by Matt Werner
Had a good race. My focus was on staying with the lead group over the climb, and I accomplished that for the first time (small steps). Also focused on pack position and conserving energy. I followed wheels to move up, got lower on the bike when I felt the wind on me, and tried to use momentum to my advantage whenever possible. I also kept an eye on teammates Joe and Miles, and how they were positioning.
Made a tactical error at the neutral water feed. Heat was an issue, and my brain felt like it was about to ooze out my ear holes by the top of the climb. Decided to grab 2 water bottles, 1 for my belly, 1 for my head. My head appreciated this, but it meant I got gapped in the process. I put the hammer down in a do-or-die effort to regain. Then I heard a guy on my wheel telling me to close the gap. Sorry, but I'm not your mule. Stopped pedaling and twitched my elbow for the guy to come around. Two came around, and I used their draft, just barely, to get back on. The fast descent provided a welcome breeze, which combined with the water I had poured over my head, allowed my brain to shrink down to a containable size.
Coming into the finish we were 24 guys with no one getting away. I had heard Miles talking before the race about not wanting it to come down to a sprint, so I pulled alongside him and suggested that he get on my wheel, and at 1K to go I would try to launch him out of the pack. At 1K I went, Miles on my wheel. I went as smooth and ramped it up as hard as I could, but when Miles went by me the pack was pretty much right on him. I was gassed at that point and rolled in for 24th. Miles was top 5, Joe top 10.
When we got in Joe's car for the ride home it was 110F. Probably closer to 100F in the shade.
Congrats to Michele and Amy and Thad for podium placings in their respective races.