I didn't even make it 5 laps before getting caught up in the first calamitous wreck of the race. Yep: the first. Nary a wreck in the whole day last year in the rain, but two in the Cat 4 race today.
Anyway I'd realized 2 laps in that the headwind on the front straight made for a dangerous accordion effect coming off turn 4, and was anxious to get out of the fray. I started moving up with my teammate, but found the overall pace made slow work of moving forward. I'd moved through half the group and was willing to sacrifice my strategy to get a bit of space.
Coming through turn 4 on the 5th lap, though, I heard the telltale sound of carbon braking and nervous people, saw a wheel go sideways to my left, and thought "this is going to take me with it". A quick glance right revealed someone was right on my shoulder, giving me no escape route. And then a wheel came under mine and it was done. I was skidding on the surface and checking my bike before it even stopped, protecting myself as best I could from getting run over.
The right shifter was cranked over at 45-degrees (shades of my cross-wreck!), my ribs were stinging, and my left leg said "just don't look". But the bike looked salvageable. Maybe the race could still be run.
Alastair was at my side by the time I was standing, and I sent him for tools and starting making my way to the pits when a marshal suggested maybe I ought to see a paramedic. I am sometimes pretty dumb and headstrong, but when someone suggests I ought to see the paramedic, I tend to listen. They probably know something I don't.
I spent the next 10 minutes getting a fair amount of road-rash cleaned, and in that time realized my ribs were pretty well crunched, and this time on the left side (to even out February's hit to the right!). Once I'd been cleared, I assessed the bike a little more thoroughly.
The frame, fork, and drivetrain were ok (woohoo!), but the brand new handlebar was trashed, along with one SpeedPlay pedal, both skewers, and oddly, the sidewall of the front tire. The front wheel is out of true, and I'd torn up a BOA closure on one shoe, as well.
After an expensive evening on all the parts sites, I think I'll be back racing for just under $400, assuming I can salvage a few months more use out of that one pedal (the axle is intact, but it cannot be greased as it lost the entire outer cover and grease port bolt).
I'm really happy I didn't hit my head again, but pretty pissed off to have put in all of training and effort to turn just shy of 5 laps. And now I understand why ladies say, "I shaved my legs for this?"