This was my straight Cat3 race (Blunt Park was 3/4), so I was anxious to see how I'd fare with the big kids.
The course was as Doug described: lots of "up," punctuated by some downhills with sweeping corners. The lack of anything technical was a little boring, but good for the day because BOB was late getting started, then tried to get things back on time by cutting out the pre-ride period between races. So I was only able to preride 1/2 the course by sneaking on during one of the other races (there were not many guys, so the course marshalls told me to).
No Cxresults points used for staging, so it was sort of a cluster at the start, but I got on the front row. It'll probably be a while before I see that again. Had an OK start - not great, but enough to be in the first few guys - heading into the uphill, which I had not preridden before. On the first really steep turn, which I suspect most of us didn't know was coming, the first guy slowed dramatically, causing the guy in front of me to touch his wheel and have to unclip. I tried to get around, but got bumped and had to unclip, then had a guy fall onto my bike from behind me, so I had to wait for him to get up. Once we'd untangled from that clusterf---, I was now about third from last. OK, lets do this!
So I rode pretty well, passing at least some guys, but as the race went on, the spaces in between people got bigger and bigger. I ended up on Tim Durrin's wheel, who I know primarily as one of Chris Pare's nemeses. So it couldn't be THAT bad. Except that it became clear after a while that he was on a lousy day. I came around as he was starting to slow, as there was a guy behind us slowly gaining. I think when I did, Durrin realized that it wasn't Chris with him, but some scrub from Chris' team
, and he suddenly kicked it into gear at the top of the hill (after letting me lead up that section - rookie mistake!).
I then had a minor breakdown that was half a "physiological" and half a "mental." The guy behind us (now me) caught me the next time up the hill, and I couldn't hold his wheel, but I managed to get things together in the end to finish 17th of 30 starters (24 finishers). Nothing fabulous, but I did beat the race predictor, and that was a friggin' hard course.