So, I decided to do this race because it's basically in my back yard and have done these roads a lot. For the most part, the course (really a circuit race) fit my abilities. I knew the climb would be tough, but if I could pack slide...I'd be fine.
The race started off well enough and I was able to hold position through the first lap to the climb, which was good given the narrow roads.
When we hit the climb I was able to hold my own and actually make up some ground near the top. Over the top with the full road open I was able to move up to the front of the pack, where I wanted to be.
At this point, I was able to cover attacks, do some pulling and be in great shape for the next time up the climb...or so I thought.
Heading into the sharp left hand turn I was on the far left (inside) of the turn, which should have been good position for the climb. The just ahead and to my right a couple riders rubbed wheels which caused chaos in the field. Everybody moved to the left, which was toward me. The next thing I know riders are cascading toward me and one completely cuts me off causing me to come to a complete stop.
During this stop other riders were able to get around the outside of the road and continue up the hill.
By the time I got moving I had lost approximately 20 seconds and not being a climber...wasn't going to make up any ground. Over the top, the main group hit it pretty hard and by the time I got to the top I was a good 40-50 seconds back.
Given that I know the roads well...I went into TT chase mode and hammered trying to catch back on. I could see I was slowly gaining ground on the pack and caught back up to them with a little over a mile to go before we hit the climb for the 3rd time. The chase took about 11 minutes and I averaged 350 watts to latch back on (averaging 22.8 mph).
When we hit the hill, I thought I was OK, but could tell my legs were starting to tie up and since I was already in the back, I couldn't pack slide. I ended up losing the pack with about 300 meters to go before the top of the climb and ended up dropping about 30 seconds behind.
I kept chasing the pack hoping to latch on again...but just couldn't quite pull them in on the 4th lap and lost them once they hit the climb. This chase I averaged right at 310 watts (averaging 21.6 mph).
At this point, I just wanted to finish the race and hopefully pick off other riders that were dropped off the main field during the race. Over time, I did pick off a few riders and worked together with another on lap #7 (of 8), which helped finish the race a little quicker.
In the end, I got in a lot more TT work and aside from the stoppage on the climb had a good race. I ended up 29th out of 35 I think, so not all was lost.
This weekend is the first of two State Championship Road Races (they have a category race and an age bracketed race). I'll be competing in the CAT 3 40+ category and the course looks to suit my abilities well...so we will see if I can finally pick up some luck in a road race and get a good race/finish in.