13 out of 39
This is the hands down the hardest race I have done this year. It very quickly became what can only be called a war of attrition. The course was probably 95% gravel and broken concrete. The break happened early, and I was nowhere near the front when it happened (typical). The lead group was within view for the first two laps. What happened after that I don’t know. I had two people with me, they had close to ten. You can do the math. We spent the rest of the race chasing.
What did I learn from this race? I learned that my bike handling skills SUCK! I guess I’ll have to get out and ride more gravel. Darn. On the second lap I was going up the one short gravel kicker when I lost my line, rode through a ditch and the tall grass. I got lucky and didn’t crash. On the second to last lap I almost crashed into a fence. There was one part of the course that pointed out all my handling inadequacies. This was a short, loose gravel downhill which connected to a small batch of pavement.
For each of my trips down this hill I felt out of control, went way wide and had to scrub all of my speed, almost crash into the barriers, then stand up and hammer to catch back on to my companions.
I was working with two guys I know and like riding with and we slowly started to pick off more people. We managed to catch a few guys, but most of the places we gained came from those who got flats. I felt a sigh of relief every time we passed someone walking along the course.
In the end I loved this race because it tested my skills to the max. I may target it as an A race next year.