This was an unplanned race, however Team Oregon was having their training camp this weekend, which I really wanted to attend...but my wife had to be out of town (Seattle) for work and I had some important meetings on Friday that I had to attend...so I skipped out on the camp.
With that in mind there was no group ride this weekend with the team out of town and I wanted a good hard ride this weekend so I decided to go race. Hagg lake is located about 20 minutes from where I live. I've done this race in the past and clockwise have done well, counterclockwise not so well. This year due to road conditions (i.e. lots of asphalt erosion) all races were in the counterclockwise direction.
I wasn't planning on racing any of these races knowing the direction...but, it was a good opportunity to race, get in a good workout and see where I'm at with the field knowing I still need to drop about 10-12 pounds (I'm down to 200 now).
The other aspect this year was they added a lap to the masters field (5 laps now) and lowered the age from 40+ to 35+ which brought more people to the race. As it turns out it was the largest field of the day with 42 people racing.
Most of the course I am fine on because the hills are not too steep and I can draft up most of them to stay with the field...but there are two hills on the course I struggle with in this direction. One is called "The Wall" which is about 150 feet of vertical climbing over a .25 mile distance and averages around 9%...the other is the finishing hill which isn't as long, but is about as steep.
To stay with the pack I was doing the "Pack Slide" through the entire race on those climbs...working my way to the front before the climb then drifting back. I almost lost touch with the field on the 3rd lap but was able to TT my way back on when the climb leveled off a bunch. The 4th and 5th laps I didn't have any problem hanging on to the back as I think people were getting tired.
With about 3 miles to go the field started getting "Sketchy" and people started bumping more and rubbing tires...which told me people were tired.
Knowing I wasn't going to be able to contend on the finishing hill which would have been for 5th or 6th place as a group of 4 - 5 got off the front on the 3rd lap...I drifted back and let the pack go since I had accomplished what I wanted...Not get dropped! I ended up 37th out of 42 but was with the pack at the end of the race. Out of the 42 that entered with at least half the field being CAT 1/2 racers, Pro MTB'ers or former Pro Road Cyclists...so I felt good overall especially knowing I have weight to lose.
The other part of the race was I got to play with my new toy...I purchased a Garmin 500 computer! I've wanted one for a while not and decided...I'm just going to purchase the thing and enjoy it :) It's chalked full of features and uploading my data onto STRAVA and seeing how I compare to others in the "Competition" areas is fun.
Overall a good day of racing and what I needed this weekend...next race up is the PIR ITT.