Another week and another trip over to Sequim. This time Denise and I decided to head over in the RV Friday afternoon so we could camp out and NOT have to get up at the crack of dawn. As we drove off the ferry we were met with another down pour. It rained all night and I figured we would be racing in the rain Saturday morning. When we woke up it was clear out but frickin' cold. I'll take that over rain any day. Even though we went over the night before we arrived at the lot about 45 minutes later then last week. Whoops! I soon realized that I had to really hurry to get registered, dressed and warmed up. I ended up only getting about 15 minutes of warm up before the race. Oh well, I had 72 miles to warm up.
Our field was a lot bigger this week and it was stacked with strong racers. I'm not a specialist in the long, straight, fast finishes so once again my goal was to try to get in a break. Sure enough the attacks started going as soon as the officials horn sounded. Mark and I took turns going with any attack that started. Many were attempted, none stuck. By the end of the first lap we were still all together but things were about to change. I went with an attack I thought might have a chance. There were three of us out there but only two of us were working. I was hoping for someone else to bridge but after a few minutes we got gobbled up. That is when Murphy's Law kicked in. The one move I decided not to go so I could take a brief rest was the one that got away. Things were happening so fast I'm not even sure when Chandler and Ryan G. got clear. They are both really strong but I don't think anyone thought they could stay away that long on their own. Both their teams did a great job of keeping them off the front.
Each lap their gap would increase to over a minute and then drop back to 35 seconds or so. We could see them up the road and I think we all thought we could bring them back. The attacks kept mounting but with Audi and Farestart doing their best to disrupt things nothing ever stuck. By the time we started the final lap I still thought we had a chance to catch them. I kept going on attacks in hopes of bringing them back. By the time we reached the half way point of lap six I knew they had it. Now it was time to get in position for the best of the rest finish. Mark, Vern and I were all up near the front and we intended on keeping it that way. I slotted up near Vern and asked him how he was feeling. He told me he was doing great. I didn't think I would have the legs to contest for the finish so Vern and I talked about setting up a lead out for Mark. As we came into the final turn it started to get a little sketchy. Shoulders and tires were touching but everyone kept their cool. I was sitting up in the front row, holding the center line. At about 300 meters made my move. I was going to go as hard as I could for as long as I could. Hopefully Vern and Mark were slotted in right on my wheel. Apparently Dave H. from Farestart was right behind me and was not about to give that position up. With about 100m to go I was gassed and done. I move to my right and saw both Dave and Mark fly by me. Yeah!! Mark was firing on all cylinders when all of a sudden I saw him and Dave touch wheels. I thought at least one of them were going to hit the deck. There would be no avoiding it. They stayed upright and a half a second later someone came into my rear wheel. I kept my cool and stayed up. My momentum was gone and I just shut it down. Mark came across third in the sprint and fifth overall. I coasted across the line in 19th and just was happy to stay upright, help deliver Mark to the finish and be able to race next week. Congrats both Ryan Gist for winning the race with an incredible two man breakaway with Chandler Leach.
After the morning races we dug out the grill and hung out for the afternoon races. Best part of the day was when Brian had a brat before his race and then pulled out the victory!!
Photos 1-3 by Denise Phillips
Photo #4 by Teresa Harding