To be honest, Saturday afternoon I had already planted the seed in my brain about bagging out on the POC race. I rode only 2 hours or so during the week before, my training has really derailed over the past 2-3 weeks. I planned a ride time Saturday afternoon as a little leg opener, (I would depart from OMSI, where the family and some of the kids friends were taking in the dinosaur exhibit) and then it started raining and hailing like mad, and I basically wussed out.
So, Sunday morning comes and I eat like it's a race day (oatmeal & eggs, baby), pack my stuff and figure that I've pre-paid, so I better make a go of it. It's funny, because for 'cross racing I prefer crappy weather, yet here I am being a pansy over some rain for a road race. It's the race duration I guess, 45 minutes of freezing is OK, but 2+ hours?
I arrive at the Loomis parking lot to find JB, Frost, Reid, DeShaun, Csaba and Mike Mann all doing yoga after their races. Frost had the race won, until he found out he jumped off the front on the 2nd lap, instead of the 3rd (note: get that man a simple bike computer to display mileage;). In true Frost fashion though, he hung in and got back on after blowing himself up.
Mike Mann seemed to enjoy his first ever road race. He touched on the common theme that it's a more mental type of race than 'cross, and can be difficult to be assertive and confident in moving up through the field.
Csaba created a couple of gaps, though off the back instead of the front. TWO FLATS! Luckily he put in two front wheels to the "wheels in=wheels out" support car, and pulled a heroic effort in catching on to the group each time, and throwing down for a strong finish effort.
Reid raced a road race. The post race interview took place in the porta-john line. Reid said it was hard. The interview didn't get too much more than that. Chin up Reid, nobody said it was easy! You did fine.
Word is that there was mayhem and discontent in the 1/2 race, and also some frustration in the men's and women's cat 4 races. Thankfully, the race I was in (40+ cat 4/5) went pretty smooth. The race started with Pacific Blue Sky (or something, it's the new version of EWEB team) sending a guy off the front then obnoxiously blocking up the entire road for futile break. A few minutes later the logjam cleared and the break was caught. On the first lap, up on the levee, Dave got a reprimand for crossing the yellow line while we were moving up. I continued up and rode a good spot between 3rd and 12th for a while.
I mentally have trouble in holding up where I need to be, and found myself drifting back, and eventually surging back up towards the front. This was easy for the first two laps, but very difficult on the final lap. No breaks lasted more than 2 minutes, even the one that I jumped on for some stupid reason. Also, at this time the rain started turning to hail then snow, then back to hail. This was actually kind of cool and I had fun, a true spring classic atmosphere. My legs felt good, but Dave and I were now hopelessly back in the last 1/4 of the peloton. We moved up a little on the last 8 mile stretch and punched it after the last sharp left turn. John said we both jumped hard and picked up at least 20 places.
Dave finished around 28th, and I was 33rd. Lessons learned: Stay at the front, it's hard, but not as hard as yo-yoing at the back. Be (warning-rated R for language) mentally harder, and don't give up positions.
Final thoughts: We should all be proud of DeShaun! This is a great kid, who's putting in the effort and is really interested in the sport. Welcome, new road racers Mike, Csaba and Reid all had their first road race. JB, Paris, Csaba, Dave Wingard and family spent the whole day supporting the team with tents, food, rollers. THANK YOU! JB also did his OBRA duty by driving wheels and support for morning and afternoon races.