Since then, I've realized that it's getting more important that I get to venues 2-3 hours early so I can get a solid course preview, cheer on friends and loosen up my legs. I think part of the problem on day 1 was that I really didn't warm up at all and then went all out to stay near the front.
So for day 2 I had 2 strategies for success. First, arrive wicked early, (9:30 for a 12:30 race) and second, don't destroy myself early in the race just to bonk super hard.
After watching my friend Frances, take a nice 2nd place in the Women's 3/4, and teammate John take 2nd in one of the Masters (1/2/3) events, I asked the both of them for some tips on how to tackle the twisty course, John's advice, "Recover in the corners here , and stay on wheels with the heavy winds." Sounded simple enough, in fact pretty obvious, but I hadn't thought about it at all before. Usually the in race plan is: GO FAST UNTIL THEY SAY STOP.
So after a few more laps of the course and time to test the tips pre-race I headed over to the beer garden and catch up with Kate, who was back east for the Interbike event and the races. After a chat, I said I had to go and get my act together for my race at 12:30, her response,
"What, your not in the elite race?"
"No, what made you think that?"
"You've got white shoes."
(Looking PRO on Day 1, despite being off the back, Photo: Wheelworks)
Anyways, over to the tent, popped on the skinsuit and a few minutes on the trainer and off to the start I went. Got to word go and tried to get near the top 20 from way in the back. Of course, the first few turns were so tight that the 100+ cat3's bottleknecked and I had to run. Eventually, the field began to split up, I dropped the usual suspects and moved forward, eventually finding myself with Matt Aumiller, who was feeling ill, but is still usually well ahead of me. Passed him and found myself duking it out with a guy in a pink Zancanato Skinsuit, at which point I decided to sit on his wheel and enjoy the ride, which lasted 2.5 laps. Somewhere in there I was riding along when a friend (don't know who) screams "Steve, your shoes are more PRO than you are, quit sucking!" Highlight of the race.
Later on we caught up to Jackson (Embrocation) and I sat on his wheel for the rest of the race, knowing he's a Cat 2 roadie, he might be able to pull me closer to the front of the race. Tried to sprint around him at the end, only to be unable to get my chain on to my big ring, Final result: 40th. Yet another improvement on my Verge Cat 3 results.
(On the Hunt, Photo: Wheelworks)
However, the highlight of the day goes to Jeremy (who finished 23rd), crashing HARD on our cool down lap of Roger Williams park while trying to style out a speed bump. He tore up his jersey, bruised his left side and scraped up is left arm, it was pretty awesome.