The race starts down in Brady, WA, viewing distance from the old Satsop nuke site. When we were about 15 minutes away I got a text from my wife asking if I'd forgotten anything. "No", I replied and wondered what was up. Then I got this photo on the left. Mutha F$#k*r!!
I don't think I've ever left my numbers or jersey at home before. I'm glad she let me know or I would have ripped the whole car apart looking for it. After plenty of ribbing from my teammate Mark found a spare jersey in his bag for me to use. I wear a medium and if you know Mark you know my noodle arms would not do this thing justice. Dave, always thinking of his teammates even crafted me a nice new number for me to use. The officials got a laugh out of it but told me to run in and grab a rental. Damn, I missed the Cat 5 race.
I stepped out of the car with my baggy jersey and yellow rental wondering what else could possibly go wrong..........Then it started to rain.....and the wind picked up. I jumped back into the car and grabbed more gear. I didn't come back out until it was time for us to stage. I figured I'd have plenty of time to warm up during a 90 miles race.....Right?
Lang, Joe, Zach and I rolled to line for the start of the Pro/1/2 race. HSP, Audi and Bikesale were all well represented. The course an 18 mile loop that is mainly flat with a few rollers. There is on short kicker not far from the finish that lead to a gnarly little hairpin downhill about 2k from the finish that can get really fun when wet. Oh yeah, it's wet!! Here we go.
We rolled out neutral and pretty much as soon as we were let go there was an attack. I think there were eight in this initial group. It three from HSP, two from Bikesale, one from Apex, one from Olypic Ortho and two from Garage(Lang and Joe). It was a good mix from all the big teams with the notable exception of Audi. There were several counter attacks and I jumped on one that got a small gap. I figured with all the HSP guys up there Lang and Joe could use some help. We were brought back and I went with one more unsuccessful attack. Mind you, this is all happening during the first couple of miles. I'm not sure when it happened but at one point Dave and Brian form HSP along with Ian from HB jumped and got a gap. I wanted to jump with them but I really didn't think Audi would let them get too far, but........They started to disappear up the road and pretty soon Audi did get all their guys to the front and started to put in a big effort. Sweet, Zach and I just sat in and enjoyed the ride. The gap wasn't that big and I really thought since we still had 80 something miles to go that they would eventually get pulled back.. No one else from teams not represented in the break really came up to help the Audi guys. They were doing all the work for the next three laps. I think they got the gap down to around two minutes at one point but that was it. I think on lap 4 a few guys did come up and help some.
It had been wet and a little cold the whole race and when we got near the end of lap 4 kind of hoping everyone would do a group "let's bag this thing" and pull into the lot. A bunch of guys did but a few attacked through the finish so I decided to stay for the fun.
Our last lap was pretty nuts. There were constant attacks by HSP and a few others. After 80+ miles of racing I was still feeling good and I was NOT about to let a 2nd break get up the road. Zach and I both jumped responded to everything. There were a few times when I thought we'd get away but by the time we reached the final kicker we were all together. All I knew was that I wanted to be at the front when we reached the downhill section so I could pick my own line at my own pace. I think it was Will(HSP) who jumped first and I was the first to jump on. When we reached the false flat I looked back and I think I was in a group of about seven. We hit the gas and pushed as hard a we could. We reached the downhill and I was sitting 2nd wheel. We made it through the hairpin with no issues. but just as we were coming out of it Will lost traction and went down. SHIIIIIIIT!! Lucky for me the wet pavement caused him to slide and I avoided hitting him. I came into the homestretch sitting 1st wheel. Oh, don't get too excited. Need I remind you that this was for 11th place. I put my head down and started to drive. The wind was in our faces and I finally let someone else come to the front. I think it was Tony(Bikesale) that put it in overdrive to make sure rest of the pack didn't catch us. At the fake 200m mark it was game on and I was just edged out by Lonny(Novo Nordisk) and Rich(HB) and ended up 13th.....How exciting!!
Ten guys finished in front of us with Dustin(HSP) taking the win. Ian(HB) was just 3 seconds back followed by Lang. Then the gaps went all the way up to 2:50. It must have been crazy. Joe ended up 7th and I was super happy with our teams effort.