It was time to head up to Bellingham to go medal hunting and we couldn't have asked for better weather. There were five of us in our field (45-49) and before warming up we discussed race tactics. Jason was sitting high in the Master's BARR competition so we hoped to find a way to get him the points needed to move him up the ladder. The rest of us were going to take turns attacking and if the whole group was together at the end we'd try to setup Mark for the sprint.
The course is right near the heart of downtown Bellingham. It's about 1K long with three corners. Corner one, which is the point of the triangle seems like it would be really tight but the road is wide and it's actually not to bad. After a long straightaway in a headwind, corner two is pretty tight with a couple of bumps near the entrance. Corner 3 flows back to the long runout to the start/finish. Getting a good line through on the last lap is key. We were racing for 40 minutes.
We had a good sized field and we were hoping to keep the pressure on the whole race and hoped to tire out some of the sprint specialist. I think everyone on the team was off the front multiple times during the race but the wind on the backside helped keep the breaks in check. After a while it looked like it was going to come down to a mass sprint. Mark had been sitting in for most of the race, keeping an eye on guys like Jim(KR) and Aaron(Peterson). With nine to go he was near me at the front and I told him hold his spot and not drift back. We were all together to start the lap when Richie (Starbucks) launched off the front to get thing going. As soon as we reached turn one Todd took off hard and really strung out the pack. This was good. I was sitting right on Aaron's wheel and was content to just try to follow his wheel to the line. All of a sudden Mark came shooting by on my left with Jim(KR) right on his wheel. They were flying! I moved over to position my self behind Jim. We started passing everyone else and it was looking like Mark was going to be the first one through turn two. I was thinking to myself, "This is the top three right here!" Todd, who was going to be racing again in the 1/2 field did his job and decided not to mix it up in the finish sprint. He sat up and moved to the left. He was not in the way but I think it caused Mark to pause for just a split second. The rest of the guys on our right pulled even and Jim decided he needed to be on Aaron's wheel if he wanted a chance. The incedental elbow banging started and I think Mark touched wheels with Brad. We had to slow just a bit and that was it. Aaron came through turn three first and that is how he finished. Jim and Warren (Bikesale) rounded out the podium with Mark and I finishing 5th and 6th. It was a great crit on a great day.