It's taken me almost a month to get this one written up. The main reason is that I went on vacation for two weeks to catch Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and drink lots of Belgian beer the day after Sequim # 2. I also think that every time I thought about writing something I got a cold chill until I turned my laptop off. Anyway...
I drove over the day before and got there in time to take a couple of laps around the course. It was cool but still dry. During the ride all I thought about was how miserable I was last year at Sequim #2 and told myself I would drop out this year if the weather was anything close. I had my fingers crossed but the weather report showed that it should start raining right about the time my race was getting under way.
It rained some overnight but was dry when I made the mile long trek over to the race venue. We share this series with Audi and I had to work one of the corners for the early races. "Please don't rain, please don't rain!" For the most part it was dry but did start to drizzle just as Cat 3 field came by for the time. We only had an hour before our race so we hustled back to the lot to get ready. Thank God I brought the RV. Just after we drove into the lot it started to rain. The wind picked up and was blowing hard. Cat 5 tents were getting blown apart. This was going to be another F'ing epic race. Our warm up consisted of sitting in the RV with the heat cranked. I actually exited with only two minutes before the Pro/1/2 field was to roll out. I told myself I'd at least to two of the six laps before dropping out.
Unlike last year when it started out nice and then got shitty there was no hiding what was going on. At least I came to the line dressed for the occasion. I was ready for winter riding conditions. I looked over the field and could only find two other teammates (Steve and Zach) in the Pro/1/2 field. It turned out that many guys made the smart decision to not even start this thing. I almost wanted to sneak out of the line. Oh, well, off we go for 72 miles of fun.
The speeds from the start were insane (mainly from 40 mph sustained tail wind). The magnitude of the wind was fully realized when we made our first trip down the hill after turn one. With the speeds and deep dish wheels the side wind was a force to be reckoned with. Just trying to keep from getting blown into someone was the main focus here. At the end of the downhill section we made a hard right and to me this one of the toughest sections on the course. The speeds immediately jumped up to over 35mph and if you didn't get on a wheel you had to really push to make contact. I don't know if anyone got dropped here but after that I always made sure I was near the front at this corner.
I don't even remember when the first (and final) break got free. It was early and none of us made it on. Since we were an army of three and the weather was so shitty I didn't really care about helping to pull them back in. I think initially there were nine guys in the break and three of them were from HSP. Things were looking good for them. We made the next right hand turn that led to the long five or six mile straight section that was dead on into the wind. We were just a huddled mass of riders going about 15mph. It seemed to take forever to get to the end of that road. When we did finally get there we took another hard right that was about 1.5K from the finish. At first it wasn't too bad but as we neared the finish the trees disappeared and the side wind hit us full on. It was ridiculous. I think I was riding at a 45 degree angle and was fighting the bike the whole time. How would anyone be able to do a proper sprint in this shit??
Through the finish and on to lap two. The weather was a crappy as it could get but I was still somewhat warm and dry. Bikesale had a ton of guys in the field and they came to the front but I'm not sure if they were really putting in an effort to chase the break down because the speeds didn't really pick up. Again, I didn't really give a crap.
Blah, blah, blah and we now have two laps to go. It looked like the break was definitely going to stick. Once that was realized the attacks started again. The rain had stopped and the sun came out but wet clothes and driving cold wind isn't a good combo. I was f'ing cold. Time to pack it in at the end of this lap. I'm not going to go through the same hell as last year.
For some reason I found myself forging for the final 2 laps. As we sped by the parking lot I took a look back and it was the same as last year. Over half the field was gone. What the hell am I doing??
I think it was Brian (HSP) who got things going. I was finally started to feel the affects of the weather and decided to go with them just to so I could try to stay warm. We stayed out for a bit but were brought back. Another group jumped and I went and but it was short lived. This kept happening and finally Brian and a few others jumped again (I think somewhere near the start of the final lap???) and I didn't go. As soon as they got a gap that looked serious a couple of Apex guys tried to bridge. I jumped with Kevin(2nd Accent) and the four of us made chase. We almost hooked up when our group exploded and there were only two of us left. FAIL!!! We finally sat up and eased back into the field. I watched the group slowly disappear down the road. Now there were racing for who know what place?? Fun times.
I'm not sure how many of us were left in the main pack but it was not a large group. We actually slowed to a crawl and just started talking. We were content to just finish this off and go home. That was until Joe(Bikesale) decided to attack with about 3K to go. Bill from Apex jumped on and they took off followed by my teammate Steve. I could have just let them go but for some reason I got out of the saddle and pulled Ryan(DSH) up to them. Now we were doing a stupid five man, non significant, full on sprint to the finish. Woo, hoo!! I crossed the line and ended up 16th. I was surprised the 2nd break almost caught the leaders before the line. Another epic race where only 28 of the original 61 finished the race.