a lull and spent some more energy to move back up the outside to 10th or so. Coming through the finish with 1 to go I was in good position and as we hit the back side the pack lulled again and I saw a Strava guy attack hard on the far side of the pack. I had inside line for the next corner and jumped hard to fall right onto his wheel for the back stretch. So as we came though the final few corners I was second wheel – not ideal but better than 10 back. Then on the small straight just before the final corner THERE WAS A CRASH behind me.
So despite it being earlier than I wanted in opened up the throttle 20 meters before the last corner. I got to choose my line though the last and opened up my sprint at the very bottom of a LONG finish straight. I looked under my arm once to see that I had a good gap but the front of the a chasers was digging hard to close. As we came into the finish I started to fade due to the 300M sprint and at the line 2 surged past. The winner (Specialized/Muscle Milk) and one guy from Sapporo/Leopard wheeled me at the line. But I am happy with 3rd given the drama in the last couple and having to open the sprint from the front.
Thanks Corey for the race report. Corey is now added to the Hall of Fame.