Alrighty, so we're doing these in reverse chronological order because I have much less to say about the second race, but much more awesome seat cam footage ready to go, thanks to Jerry's ability to bang out workshopy stuff the way I bang out websites.
The new extra-steady seat cam is much improved. Check it out! All credit goes to Jerry, I just whined about my "cross gut" while he welded stuff.
As for the actual race, I had high hopes for slick carnage while listening to the rain overnight, but the course was disappointingly tacky by the time Elite Men hit the course at 3pm. The corners were kind of tricky but the defining feature was straight, bumpy false-flat climbs.
Last year I complained about this and then went out and got 2nd place anyway. Yeah, well, this year I have a UCI License, and thus I'm back to whining about power sections, and unlike last year it's for good reason. I was looking at Simon Lambert-Lemay's calves while I was trying to draft him and I think they are as big as my thighs.
Anyway! Race goes off, I'm in the fourth row out of 40+ starters, Ryan spends most of the holeshot screaming with glee and is never seen again after the first turn. I settle into the conga line in the mid-20s without incident.
The first excitement comes on the top field when there's a crash behind me, and then Nathaniel gets jacked sideways in the groove (if you raced, you know how dangerous the muddy groove was in traffic) and everyone breaks rank trying to avoid him. The disgust on his face when's he's caught behind me on the next turn as we bottleneck is priceless. Yeah, being at the back with scrubs like me sucks, huh?
The switchbacky descent was fun, although I couldn't pass anyone on it. I am still somewhat intimidated by the "elites" and thus I let people get away with taking lines that a more... Myerson-ish... rider would jump all over. Ah well. I'm hoping Cary upgrades soon so I'll have someone I actually want to elbow in the pack.
Now where was I? I made some sweet moves on the BMX track to get some places and zero sweet moves anywhere else on the course. I was in the thick of the biggest group on the course, killing myself to try to get across to a group of 5 or 6 with Pete Smith ahead, while there was another train of 6 or 7 behind me. I was not bored, which you can't take for granted on a course this lame*.
Anyway, the pain factor was high as usual, but I was certainly planning on trying to keep it going for sixty minutes. Planning being the operative word. When I realized I had a softening rear tire near the end of lap 2 (on Linnea's brand new Fangos! dammit!), the prospect of my fifth mechanical in four races broke my spirit.
I successfully managed to avoid doing the emo-bike-throw or emo-crying-on-the-handlebars, but I did decide to drop out instead of go get my pit bike. I regretted it about 60 minutes later, good thing it's only six days until Gloucester!
* - I mean, I'll race anything you put in front of me, but I don't see the point of making a 10 minute lap that's mostly on the backside of a hill. Worst spectator course ever.