It was pouring rain as we drove down 580. Dennis was a mobile weather channel, showing Joe and I different live radars on his phone. All I saw was green and yellow on the radar. However, Dennis kept pointing at Snelling, "Maybe just a few light showers". Dennis was right on the money. There were just a few very light showers as we arrived at the race. It was actually very scenic; rolling hills with all the nut trees in full blossom.
Parked right at the barn where reg. was...got our numbers and started to warm-up. Lining up at the start, it looked like it was going to start dumping any second. It was a fairly big field, with all the major teams having a very large presence. Joe, Dennis and I lined-up towards the front. The start went off without a hitch.
The course is a loop thru rolling hills. At the beginning of the race, we were greeted with some rain and numerous ambulances and emergency vehicles positioned at large crashed from the previous races. I positioned my self up front in our group and Joe came up to join me. Dennis was playing it cool, behind us trying to stay out of the wind.
I usually don't get too rattled in races, but things were sketchy for me up front. Large groups coming up from the sides and attacking, were throwing me back about 30 wheels. I would have to go out into the wind and move back up to the front on numerous occasions. Lots of people
bumping into each other and sliding on the reflectors on the double yellow center lines. A goober in front of me spasmed and drove into my front wheel. Had some applause for keeping it upright. Tons of attempted breaks, but the larger teams were shutting everything down... I knew nothing was going to stick.
The last lap was fast. There are some small power hills on the last five miles of the course. I was looking for Jon Ornstil & jan from VOS to break on these hills, since they were up front doing lots of attacks, but they drifted back. I stayed fourth to six wheel over the hills and had great positioning at the 1 km sign. Just a small little hill and a slight downhill and then flat to the line. I new that a Safeway sprinter at the front was the wheel to take at the sprint. However, Wells Fargo and others came up strong along the sides. I was stuck behind a bad wheel and I was not focussed enough to try to squeeze thru tight gaps to get on a good wheel. I ended up 12th across
the line, with Dennis and Joe close behind. Still had tons of fun. I'll definitely do this one again.