Somewhere in the mess of seat cams and sliced tubulars I never really got around to writing up the race report. You might think to yourself "isn't 25 minutes of video enough of a race report?," which means you're new around here. We can easily supplement that with 1000 or so words! Plus, the seat cam doesn't actually give much perspective on what's happening to me, since as everyone knows the race is in front of you, not behind you.
If you watch the lap one video you'll hear a LOT of metal-on-metal slapping when I start, that's the sound of me missing the clip-in about 8 times and even slipping off the pedal once. That's why people started going around me. What happened was that they gave us the 15 second warning, then Ryan started yelling, I got distracted and then the whistle came super early. It was the least prepared I've ever been for a start... live and learn.
Anyway, once clipped-in I was in full afterburner/panic mode so I got back into the top 10 or so into the grass. The plan was to stay in the top 15 on lap one (a lot easier when you're starting on row 1!) so I tried to stay calm and ride as efficiently as possible, of course, that lead to losing some places as other, less-calm people went hammering by to the front.
Nevertheless I was hanging in around 10th when I tried to ride the sand in traffic on lap one, yeah, that was a great idea that cost me about 3 places. Luckily traffic was so dense that I just slipped back into line after than and stayed connected to the leaders in around 12th wheel.
The problem with being connected to the leaders in 12th place, in a race your only goal was "top 15," is that you are far too satisfied. Look at me, I'm only 5 seconds out of first! Hooray! 12th place is totally great!
Then you race for two more laps and suddenly realize that the elastic has snapped ahead of you, twice, and you are now in chase group 2. I need to take my own often-cheered advice of "move the F up" instead of playing the just-happy-to-be-here game on the back.
So that was that, I'm not manly enough to ride back into contention on a course like Gloucester so I was racing for 10th or so. Unbeknownst to me Colin Murphy was all over my wheel (yellow kit, if you watched the videos) so there was an incredible amount of fan "support" going to us since you couldn't really cheer for him without cheering for me. Even the guy who tried to cheer for Murphy by yelling "Go Holmes" was thwarted because that's my middle name, too.
Actually let's stop for a minute and think about this, Colin Murphy and I share the same first and middle names, neither of which are especially common. Does this creep anyone else out? No? Just me?
Back to the action. After five laps of enduring sufferation I had finally yo-yo'ed Colin off my wheel, and when Pat Goguen dropped his chain and dude-in-gray fell dismounting on the barriers I finally reached solo status. Ahead of me was Cat 2 road POWERHAUS Brian L so it was going to be an uphill battle to gain any more places.
With one to go I was still hanging five or more seconds off him so I went all out up the pavement, I was going so hard (or being so outwardly dramatic...) that Alex thought I was shaking my head at her when she cheered for me. I still wasn't on his wheel so I dug one more time on the grass climb before the seawall... closed the gap to one second or so... then, on the twisty descent, "that thing that happens to me occasionally," happened.
I choked on my own phlegm.
Maybe this is just my problem. Sometimes, when I'm a little sick, or it's cold (skiing), or dusty (Gloucester) I get a little phlegm going in the throat during intense aerobic efforts. And every once in a while, some of it gets sucked down my windpipe as I'm gasping for air and plugs it.
The leads to getting ZERO OXYGEN for a second, which is terrifying, and then having to breath even harder, which can lead to it happening again...
So I started choking and not being able to breath, which was scary as hell, and also made Brian look back and realize that I was in "a spot of bother" and made him attack me on the seawall. Which I thoroughly approve of, because this is cross, not a tea party, and you can be nice to each other afterward.
After getting some oxygen back to my brain I kind of lost the competitive edge for a bit, and by the time it was back the race was nearly over. I laid down an all out sprint for no apparent reason on the road at the end which was good enough to earn me the same time as Brian... but only because he sat up because he knew he had it.
The final result was 9th, due to two people in front of me breaking stuff (Guenther and Todd). Compared to last year's sufferfest just to make the top 45, I'm pretty satisfied.
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