Monday I rode 50+ miles at a pretty decent pace, all on the commute bike. I dealt with asshole drivers and was directly threatened, which was cute. But I was spent on Tuesday, going into the race. I even went so far as to start selling excuses about upcoming vacations and risk aversion and all sorts of dumb.
And when I got to the starting grid, all the usual fast guys were right up there in the front.
But last week there were wrecks, and those wrecks were NOT at the front. So all that talk about being risk-averse meant it would actually be pretty dumb to fall to the back.
So with no cogent plan and sore legs, I rolled off with the group and battled to stay in the top 10 for several laps.
About 8 laps into the race, I thought my legs were giving up, and they rang the second prime. One dude went for it on the back straight, and coming around the last turn, nobody jumped to follow him. With a pretty sizable gap to make up and no real sense of where the start/finish line is, I figured if I was going to flame out it might as well be for a prime. So I pinned it and shot off the front.
As soon as I could make out the start/finish line, I knew it was going to be close, but I just gunned it harder, shifted, and blew past the guy with about 3 bike-lengths to spare.
And for the next 1/3 of a lap, nobody caught up. I figured I was done, but instead I got a nice little rest off the front, and when they did pass, I was just able to hang on.
As the laps wore down, I started to feel like maybe I could actually go the distance, but I had a new problem: my fingers--all of them--were numb. By lap 13 (of 15), I had to look down at my hands to shift. And because the rise into the final turn requires 2 down-shifts, it was costing me valuable time and position.
In the final lap I just couldn't find an opening to get out to the front, and the shifting struggles were overwhelming, and I let off a bit coming into the final turn. 10 bikes were ahead, but two riders didn't look strong. I gave it one final go and picked both off, finishing 8th for the night.
My prime winnings turned out to be $15 cash, so obviously this whole bike thing is going to start paying for itself: only a few thousand dollars more, and I'll break even! And while 8th wasn't what I wanted, it's pretty consistent with my last two 7th place finishes.
The rest of the team finished well in the pack, with DR just a couple of spots behind me.