The morning started out quite nice with the sun rising above the clouds over Silver Lake. Tents were going up in the quiet of the morning as people woke up to realize they were doing a bike race today on one of the harder courses in the series.
It turns out the course may have been slightly easier than in years past. For example, last year there was a series of hairpin turns through the grass before heading up the hill towards the water tower.
In other years there was a set of barriers in the middle of a sand pit, just before a right hand turn uphill.
There was none of those shenanigans this year. The run up was rideable in warmup, and nearly rideable in the race. On the first lap I made it nearly to the top before stalling out. In the rest of the laps I did what everyone else did and ran it.
My strategy for the day was to stick to the standard plan: go hard on the first lap, settle in for the middle laps, and hammer the last lap. That tended to work out okay as I managed 8th of 20 in the Clydesdales (with 9 DNFs) but I may have been able to do a little better if I had chosen better moves to go with other riders.
I’m working on the strategy of picking one guy that seems at about my ability and following him through the race. I’ll need to modify that and try to watch what’s going on further ahead. In this race, by just following the guy in front of me we let a gap get too large and lost any chance of being with the front group.
Although, with 9 DNFs out of 20 dudes, maybe we were the front group and everyone else didn’t get the chance to finish.